Hibiscus is described as a flowering plant of the family Malvaceae. It grows in warm temperate, tropical, and semi-tropical climates. Hibiscus flowers can be classified into many types like Hibiscus amottianus, Hibiscus hirtis, and the Pink hibiscus. Apart from being a beautiful flower, there are many health benefits of hibiscus. So, no wonder why people around the world, enjoy its drink. Hibiscus tea is called by various names in different parts of the world. Roselia in Australia, flor de Jamaica in parts of Latin America, and sorrel in Jamaica. Before we list down its healing powers, let us know about this flower deeper.
Importance Of Hibiscus Flower
It is the “national flower of Haiti.” People of Haiti mention about this flower in their national slogan, which also makes a strong tourism factor. Besides Haiti, it is also the national flower of South Korea and Malaysia (but the varieties are Hibiscus syriacus & Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis respectively). The flower is also used in divine interpretations of Hindu religion.
Though there are many classifications of Hibiscus Flower, the most common types of these plants grown in the garden are tropical hibiscus, hardy perennial hibiscus, and hardy shrub hibiscus.
1. Tropical Hibiscus
Tropical hibiscus is found in various colors like orange, red, yellow and even different colors. It can be grown in gardens, but the temperature should not be in the same pattern as winter. It is better that they are grown in pots or containers so that they could be brought indoors in very cold conditions.
The sun should be light; the soil should be rich in fertilizers, but the pot, container or garden area should have suitable drainage. The period of bloom is between spring and fall, but they are less during mid-summer.
2. Hardy Perennial Hibiscus
For this type of hibiscus, it is better to get the guidance of a wise gardener regarding the environmental conditions and location. In this type, full sunlight is essential, and the soil, similar to the previous type should be well drained and rich. In summer, the soil should be kept moist. If this type is grown in the garden, it is better to add mulch to the roots to hold the moisture and prevent damage from frost.
A phosphorus-rich fertilizer is ideal for this. The blooming period falls between the months July and August. Though the blooming duration of each flower is less, the numbers will be more. For more information, seek the guidance of a wise gardener.
3. Hardy Shrub Hibiscus: Rose-Of-Sharon
The larger shrubs, as well as the trees found in this type, are known as Rose-of-Sharon, Althea, or the Latin name – Hibiscus syriacus. In a garden, the plant can bring beauty and it is a Godsend for butterflies and hummingbirds. It can grow to ten feet in length and breadth; the leaves are dark green, and flowers are in the colors of lavender, blue, pink as well as white.
The Hibiscus plants are known for their big, colored flowers, which can make a garden appear like heaven. They are one of the best decorative pieces for indoors. The maximum length of a flower is six inches. Though there are many colors, the red Hibiscuses are mostly used for medicinal purposes.
10 Best Health Benefits Of Hibiscus
In recent times, hibiscus flowers are made into syrup (very popular in Australia) for drinks, wines, and cocktails. In fact, dried Hibiscus leaves are widely used in Mexican cuisine. Now let us look at the medicinal properties of the Hibiscus:
1. Hibiscus Health Benefits For Hair
The medicinal components found in the plant are Vitamin C and minerals. The polyphenol compounds in the leaves of this plant have been known to contain anti-inflammatory properties. The flowers on their part (if concoctions are prepared) are believed to cure ailments such as loss of hair, cough, and graying of hair. For natural hair treatment with hibiscus, the flowers are dried, ground to fine powder, and mixed with some water to apply on the scalp.
2. Hibiscus Treats Head Lice
One of the best benefits of hibiscus flower is that it can remove head lice. You would be surprised to know that hair loss that occurs due to thyroid problems can also be prevented to some extent if you consume a cup of healthy hibiscus tea or apply a smooth hibiscus paste on the scalp. To prevent premature graying of hair, parts of hibiscus plant can stimulate the production of the blood and ensure that vital nutrients reach the hair follicles. The taste of hibiscus tea is usually sour, as it prepared from dried leaves, flowers, and calyces (center of the flower which has a cup shape).
3. Hibiscus Tea Cures Fever, Constipation, and Cold
Since ancient times, hibiscus has been used in different cultures as a remedy for treating various conditions, for example, Egyptians used the tea of this flower for lowering the temperature of the body, treating nerve and heart diseases, and the best use was as diuretic. Due to the cooling effects of hibiscus tea, fever can also be reduced. In other parts of the world such as Africa, the parts of the plant (such as flowers) was used in the treatment of liver disease, symptoms of cold and constipation. The pulp or juice made from these leaves can treat skin wounds.
4. Hibiscus Lowers High Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Levels
In recent times, this plant is becoming popular as an effective remedy for high blood pressure (or hypertension). Besides this, it reduces high cholesterol levels ( a major reason for most heart attacks). The bioflavonoid compounds in the tea can assist in the prevention of cholesterol; thus, resulting in a healthy heart. The regulation of blood pressure is done naturally and it neither done by altering the potassium levels in the blood nor by modifying the balance in salt-water.
5. Hibiscus Can Calm Hot Flashes
Hibiscus tea can be one of the best health drinks for women. Do you know why? Well, it contains all the essential antioxidants to fight against the aging signs and makes a woman look 5 times younger than her actual age. Besides this, it calms the hot flashes during menopause times. You might not understand this unless you have gone through it. Women, who have experienced this discomforting hormonal imbalance will know how vital it is to consume something that relaxes the annoying side effects of menopause. Moreover, hibiscus tea is highly effective for curing acne not only in women but also for men.
6. Hibiscus Can Cure Cancer
Medical research has yet, to throw light in these areas, but according to recent reports, the presence of anthocyanins account for anti-carcinogenic properties.
7. Hibiscus Has Active Flavonoids
The antibacterial properties are said to be due to the presence of a rich amount of Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid). The immune system gets a boost. The presence of minerals and vitamins in the form of flavonoids can assist in calming down the nervous system, and your negative feelings such as depression and anxiety are also eliminated. Some of the active flavonoids in hibiscus are sabdaretine, gossypetin, and hibiscetine.
Side Effects Of Hibiscus
Although the health benefits of hibiscus are more, they are not without side-effects. Here are a few important ones to make a note of:
- Hibiscus tea should not be consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- It should not be taken by the women who are in medication for fertility treatments. The levels of estrogen in the body are reduced; menstruation is triggered and a miscarriage might be the result.
- Hibiscus tea and hibiscus supplements are not recommended for women who are taking birth control pills.
- Refrain from taking hibiscus supplements if you are under any hormonal treatment.
- Do not take hibiscus if you are suffering from low blood pressure. It might lower the levels more.
- In some people, hibiscus tea can cause drowsiness, or some people may suffer from hallucinations. If you are a beginner, refrain from driving an automobile or operation of heavy machinery.
- In the case of medicinal interactions, those who take medications for pain, antidepressants, sedatives, and cancer medication have to check with their doctor before applying any hibiscus home remedy.