Hibiscus is the name given to more than 250 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees of the mallow or Malvaceae family. The most commonly used species of hibiscus for medicinal purposes are Hibiscus sabdariffa, commonly known as the roselle; Hibiscus rosa-Sinensis, also called China rose and common hibiscus; and Hibiscus syriacus, known as the Rose of Sharon. These three shrubs are native to tropical climates but are now grown around the world. Hibiscus is renowned for its beauty as well as its medicinal uses, and gardeners cultivate the plant for its showy flowers.
- Scientific name: Hibiscus
- Higher classification: Hibisceae
- Rank: Genus
Originally the Hibiscus, in all colors and varieties, was the official territorial flower of the Hawaiian Islands, adopted in the early 1920s. Near statehood in 1959, the first State Legislature adopted many of Hawaii’s symbols as part of the Hawaii Revised Statutes; however, it wasn’t until 1988 that the yellow Hibiscus, native to the Hawaiian Islands, was elected as the State flower of Hawaii. For this reason, you’ll see older photos with the red Hibiscus, or any other color for that matter, as the state flower.
The Hibiscus, found from Honolulu to Waikiki, is an ornamental flowering plant most commonly found in warm climates, especially tropical and subtropical regions. It’s a popular landscaping shrub among gardeners, and used in many cultures for various purposes including herbal tea, hair products, and even paper making! The brazen flower of the Hibiscus is synonymous with “delicate beauty” making it a popular gift throughout the world.
There is one point of contention with this beautiful state flower. Many locals argue that different flowers are used to represent different islands. So a Paradise Park local may differ about the State flower with a Waimea local. Many islands wish they were their own states, so they made up a few rules of their own in the 1950’s.
- Though hardy, hibiscus bushes will grow to the size of hawthorn trees if left to themselves. They can be kept to suitable proportions by pruning them each spring.
- They flower on this season’s growth, so hard pruning that leads to the production of many side shoots makes them flower prolifically. Every sub-branch that springs from the main framework and is cut back will produce four new shoots in three or four months, each bearing clusters of flower bud by late summer. If these are cut away the following season, another relay of shoots and flowers will spring from the cut branches.
- To make sure that hardy hibiscus produces plenty of flower buds, it is essential to plant in an open sunny position. Unlike many other sun-lovers, they also like plenty of humus worked into the planting sites. An annual dose of rose fertilizer promotes tough growth.
- To train a bush into a standard, select the strongest main growth and tie it to a cane. Remove other main growths but shorten only the shoots that spring directly from the selected branch. Tie in the tip as it elongates and shortens to a couple of inches any side shoots that develop. After the standard has reached 4ft, remove the tip in spring and encourage the branches that form to become the head by letting them develop to a foot or so. Cut them back by half the next spring. Only when the head has formed and the trunk thickened enough to stand without support, should all side branches be removed.
Use of Hibiscus Flowers
Use of Hibiscus Leaves
Hibiscus leaves are rich in antioxidants, which can clean your body from harmful and unwanted toxins. This health benefit of hibiscus can be gained by drinking a cup of hibiscus tea every day. Hibiscus tea is made using hibiscus leaves or flowers. The tea has antioxidants which fight against diseases like cancer, helps to lose weight and lowers the cholesterol level in our body.
Hibiscus is a good skin cleanser. Scrubbing hibiscus leaves on your face and neck works well to remove dead skin cells, blackheads, and whiteheads. Hibiscus oil made from hibiscus leaves help to make the skin soft, smooth and also treat rough and dry patches of the skin. Hibiscus has anti-inflammatory properties as well, which help in curing acne. Hibiscus has anti-ageing properties which help to slow down skin aging process. These are the various skin health benefits of hibiscus leaves.
As mentioned above, hibiscus has antioxidants that help to flush out unwanted toxins. This helps to remove the unnecessary fats and calories accumulated in the body, thus reducing weight. Similarly, a cup of hibiscus tea every day increases your body metabolism considerably. The increase in the metabolism also reduces a few extra kilos. Thus, hibiscus is good for losing weight and maintaining body fitness.
Hibiscus can help regulate the generation of hormones. During menstrual periods, women undergo a lot of hormonal changes which can make them cranky. To balance these hormones, hibiscus tea is a well-known method. Hibiscus soothes the instant and spontaneous emotional breakdowns women go through during those days. Hibiscus tea is a good remedy for Premenstrual Syndrome.
Hibiscus tea boosts the body energy straight away. It also re-hydrates the body which further helps in revitalizing our body. In short, a cup of hibiscus tea can set you free from stress and strain that drains away all the energy from your body.
Another health benefit of hibiscus leaves is that it relieves from cold immediately. Nasty colds can be very annoying. Hibiscus tea or hibiscus extracts can help to bring instant relief from a cough and cold. Hibiscus is also rich in Vitamin C which helps to fight against the viruses causing cold. Therefore, hibiscus leaves are a good tonic for cold, cough, sore throat and mild headache.
Have to Know
Hibiscus flowers come in many colors. They can be red, yellow, white, or peach-colored, and can be as big as six inches wide. You can also find hibiscus plants in many garden stores.The red flowers are most commonly cultivated for medical purposes and are available as dietary supplements.
Hibiscus tea is also called sour tea because of its tart taste. It’s made from a mixture of dried hibiscus flowers, leaves, and dark red calyces . After the flower finishes blooming, the petals fall off and the calyces turn into pods that hold the plant’s seeds. Calyces are often the main ingredients in herbal drinks containing hibiscus.
Historically, hibiscus has been used by different cultures as a remedy for several conditions. Egyptians used hibiscus tea to lower body temperature, treat heart and nerve diseases, and as a diuretic to increase urine production.
Elsewhere in Africa, tea was used to treat constipation, cancer, liver disease, and cold symptoms. Pulp made from the leaves was applied to the skin to heal wounds.
In Iran, drinking sour tea is a common treatment for high blood pressure.
Today, hibiscus is popular for its potential to reduce high blood pressure. Modern studies show promise for both the tea and hibiscus plant extract to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Although more research is still needed, this could be good news for the future of heart disease treatment.
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.
Types of Hibiscus
The flowers are large, eye-catching and trumpet-shaped with five or more petals. The colors of different types of hibiscus can be white, pink, red, orange, purple or yellow. Hibiscus flowers will keep its green leaves almost the same throughout even in different seasons. The diverse flower colors of different types of hibiscus will add to the beauty and splendor of your green garden.
Giant Rose Mallow
Hibiscus Luna Red
Hibiscus – Blue River II