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High Blood Pressure? Have a Cup of Hibiscus Tea!

A new study presented on November 12 to the American Heart Association (AHA) at their annual conference in New Orleans found that hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure for people with mild hypertension and pre-hypertension.

A blood pressure reading under 120 over 80 is considered normal for individuals over the age of 18. Systolic pressure between 120 and 139 and diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 are considered "borderline" high. Individuals whose blood pressure is within these levels are at high risk for developing hypertension.

Researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University conducted the study which involved 65 volunteers between 30 to 70 years of age. All of the participants had a systolic blood pressure between 120 to 150mm/Hg and a diastolic blood pressure of 95 mm/Hg or less.

The volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group drank three cups of hibiscus tea per day for six weeks. The second group drank a placebo beverage with artificial hibiscus flavoring and color.

The researchers measured the blood pressure of the volunteers once a week for six months. After the 6 months, the group that drank hibiscus tea had a 7.2 per cent drop in their systolic blood pressure and those who drank the placebo only had a 1.3 percent reduction.

The researchers also found a larger drop among the participants with a blood pressure over 129. Specifically, they found a 13.2 per cent drop in systolic blood pressure and a 6.4 percent drop in diastolic blood pressure.

The AHA noted that while these results are very positive, further studies are needed to determine the long term benefits of hibiscus beverages.

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