Hibiscus tea is used chiefly for upper respiratory support and as a mild laxative. It also works as a diuretic and may alleviate spasms in internal systems such as the stomach and uterus, according to WebMD. Other properties include working as an antibiotic and lowering blood pressure.
The hibiscus is an annual plant well known in Middle Eastern countries for its restorative properties and is used to make hibiscus tea. The tea is known as "karkade" in Egypt, but may also be known as "sour tea" in Iran. In Egypt, Sudan and other parts of North Africa, the tea is used to help achieve a normal body temperature, manage heart health and maintain balanced fluids. Treating upper respiratory problems is also a common use, and people also apply it in a topical manner for skin health. Outside of Africa, use as a laxative and for upper respiratory issues is common.
Expert analysis, such as that from WebMD, suggests that hibiscus is possibly effective in treating high blood pressure and may be similar in effect to taking drugs for high blood pressure. Insufficient evidence exists for its effectiveness on reducing high cholesterol and combating heart disease, fluid retention, colds or constipation among other conditions. More testing is needed to confirm any effect on these ailments.