Hibiscus: More than a Nickname

One of my nicknames growing up, was Hibiscus. That was one of the nicer names I was called, though the other ones were quite funny. I was also Hiberactive and Hibapottamus. I think I will stick with Hibiscus though, thank you very much.

Hibiscus sabdariffa, is a genus of the Malvaceae or Mallow family. In Iran, it is typically known as, "sour tea", in English-speaking countries it is called "Red Sorrel". Originating in Africa, it is now cultivated throughout tropical and subtropical regions, especially from Sudan, Egypt, Thailand, Mexico and China. 

The generic name is derived from the Greek word (hibiskos), which was the name Dioscorides (ca. 40-90) gave to Althaea officinalis or Marshmallow. Hibiscus species are used to represent nations: Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia. The red hibiscus is the flower of the Hindu Goddess, Kali and appears frequently in depictions of her in the art of Bengal, often with the goddess and the flower merging in form. Hibiscus is used as an offering to goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

The beautiful white, yellow, red, pink and purple hibiscus flowers growing in your back-porch pots are more than meets the eye. This herb is not only lovely; it is loaded with powerful and healthful nutritional properties.

Hibiscus flowers contain cyanidin, a naturally occurring pigment also found in healthy berries, cranberry, hawthorn, grapes, raspberry, acai, elderberry, as well as red onions. Studies suggest that extracts of Hibiscus may alleviate hypertension. Along with yoga, meditation, and omega-3 fatty acids, a regular consumption of hibiscus can naturally aid in lowering blood pressure. help maintain healthy cholesterol levels that are already in the normal range. It has also been used traditionally to support healthy fluid retention levels and overall cardiovascular health.

Known as rose mallow or sour tea, hibiscus has a relieving ability to cool the body while nourishing and soothing muscle tissues.

MATERIA MEDICAHIBISCUS

Latin NameHibiscus spp., including H. rosa-sinensis, H. sabdariffa. H. syriacus

Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Part used: Flowers/Calcyes

Energetics: Sweet, sour, bitter, cool

Actions: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiseptic, digestive, diuretic, refrigerant, sedative, stomachic and tonic.

Uses:

  • Bladder Infection
  • Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Hangover
  • Hypertension
  • Liver Disorders

Preparation and Dosage

Tea – 1 tablespoon for 10oz water, can be brewed as a sun tea and combines nicely with peppermint, nettle, and marshmallow

Safety considerations:

People who are very chilled should not consume hibiscus due to its cooling properties. Individuals with allergies or hypersensitivity to hibiscus should avoid this herb as well. Though uncommon, using hibiscus topically can cause irritated skin, such as dermatitis. If so, discontinue your use of this herb.