Hibiscus and Lipid Profile in DM II

Study examines the effects of Hibiscus on Lipids and Lipoproteins.

By Tori Hudson, ND

Printer Friendly PagePrinter Friendly Page


Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Jalali-Khanabadi B, Afkhami-Ardekani M, Fatehi F. The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on lipid profile and lipoproteins in patients with Type II diabetes. J Altern and Comp Med. 2009;15(8):899-903.


Fifty-three patients (45 women and 8 men) with diabetes were studied in a randomized controlled clinical trial and assigned into two groups: sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and black tea. Patients were instructed to consume one glass of the decoction (two spoonfuls of blended tea in a sachet weighing 2 g, placed in one glass of boiled water and boiled for 20–30 minutes) with 5 g sugar, twice daily; they also were instructed not to drink any other types of tea during the study. Tea consumption was continued for 1 month. Fasting blood samples were obtained before and after intervention, testing HDL, LDL, triglycerides, Apo-A1, Apo-B1-00, and Lp(a). 20.8% of the patients were only on diet therapy for their diabetes and the rest were either on insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents.

Key Findings

Hibiscus consumption reduced most of the lipids and lipoproteins and increased HDL, but black tea consumption only increased HDL.
Hibiscus consumption reduced most of the lipids and lipoproteins and increased HDL, but black tea consumption only increased HDL. The sour tea group averaged a 7.6% decrease in total cholesterol, 8.0% decrease in LDL, 14.9% decrease in triglycerides, 3.4% decrease in Apo-B100, 16.7% increase in HDL, 4.2% increase in Apo-A1, and no change in Lp(a). The black tea group averaged a 13% increase in HDL but did not see a significant change in other measures.


Previous studies have been done on Hibiscus and dyslipidemia. Lin, et al, showed that drinking Hibiscus tea for 4 weeks reduced total cholesterol by 8.3%–14.4%.1 Animal studies have shown that rats with diabetes had a positive effect with Hibiscus on glucose and lipids.2 I reported on the effectiveness of Hibiscus tea in reducing systolic blood pressure in a recent column.3
Hibiscus sabdariffa, or sour tea, is used in many parts of the world to make both cold and hot drinks. We might know it in English by the name Hibiscus or red sorrel. In Arabic it is called karkade, and in Iran it is mainly known as sour tea. It contains many constituents including alkaloids, L-ascorbic acid, anisaldehyde, anthocyanin, beta carotene, beta sitosterol, citric acid, cyaniding-3, rutinoside, delphinidin, galactose, gossypetin, hibiscetin, mucopolysaccharide, pectin, protocatechuic acid, polysaccharide, quercetin, stearic acid, and wax. The medicinal parts of the plant include the flower, calyx or sepal, leaves, stems, and seeds. The extracts of the sepal contain significant amounts of vitamin C, anthocyanins, and polyphenols, as well as the highest concentration of water-soluble antioxidants. Traditionally, it has been used in folk medicine for several health issues including high blood pressure, liver diseases, loss of appetite, circulation, and as a gentle laxative and diuretic.
In addition to its appealing flavor, smell and brightly colored appearance, we can add this simple tea to our medicinal options for hyperlipidemia and hypertension.

About the Author

Tori Hudson, ND, graduated from the National University of Naturopathic Medicine (NUNM) in 1984 and has served the college in several capacities, including: Medical Director, Associate Academic Dean, & Academic Dean. She is currently a clinical professor at NUNM, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Bastyr University. Dr Hudson has been in practice for more than 32 years, is the medical director of her clinic “A Woman’s Time” in Portland, OR, and director of product research and education for VITANICA. She is also the founder and co-director of NERC (Naturopathic Education and Research Consortium), a non-profit organization for accredited naturopathic residencies. Dr. Hudson has recently been appointed as a faculty member of the Fellowship in Integrative Health & Medicine, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine. For more information, visit www.drtorihudson.com.


  1. Lin T, Lin H, Chen C, et al. Hibiscus sabdariffa extract reduces serum cholesterol in men and women. Nutrition Res. 2007;27:140-145.
  2. Rarombi E, Ige O. Hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of ethanolic extract from dried calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007;21:601-609.
  3. Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Jalali-Khanabadi B, Afgkami-Ardekani M, et al. The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes. J Human Hypertension. 2009;23:48-54.