Some evidence points to hibiscus having anti-cancer and anti-bacterial qualities. This evidence mostly consists of laboratory studies, but numerous animal and human studies show that hibicus may improve heart health. Researchers point to anthocyanins as the compounds most responsible for the health benefits of hibiscus. Anthocyanins are plant compounds that act as antioxidants and give some plants their red, blue, and purple colors.

Some studies have shown that hibiscus can improve cholesterol levels. In one study, both men and women who consumed hibiscus had lower cholesterol readings at two and four weeks. Another study showed improved readings in patients with diabetes who often struggle with high cholesterol.