Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is a bushy, evergreen shrub or small tree growing 2.5–5 m (8–16 ft) tall and 1.5–3 m (5–10 ft) wide, with glossy leaves and solitary, brilliant red flowers in summer and autumn. The 5-petaled flowers are 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, with prominent orange-tipped red anthers.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia, called Bunga Raya in Malay. Introduced into the Malay Peninsula in the 12th century, it was nominated as the national flower in the year 1958 by the Ministry of Agriculture amongst a few other flowers, namely ylang ylang, jasmine, lotus, rose, magnolia, and medlar. On 28 July 1960, it was declared by the government of Malaysia that Hibiscus rosa-sinensis would be the national flower.
The word bunga in Malay means "flower", while raya in Malay means "celebratory" or "grand". The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is literally known as the "celebratory flower" in Malay. The red of the petals symbolizes the courage, life, and rapid growth of the Malaysian, and the five petals represent the five Rukun Negara of Malaysia. The flower can be found imprinted on the notes and coins of the Malaysian ringgit.
The flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands. The flower is additionally used in hair care as a preparation. It is also used to shine shoes in certain parts of India. It can also be used as a pH indicator. When used, the flower turns acidic solutions to a dark pink or magenta color and basic solutions to green. It is also used for the worship of Devi, and the red variety is especially prominent, having an important part in tantra. In Indonesia, these flowers are called "kembang sepatu", which literally means "shoe flower".
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is considered to have a number of medical uses in Chinese herbology. It may have some potential in cosmetic skin care; for example, an extract from the flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been shown to function as an anti-solar agent by absorbing ultraviolet radiation.
The chemicals in hibiscus flower helps in growth of hair. It reduces dandruff and makes the hair black.
The natural oil in this flower acts as a good conditioner
This flower can be used as natural dye for hair
The oil in this flower can be applied to the skin of patients who are suffering from cellulite which makes the skin to glow
The ash obtained by burning the flower and leaves of this flower can be applied to eyebrows which glazes them black
This flower can be used as shoe polish by rubbing it on the shoe
Hibiscus flower can be used as contraceptive. The oil from this flower is used for abortion in some tribes in Jamaica.
Jamaicans use this flower in herbal tea as it contains many minerals and vitamins
The juice from these leaves and flowers can regularize the menstrual cycle
Ayurveda says the medicine made from its roots can be used as a prevention of venereal diseases.
According to traditional medicine if we eat the buds of white hibiscus flowers early in the morning on empty stomach it should cure all the diseases. We can mix sugar if we are unable to eat directly.
This flower improves digestion. Hence raw flowers are eaten by Hawaiian people, and Chinese eat this flower by making pickle.
The fiber from this stem is qualitative. This can be used in manufacturing of clothes, nets and paper.
The roots of hibiscus are boiled in oil until the water gets evaporated. Then the oil can be applied to the wounds caused by cancer. This can be very useful in initial stage of cancer.
According to the traditional medicine, the flowers of white Hibiscus can be dried in the shade of neem tree. Then they can be powdered and it can be used to fight all cancers.
According to Ayurveda it is good for increasing blood count among anemic people. The bright Red variety that is commonly found in tropical countries is supposed to be the best . The flowers are boiled in a little water and blended in a mixer with roasted cummin seeds and salt and consumed after diluting it to the required level ,for increasing the quantity of hemoglobin .
The flower is also used for hair care. The leaves and flowers are added to hot coconut oil and slowly heated for a few minutes , after which the oil is completely cooled and filtered. The Oil is then stored in bottles and used to apply to the hair . The oil should be massaged into the hair and left for an hour or two after which it can be washed with a shampoo. This treatment when done regularly has been proved to be very helpful in stopping hair loss and promoting new hair growth.
Hibiscus is famous for its ability to improve hair. Hibiscus when applied to hair promotes hair growth and gives black color to hair. The beautiful flower of the hibiscus plant should be rubbed against head and hair and washed off after 15 minutes. Hibiscus would cool head and promotes hair growth.
Hibiscus would also prevent hair graying. Applying hibiscus regularly would ensure good health for hair. In Kerala women regularly apply hibiscus flower (chembarathi poovu) and leaves on hair. Kerala women are traditionally having long beautiful hair. Hibiscus is the secret behind the long beautiful hair of Kerala women. Hibiscus flowers are used to prepare oil that promoted hair growth.
Hibiscus flowers should be cut into small pieces and boiled with oil. Boil till the flowers are cooked in oil. This oil has great medicinal value. This oil would cool head and eliminate headache. It would prevent graying and ensure hair growth. Hibiscus oil also fights off dandruff in hair. If you experience hair loss, dandruff or baldness you can try hibiscus. Hibiscus flowers should be applied on hair (paste of hibiscus flower). Hibiscus can fight skin infections also. Allying hibiscus on hair would clear off any skin infections. Rubbing hibiscus flower paste on skin infections would also be good.
Hibiscus leaves is the best natural shampoo. In Kerala women use hibiscus leaves as shampoo. Hibiscus leaves should be grind and applied on hair. This would thoroughly clean your hair. Using hibiscus shampoo also promotes hair growth.
Hibiscus for weight loss, mouth ulcer, heart problem, constipation and hypertension
Hibiscus (chembarathi chaya in malayalam) decoction helps lose weight. Regular usage is found to help shed weight. Hibiscus flowers is a home remedy for canker sores or mouth ulcers. Apply paste of hibiscus flowers on canker sores. It will be healed soon. Eating hibiscus flowers is found to be strengthening body’s circulatory system. People with high cholesterol and heart problems would be benefitted by hibiscus flowers. Boiling hibiscus flowers in water and drinking this water would be beneficial. Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C. Consuming hibiscus decoction would prevent cold and fever. Being rich with vitamin C hibiscus would boost the immune system. Drinking hibiscus decoction is found to be benefitting hypertension patients also. Hibiscus can refresh people by lessening the feeling of stress.
In India certain varieties of Hibiscus flowers are used for cooking. Hibiscus is supposed to contain some vital nutrients that are essential for the body and in the southern parts of India it is regularly used in cooking.
Text source: Various online sites including Wikipedia
Photo: Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi