Hibiscus is a large funnel shaped flower with soft petals and large stamens. The plant is native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. The flowers occur in different colours ranging from white to pink, red, orange, purple or yellow. Hibiscus flowers last only for a day, opening in the morning and wilting late afternoon. They have a tart citrus taste. The flowers mainly the red one are used for making herbal teas and essential oils. In the food industry they are used in sauces, jellies, jams, cakes, ice-creams, sorbets and marmalades for its high pectin content.
- Fights cancer: Hibiscus flower is rich in antioxidants therefore having hibiscus flower tea or extracts naturally prevents against cancer.
- Cures cold: Since it is rich in vitamin C it has the capacity to cure minor cold related infections like sore throat, cough and headache.
- Boosts energy: The antioxidant compounds like flavonois, polyphenolics and anthocyanins in hibiscus flowers repair free radical damage and therefore give an instant energy boost. This free radical scavenging property is beneficial for slowing the ageing process as well.
- The flower extracts are beneficial in soothing hot flashes during menopause.
- Acne and sunburn: Many natural anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamin C present in flowers make them effective in treating acne and the scars resulting from them. Hibiscus helps unclog closed pores. You can apply a paste of hibiscus flowers and leaves on the affected area. Keep it for 15 minutes and then wash it. This eases sunburns as well.
- Eczema or skin allergies: Hibiscus flower extracts are used in many ointments treating eczema and allergic problems.
- The vitamin C in the flowers also helps improve our metabolism.
- They give a boost to our immunity.
- Hibiscus flower extracts can help to maintain the fluid balance in our body. In Ayurvedic medicine it has been used to treat oedema i.e. excess water retention in the body.Also good for dry scalp & dandruff cure.
- Hair care: Hibiscus hair oil made from hibiscus leaves and flowers especially the red ones make the roots of your hair stronger and prevent hair fall. At home you can make the oil by crushing 5 flowers and 3 leaves in a mixer. Then add it to 1 cup of coconut oil and heat it in low flame. When the fumes start coming you can add basil leaves and few fenugreek seeds. Cool it, sieve and store. Before bathing warm it slightly and massage in scalp. This oil is good for darkening of hair as well. Drinking hibiscus tree or applying hibiscus to the scalp also treats hair loss due to thyroid problem.
- Temperature regulator: Hibiscus flower extract regulates the body temperature by flushing out excess body heat during summers.
- Drinking hibiscus tea 3 times a day is associated with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Some compounds present in the red hibiscus make it effective in enhancing liver functioning.
- The flowers stimulate intestinal peristalsis and thereby relieve constipation.
- The tea is also a diuretic.
Dried hibiscus flower is edible and is often a delicacy in Mexico. It can also be candied and used as garnish.
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