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Focus on Hibiscus

November 16, 2012

Focus on Key InnOrbit Ingredient Hibiscus

Hibiscus is plant with a brightly coloured flower and reviewed several times on this website. It is the flower which can be mixed with other herbs and spices or used by itself to make an infusion and drunk hot or cold.

In the Carribean and South America it is also referred to as Rosella or Red Sorrel and Bissap in West Africa.

Hibiscus has a tart, cranberry-like flavour hence its use in InnOrbit to balance out sweeter flavours like Liquorice. It contains vitamin C and and is used in traditional medicine, in cultures like Ayurveda, to treat a number of conditions e.g. lowering blood pressure.

In more recent scientific studies it has been found to be potentially helpful in a number of chronic conditions hence supporting its traditional use.

Phenolic acids and flavonols like quercetin were identified in Hibiscus by Fernández-Arroyo et al. Phenolic acids have antioxidant activity. The study proposes that flavonol-conjugated forms (quercetin and kaempferol) may be the compounds responsible for the observed antioxidant effects and contribute to the healthy effects of Hibiscus extract.

Diabetes and Sugar Control

A study by Adisakwattana et al evaluated the intestinal alpha-glucosidase and pancreatic alpha-amylase inhibitory activities of several plants including Hibiscus. Their investigations suggest that Hibiscus could be useful for developing functional foods for treatment and prevention of diabetes mellitus due to its amylase inhibiting effects.


Dried Hibiscus used for Infusions: Traditional Foods

High Blood Pressure

Results from a study be McKay et al suggest daily consumption of hibiscus in an amount readily incorporated into the diet, lowers Blood Pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. They suggest that Hibiscus may prove an effective component of the dietary changes recommended for people with hypertension and high blood pressure.

Diuretic

The conclusion of a study by Jiménez-Ferrer et al is that Hibiscus has diuretic, natriuretic, and potassium sparing benefits. This they conclude is partially due to the modulation of aldosterone activity by the presence in the extract of Hibiscus components like anthocyanins, flavonoids, and chlorogenic acid.

Antidepressant activity

Extracts of hibiscus were tested by Shewale et al and the mechanism of action involved in antidepressant activity was investigated in an animal model system by observing the effect of extract after pre-treatment with low doses of anti-depresant drugs. The results suggest that Hibiscus extracts possess potential antidepressant activity (through dopaminergic, noradrenergic and serotonergic mechanisms) and has therapeutic potential in the treatment of central nervous disorders.

Hibiscus is a key ingredient in The Wise Herb Company range of infusions from InnOrbit.

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