Do any natural therapies help menopause? Hibiscus, long regarded for its health properties something women are asking about. Some say it can help menopause symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats. But is there any proof? The best way to know for sure is to test hibiscus itself to see if it works. Another way is to look for proof it helps hot flashes, gaining weight, and other manifestations of menopause and premenopause. That's what you will learn in this review. To help you better decide, hibiscus side effects are also discussed.
What Is Hibiscus?
The tea comes from the hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa) which grows in India, Malaysia, America, Asia, and other parts of the world. There are over 300 different species of this plant, of which hibiscus sabdariffa is one of the most well studied. While not often eaten in the US, the seeds are a good source of protein.
The red flowers of the plant are used to make tea. There are also many supplements too.
The tea has been consumed for centuries all over the world over for many reasons including its ability to lower blood pressure as well as a general women's health tonic. The blood pressure lowering effects of hibiscus is one thing that has a good amount of proof.
The whole plant contains a variety of nutrients such as:
But nutrition aside, can this inexpensive herbal help women through menopause?
Let's look at the proof.
Hibiscus Menopause Research
There is no proof hibiscus tea helps women experiencing menopause symptoms. No human menopause proof could be located. This is odd given the popularity this natural remedy has for helping women. Unfortunately, researchers don't seem to have taken hibiscus into the lab and given it to middle-aged women to see if it worked or not.
But, this doesnt necessarily mean the tea doesnt work.
Let's now look at whether the tea can help the symptoms of menopause.
Here's my video review if you prefer:
Hibiscus Tea For Hot Flashes?
Despite its popularity, no human proof can be located for hibiscus helping hot flashes. Clinical studies for this use cannot be located. There is also a lack of proof for common menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness, mood swings, and sleep problems too.
It just looks like nobody has ever tested to see if it works or not. This is too bad and hopefully, one day we'll have a better answer.
Does It Help Depression?
Hibiscus Tea For Weight loss?
Maybe. Preliminary research hits hibiscus tea and supplements may help people lose weight. Let's look at the research.
In this study, researchers in Taiwan found that people taking hibiscus tea supplements (Hibiscus sabdariffa) for 12 weeks lost more bodyweight more than people who took a placebo. How much weight did they lose? Not much. Here's what they lost:
- Those taking the supplement lost about 2 pounds
- The no supplement group lost about 1 pound
So this is an interesting investigation but it has some problems such as:
- The people were in their mid-thirties, so they likely did not have menopause
- The word “menopause” is not even mentioned in the study
- The study included men
- People taking the supplement had higher liver enzymes at the start of the study. Could this be why hibiscus helped liver enzymes more than the placebo did?
On the plus side, this was a randomized placebo-controlled study, considered to be the best kind of investigation.
This was a mouse study. Here, researchers gave hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) to obese and skinny mice. After 2 months, obese mice given hibiscus lost more weight and interesting, drank more liquids too. Oddly, one of the liver enzymes in the mice (called ALT) increased. So, this study also appeared to show hibiscus helped weight-loss. That said, let's look at the problems with this investigation.
- It was a mouse study. You're not a mouse.
- This was not a menopause study
Best Kind of Hibiscus Tea?
If you want to try hibiscus for weight loss, you have many choices. The clinical studies summarized above didn't mention what brand of tea they use. I personally think all quality brands will be equally effective.
When it comes to weight loss, I think the tea will work better than hibiscus supplements. This is because tea contains water. Water helps us stay full. This may reduce the chances of overeating and snacking between meals.
If you don't like to drink tea remember you can also add it to smoothies or use it as a spice when cooking. For example, I've added lose tea to crockpot meals. Just open the teabag and add the contents to whatever you are cooking.
Hibiscus and Menopause Pro and Con
- tea is healthy
- may help weight loss (maybe a little bit)
- lack of proof it helps menopause
- no proof it helps hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms
Menopause Supplement I Suggest
If you are looking for a menopause supplement, one product with clinical research is called Amberen. The key ingredient in Amberen is called succinic acid. The company that makes the supplement has supported various studies which appear to show Amberen can help with menopause and premenopause symptoms like night sweats and weight gain. Several women have also told me the supplement works too. If anything it's worth taking a look at.
Hibiscus Tea Side Effects
Tea is healthy and tea made from hibiscus is no exception. That said here are some things to keep in mind when using this tea or supplements that contain it. This list is not complete:
- Stop at least two weeks before having surgery
- Talk to your doctor first if breastfeeding or pregnant
- Animal research suggests hibiscus may stimulate an abortion. To be safe, avoid the tea while pregnant.
- Hibiscus may lower blood pressure. This means it might interact with blood pressure medicine.
- It might change the absorption of some medications. For example, it seems to reduce the breakdown of acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- One rat study showed the herb increased the breakdown of cholesterol-lowering medicine. In theory, this means cholesterol medicine might not work as well. It's not known if this occurs in people.
- Both the flowers and roots seem to have anti-estrogen effects. This might interfere with hormone replacement therapy. More research on this is needed.
Does Hibiscus Work?
Like all teas, hibiscus has health effects. It seems to lower blood pressure for example. There's little proof the tea helps ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, or night sweats. It may help weight loss a little bit but better research needs to prove this. While I wouldn't call it a women's health tea, it does have many other benefits that make it worth keeping it on hand in your kitchen.