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Herbal teas promote good health, Hain-funded study says

USDA Antioxidants Research Laboratory scientists Diane McKay and

USDA Antioxidants Research Laboratory scientists Diane McKay and Oliver Chen discuss the results of their hibiscus tea study, which showed the effectiveness of this beverage in reducing blood pressure. Credit: US Department of Agriculture

There’s already enough research to show that hibiscus, chamomile and peppermint teas have real health benefits -- therefore clinical studies of the herbal infusions are recommended, a recent study said. Hibiscus in particular helps lower blood pressure, researchers said. 

The US Department of Agriculture funded the study with help from herbal tea maker Celestial Seasonings, a brand of Melville-based Hain Celestial Group Inc. 

An article on the study is in this month’s issue of Agriculture Research Magazine.

It highlights the work of Antioxidants Research Laboratory scientists Diane McKay and Oliver Chen.

They’re with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

“These days, there is a lot of talk about health benefits from drinking teas. Green, black, and oolong are considered the three major classes, and each comes from the age-old Camellia sinensis tea bush,” the USDA article says. 

“But there is an even wider variety of herbal teas—infusions derived from anything other than C. sinensis.” 

Existing research on herbal teas is compelling enough to suggest more extensive human clinical studies, the experts said.

McKay has already done a human clinical trial on the effects of hibiscus tea on blood pressure.  

“The findings show that the volunteers who drank hibiscus tea had a 7.2-point drop in their systolic blood pressure (the top number), and those who drank the placebo beverage had a 1.3-point drop,” the USDA concluded in a 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition.  

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