Which tea lowers my blood pressure?

Humans have known that tea, whether from the leave of the Camellia sinensis plant or teas made from the flowers, leaves or roots of other plants have powerful health benefits. They can ameliorate everything from female reproductive complaints to lung congestion to insomnia to upset stomach. Some teas are also excellent at lowering high blood pressure. Here are some of them:

Hibiscus Tea
The hibiscus flower is already known for its beauty, but somewhere along the way someone discovered its medicinal properties when it was enjoyed as a tea. It is often used in tea blends, because it has a sweet/tart taste that counteracts the bitterness of other herbs. Besides the showy flowers, any part of the hibiscus plant can be used as a tea. However the most popular part to use as tea is the dried calyx. This is the part that supports the flower.

Hibiscus tea is naturally caffeine free and can be enjoyed iced or hot. Some researchers believe that chemicals found in the plant called anthocyanins help regulate blood pressure. Anthocyanins give plants such as blueberries and hibiscus their deep blue or red color depending on the pH, or the balance of acid and alkaline. They are also antioxidants which protect the body from free radical damage and support the immune system.

Green Tea
Green tea seems to be a treatment for just about every ailment, but studies have shown that people who drank three cups of green tea a day did indeed reduce their blood pressure. Green tea is made of young leaves from the Camellia sinensis shrub that do not undergo the same drying and oxidation process that produces the more popular black teas. Polyphenols, which are nutrients found in plants, are believed to give green tea its blood pressure-reducing properties. Green tea is also an antioxidant. It comes as loose-leaf tea, powders, supplements and in tea bags. It can also be bought bottled, though bottle green teas often have sweeteners added. Decaffeinated green tea is best, for caffeine has been known to raise blood pressure.

Black teas are also good at reducing high blood pressure, though they’re not quite as efficient as green tea.

Hawthorn Berry Tea
This tea is most often made from the red berries of a small tree, though the leaves and flowers can also be used. Hawthorn berries are rich in bioflavonoids, which are antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, wine and dark chocolate. They tone the circulatory system and help the blood vessels to dilate in a healthy way while making them stronger. Hawthorn berries also strengthen the heart and lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol by removing plaque from the arteries. The tea is also a diuretic, which means it helps the kidneys flush toxins out of the body.

Stinging Nettle Tea
Like hawthorn berry tea, teas made from stinging nettles are also diuretics. While it is true that fresh leaves do sting, the sting goes away when the leaves are dried and when they are steeped for tea. Stinging nettle tea removes sodium from the body that not only leads to high blood pressure but water retention and bloating. It is full of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and also has bioflavonoids such as quercetin, minerals and other healthful plant chemicals such as carotenoids. Carotenoids give orange and yellow fruits and vegetables their color.

Valerian Root Tea
This is the plant from which the mild sedative valium is derived. The root of this plant, which has been used to calm anxiety and foster sleep since antiquity, is used for making tea. The secret to valerian’s power is a chemical called GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps send and receive messages between nerve cells. It has a calming effect on the nervous system, which may help in relaxing blood vessels. This in turn leads to lower blood pressure.

Siberian Ginseng Tea
Also called eleuthero, the leaves and root are used to make tea that can reduce blood pressure. Siberia ginseng is an overall tonic that is especially good at stimulating and strengthening the circulatory system. It also lowers cholesterol and supports the functioning of the adrenal glands, two hormone producing glands that sit atop the kidneys. One caveat about Siberian ginseng is it can also raise blood pressure, so a person who is interested in taking it for their blood pressure should consult with their doctor first. This is a good idea when taking any type of tea or supplement to treat an ailment, especially if the patient is already on medication.