The Hibiscus tea is actually one I have shown interest in for some years now due to the abundance of works of literature on the Medical potentials. It has become my favorite ingredient and plays a vital role in all my natural products I formulated and manufactured.
However, I was particularly stunned after my extensive review on natural remedies as antiviral drug and immune system booster in these hard times. In fact, the natural pigment in hibiscus is called anthocyanins – a type of flavonoid similar to the benefits we get from berries, pomegranates, and tart cherries.
Hibiscus Tea could bring hope
The main action of Hibiscus in cough is to dissolve phlegm and reduce its stickiness and thickness. Due to this mucolytic action of Hibiscus tea, it is beneficial in productive cough with excess amount of thick and sticky mucus.
For instance, hibiscus Tea has been proven effective in flu management. In a recent 2019 study by Takeda et al titled “ Antiviral Activities of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Tea Extract Against Human Influenza A Virus Rely Largely on Acidic pH but Partially on a Low-pH-Independent Mechanism published in the journal Food and Environmental Virology .
The authors analyzed the antiviral activity of hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) tea extract against human IAV and evaluated its potential as a novel anti-IAV drug and a safe inactivating agent for the whole inactivated vaccine. The in vitro study revealed that the pH of hibiscus tea extract is acidic, and its rapid and potent antiviral activity relied largely on the acidic pH. However, hibiscus tea extract and protocatechuic acid, one of the major components of the extract, showed not only potent acid-dependent antiviral activity but also weak low-pH-independent activity. The low-pH-independent activity did not affect the conformation of immunodominant hemagglutinin protein. Although this low-pH-independent activity is very limited, it may be suitable for the application to medication and vaccination because this activity is not affected by the neutral blood environment and does not lose antigenicity of hemagglutinin. Further study of the low-pH-independent antiviral mechanism and attempts to enhance the antiviral activity may establish a novel anti-IAV therapy and vaccination strategy.
Also a 2016 study by Baatartsogt et al titled “High antiviral effects of hibiscus tea extract on the H5 subtypes of low and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses” and published Journal Veterinary Medicine Science.
The authors screened the antiviral effects of 11 herbal tea extracts (hibiscus, black tea, tencha, rosehip tea, burdock tea, green tea, jasmine tea, ginger tea, lavender tea, rose tea and oak tea) against the H5N1 HPAIV in vitro. Among the tested extracts, only the hibiscus extract and its fractionated extract (frHibis) highly and rapidly reduced the titers of all H5 HPAIVs and low pathogenic AIVs (LPAIVs) used in the pre-treatment tests of Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells that were inoculated with a mixture of the virus and the extract. Immunogold electron microscopy showed that anti-H5 monoclonal antibodies could not bind to the deformed H5 virus particles pretreated with frHibis. In post-treatment tests of MDCK cells cultured in the presence of frHibis after infection with H5N1 HPAIV, the frHibis inhibited viral replication and the expression of viral antigens and genes. Among the plants tested, hibiscus showed the most prominent antiviral effects against both H5 HPAIV and LPAIV.
Taking into conclusion the possibility that hibiscus extract might prevent and treat life-threatening viral infection is all the more encouraging; especially considering that it is also known to have a very high threshold of safety. While the researchers did not speculate too deeply on the mechanism of action behind the observed ant-viral activity of hibiscus, noting only the possibility that its anthnocyanin pigment could be responsible, they suggested further studies should be conducted to identify the effectiveness components contained in hibiscus and to elucidate potential anti-viral mechanism in more detail.
"Our preliminary study showed that, in addition to the H5 subtype, hibiscus inactivated seven other subtypes (data not shown), whereas P. sidoides extracts inactivated human influenza viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) but not H5N1 HPAIV . Thus, hibiscus may be a promising candidate as a potent anti-influenza drug, irrespective of subtype".
In conclusion, drinking hibiscus tea may not only help you recover from cold and flu but also fight the influenza virus to delay the next attack. Studies state that hibiscus could be a promising anti-influenza drug according to Baatartsogt et al 2016. Hibiscus tea extract can help fight the avian influenza virus and several drug-resistant viruses. In laboratory experiments, among 11 tea extracts, this tea showed the most potent antiviral property and It is proposed that the antiviral effect is derived from these compounds (Baatartsogt et al 2016. It is time for Ghana to rise up and support the Ghana beyond Aid Agenda and become a medical powerhouse with Natural remedies.
The author is a distinguished researcher, practitioner and an honorary Professor of Naturopathic and Holistic Medicine-Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine, President of Nyarkotey Collge of Holistic Medicine and currently LLB Law/MBA student. He is the formulator of FDA approved Men’s Formula for Prostate Health & Immune booster, Women’s Formula for general wellness Nyarkotey Hibiscus Tea for Cardiovascular Health & wellness. Can be contacted by 0241083423/0541234556.