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For all those worried about their blood pressure, following the British custom of regularly "sipping a cuppa" – tea could help.
In a new study, conducted by the researchers from Tufts University in Boston, drinking three cups of herbal tea containing hibiscus daily lowered blood pressure.

The study included 65 healthy men and women with slightly elevated blood pressures. The results showed that drinking hibiscus tea blends lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average of 7 points while drinking placebo with hibiscus flavour led to only 1-point drop.

The lead researcher, Diane L. McKay, PhD, told that people with the highest blood pressure at the start of the six-week study benefited the most.

While a 7-point drop in blood pressure may not be much, the studies have shown that even small drops in blood pressure would help reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Past AHA president Robert H. Eckel, MD, says that more study is needed to determine whether herbal tea's blood-pressure-lowering effect can actually be sustained. The degree of blood pressure lowering associated with tea drinking in the study was as much as would be expected with standard blood pressure drugs.

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This is wonderful news for those of us in the United States who have high blood pressure and who are uninsured. Recent news reports are full of stories of Americans who had to skip their prescription medications due to job loss and the downturn in the economy. Perhaps adopting the British custom of drinking tea isn't so bad afterall.
Hibiscus tea, anyone?
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