Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I am always looking to give less medications to my patients. It is always wise to use life style modification and if at all just "nutriceuticals " to improve health. Nutriceuticals are nutritional ( food ) products that have pharmaceutical effects. By now, the list of nutriceuticals are quite long.
At the ongoing American Heart Association annual scientific meeting, in New Orleans, Dr Diane McKay and colleagues at Tufts, Boston, presented a small study on the effects of hibiscus tea on BP lowering. It was a placebo control, double blind trial. She studied 60 subjects who had pre-hypertension and mild hypertension, and found that those who drank 3 cups of hibiscus tea daily for 6 weeks have lower systolic BP. In fact, she found that the higher the pre-trial BP, the better the response. She also found that hibiscus tea may be as potent as captopril. They postulate the it must be the anthocyanins, flavanoids or the polyphenols in the hibiscus tea.
Interesting. I can only make a few conclusions. Generally, tea is good for health. Maybe that is why the Chinese, who drink alot of teas did so well, in the good old days. Besides hibiscus tea, I have also written that Japanese green tea is also good. In fact, the chinese have always believed that tea is " cooling " , whatever that means medically. I also learn that 3 cups daily is quite a lot to drink as a daily habit. It is almost a regimen of treatment. Perhaps even a casual 1-2 cups daily may also have some good effects, perhaps not the 7-13 mmHg systolic BP reduction seen by taking 3 cups daily for 6 weeks. To harness the good medical effects of tea, of course we could also drink tea regularly, to the amount that you are comfortable with and perhaps take medication, but maybe at a lower dose. Of course this must be done after consulting your doctor.
Whatever it is, hibiscus tea ( by the way, hibiscus is our national flower ), can lower BP and perhaps help to reduce strokes. I wonder if the country is an exporter of hibiscus tea? I sure hope so.
The wonders of the flat world. I am not in New Orleans, but I can share with you what was presented in New Orleans yesterday.

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