Facts and Interesting Information About the Hibiscus Plant
The hibiscus is commonly known in Asia as the shoe flower because it is used to polish shoes. The other names are sorrel, rosemallow and China rose. The plant belongs to Hibiscus Genus and Malvaceae family. The hibiscus is an evergreen bush that is found commonly in warm and tropical regions. There are over two hundred species in this family.
The flowers of the hibiscus plant are large and attractive. The flowers do not have any scent however. There are a variety of colors ranging from bright red to light blue. People often graft plants to get flowers with double colors and increased number of petals.
The government of Malaysia has declared the hibiscus flower as its national flower. The people of Malaysia have high regard for this flower. The symbol of the flower is imprinted on Malaysian currency.
Indians treat the shoe flower with respect and offer it to the Goddess Kali. She is worshipped with red hibiscus flowers. It is believed that she likes these flower offerings and will grant wishes.
The Chinese herbal remedies use hibiscus for various treatments. Chinese women make a dye out of flower extract and apply it to the eyebrows and the hair. The flowers are crushed and applied to the hair before taking a shower. This is believed to help remove dandruff and increase hair growth. The flower and leaf extract is mixed with herbal oil and sold at herbal stores.
Hibiscus is used for making ayurvedic and herbal medicines. Ayurveda uses hibiscus parts like leaves, flowers and roots to cure headaches, swelling, menstrual cramps, hair care, colds, venereal disease, induce short term infertility and stimulate menstruation. It is also used as a laxative. People use the hibiscus flowers to make chutneys, soups and curries.
Women in Tahiti tuck a hibiscus flower behind the ear. This is to indicate that they are prospective brides. In Kerala, the southernmost state of India, the same custom indicates lunacy. This practice is often humorously portrayed in films.
Hibiscus tea helps in reducing blood pressure. It can be included in the daily diet of high BP patients. It also helps in decreasing the cholesterol level. The antioxidants and high level of vitamin C in the hibiscus flower protects the body against diseases and gives the skin a special glow. It is also known for its diuretic properties.
There are no serious side effects caused by hibiscus use. Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid hibiscus intake because it is known to stimulate menstruation. It is always safe to use home made herbal preparations of hibiscus. It is better to consult the physician before consuming hibiscus products sold online. There is an international hibiscus society website for enthusiasts.
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hibiscus_flower_TZ.jpg