Benefits of Egyptian Red
Egyptian Red is the infusion made from calyces of the Hibiscus Sabdariffa flowers. It is a drink that can be consumed either hot or cold and is valued as a native medicine in many countries. The infusion of the leaves are regarded as a diuretic, choleretic, febrifugal and aids with hypertension. It is also regarded as an antispasmodic, anthelmintic and antibacterial. Egyptian Red is caffeine free, rich in vitamins A, C, D, B1, B2, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, beta carotene, omega 3 and essential acids.
Egyptian Red contains 15-30% organic acids including citric acid, melneic acid and tartaric acid. It also contains acidic polysaccharides and flavonoid Glucoside, such as cyanidin and delphinidin that give it, that characteristic deep red colour.
What Is Egyptian Red
Egyptian Red is a premium grade Hibiscus Sabdariffa, grown in the perfect climate, receiving 13 hours of direct sunlight each day, in rich silt soil for centuries. Grown in the oldest known agricultural land in the world, in upper Egypt, it is reputed to be the preferred drink of the pharaohs, who believed in the great health benefits of the flower.There are over 200 species of hibiscus plants throughout the world, the Malvaceae family, but it is the Hibiscus Sabdariffa that is the best studied from a medical standpoint.
New research released by the American Heart Association reveals that Hibiscus Sabdariffa has a beneficial effect on reducing high blood pressure. A clinical trial was conducted amongst men and women aged between thirty and seventy who had high blood pressure. Their blood pressure was measured at weekly intervals for six weeks and results showed that systolic pressure and diastolic pressure were lowered in those having Hibiscus Sabdariffa treatment. The greatest reduction in systolic blood pressure registered a drop of 13.2%. Age, gender or use of dietary supplements made no difference to the results.
Commenting on the findings, Diane L McKay, PhD FACN, from the Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre, stated that drinking three cups of Hibiscus Sabdariffa lowers blood pressure in pre and mildly hypertensive adults. This is significant because statistics show that high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease three-fold and causes sixty percent of strokes. Recently scientists from the Chuan Shan Medical University in Taiwan, revealed the Hibiscus Sabdariffa is active against the bad form of cholesterol (L.D.L). The research revealed that the plant lowers high levels of L.D.L cholesterol in the blood and also protects various tissues in the body against L.D.L related damage.
The scientist who led the study, Dr Chau-Jong Wang, comments that compound extracts in the tea reduce cholesterol build up in the arteries. The data strongly suggests that Hibiscus extracts could be useful in prevention and even treatment of a number of cardiovascular diseases, in which cholesterol plays a major role.
Another team of scientsts from the Institute for Forensic Medicine, Veracruz University in Mexico have also confirmed that Hibiscus Sabdariffa is able to lower harmful L.D.L cholesterol. A stimulus study carried out by the Department of Pharmacology in Bangkok, not only came to the same conclusion but also found that extracts do not effect the good form of cholesterol (H.D.L). Optimal H.D.L cholesterol levels combined with low L.D.L levels offers the greatest protection against heart disease.
Several other scientific studies have also confirmed that Hibiscus extracts have anti-cancer benefits. Chinese and Japanese studies show that Hibiscus Sabdariffa is uniquely rich in phonetic compounds (very powerful antioxidants). It is thought that the plant protects against cancer as a result of its ability to inactivate free radical toxins which are by-products of the body's metabolism. Free radicals are widely accepted as the main cooperate for causing cancer and premature ageing. Scientists also believe that acids in the Hibiscus Sabdariffa are activated by bacteria in the gut to promote weight loss. The tea also contains an enzyme inhibitor which blocks the production of amylase. Amylase is an enzyme which breaks down complex sugars and starches. Drinking a cup of Hibiscus Sabdariffa between meals will reduce the absorption of dietary carbohydrates and will assist in weight loss.
Researchers have also discovered that Egyptian Red contains Quercetin. Quercetin's anti-histamine action may help to relieve allergic symptoms and asthma symptoms. The anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce pain from disorders such as arthritis. Men who are concerned about prostate problems will also benefit from Quercetin. Quercitin may also help reduce symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety.
Very recently a team of researcher from the Indian Malaria Research Centre has found a property from the plant's root extract is effective at killing the mosquitoes that carry malaria parasites.
The plant also has a long history of use for improving liver disease such as hepatitis, alleviating constipation, bladder infections and water retention.
In conclusion, with Australia now being classed as one of the most obese nations in the world and heart disease being its number one killer, the time has come to look for ways to combat "westerner disease". Harvard University has stated that tea drinkers have a forty four percent lower risk of heart disease. It also appears that the Hibiscus Sabdariffa plant is the most highly researched plant in the world with ongoing research dating back to 1962. Could it be that the felnic compounds in Egyptian Red, that prevent premature aging, may actually be the fountain of youth. How did the pharaohs become aware of these amazing health benefits so many years ago.
A more comprehensive review of the benefits of Hibiscus Sabdariffa can be downloaded here in PDF format.