Bissap is the name given to an infusion of hibiscus sabdariffa flowers.

Here are the most common names for bissap in the world: karkadé (Egypt), agua de Jamaica (Mexico), foléré (Cameroon), currant country (Antilles), dableni (Mali, Ivory Coast, or Burkina), karakandji ( Central African Republic), zobo (Nigeria), Ngai Ngai (Congo), pink tea, Empire tea, drink of the pharaohs, etc.

Hibiscus sabdariffa used to make bissap, also called Guinea sorrel or roselle, is a perennial tropical plant, native to Asia and the Pacific Islands, that grows up to 3 meters high and at least 2 meters wide . It produces numerous paper-like flowers which, when they wither and the petals fall off, reveal the bright red calyx. Although the whole flower can be used to make the drink, usually only the calyx is used.

The green (or white) calyxes are used for the preparation of sauces and condiments, and it is common to use the red to make hibiscus syrup . .

Attention, there are more than 200 species of hibiscus in the world, they are far from all being consumable, and only the infusion of hibiscus sabdariffa gives the bissap. We also make confectionery like candied hibiscus to eat like candy.

Hibiscus teas have been used as a remedy since ancient Egypt, where it was used in particular to lower body temperature in case of heat stroke, as an aphrodisiac, and against insomnia and restlessness.

They are still used today in many traditional medicines.

The bissap has hypotensive properties to fight against high blood pressure, and protective properties for the heart.

Studies have been conducted to prove the effectiveness of hibiscus as a natural treatment for high blood pressure. In 2013, a study on people with diabetes and hypertension who consumed 3 glasses of bissap a day showed, after 4 weeks, a significant drop in blood pressure.

A recent Boston University study of 65 healthy men and women aged 30 to 70 confirmed that drinking 3 cups of bissap juice daily for at least 6 weeks reduced systolic blood pressure by more by 7%.

Another study showed that the infusion of hibiscus sabdariffa could even be more effective than hydrochlorothiazide, a molecule widely used against hypertension, but without presenting side effects.

Indeed, no study has shown any undesirable side effects linked to the consumption of hibiscus herbal tea, if this consumption does not exceed the recommended quantities.

Bissap is widely used, especially in Egypt, to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in people with metabolic syndrome.

In fact, a study has shown that hibiscus juice helps people with dyslipidemia to better balance their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Dyslipidemia is characterized by a high level of plasma cholesterol, triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).

By fighting against bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, hibiscus therefore helps prevent the risk of onset of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

In fact, a study has shown that hibiscus extract is an excellent natural remedy for reducing cholesterol and triglycerides in people suffering from metabolic syndrome.

Antioxidant action

Hibiscus tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins from the polyphenol family, natural pigments that give the flower its beautiful red color.

These antioxidants help protect the body's cells from the effect of free radicals, molecules that cause premature aging of cells and the development of certain age-related diseases: cancers, cirrhosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc.

Moreover, studies are being conducted to study the effect of hibiscus on cancers, particularly leukemia and stomach cancer for which the results are promising.

Action on diabetes

Studies have shown that drinking hibiscus tea at least once a day helps the body fight insulin resistance, thus helping to stabilize and maintain good blood sugar levels in people with hibiscus. type 2 diabetes.

Action on obesity

According to some studies, hibiscus would make it possible to lose weight, or at least facilitate weight loss and prevent health problems linked to overweight and obesity.

Its effect would come from its properties allowing to accelerate the metabolism, but also to decrease the absorption of starch and sucrose following a meal.

The hibiscus would also prevent the accumulation of fat. One study has shown this action in the liver, building up which can potentially lead to cirrhosis, cancer, or hepatocellular failure. This effect would therefore make it possible to fight against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH), an overload of liver fat unrelated to alcohol consumption.

Action on the urinary system

Hibiscus has excellent diuretic and antiseptic properties, so it is ideal for treating minor urinary infections and preventing the formation of kidney stones.

Hibiscus is indeed effective in draining the bladder and for the proper functioning of the urinary system in general, properties recognized by EFSA, the European food safety authority.

Other Benefits

Hibiscus juice is an excellent digestive that helps fight against all mild disorders related to digestion.

It is an excellent tonic, allowing to fight against temporary fatigue.

In many traditional medicines, hibiscus juice is consumed to fight against depressive states, acting both on fatigue, laziness, lack of motivation, etc. This action would come from the effect of certain bio-flavonoids, studies are in progress, to understand its benefits on depression.

Hibiscus has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, it would help treat colds, coughs, angina, rhinitis, flu and all inflammation of the upper respiratory tract.

Bissap and its analgesic properties can relieve menstrual pain, but also make it easier.

As a poultice , it is used to treat oozing eczema, allergies, edema and dermatoses.

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