Hibiscus: Properties, Uses and Benefits
The hibiscus also called karkadè, a hibiscus flower, or pink tea from Abyssinia, is a shrub that belongs to the Malvaceae family. The plant is native to western India but today it is possible to find it in almost all the continents (Asia, Africa, Europe and North America) in more than 320 variants. And yet, the common thread that binds them are the marvelous flowers that are adorned in the spring.
In Europe, the most common plants are the red hibiscus, the pink hibiscus and the marsh hibiscus respectively with red, pink and white flowers.
Aesthetically, the plant is branched with a height that can reach up to 3 meters with a smooth bark when it is young and that becomes wrinkled over the years. The leaves are dark green and oval in shape with very beautiful, colorful and solitary flowers.
Cultivating a hibiscus is relatively simple as it easily adapts to various climatic conditions and the important thing is that it is placed in the house if you live in a very cold area, near a window. For those who live in the Mediterranean and lukewarm areas just put it in a vase in the garden on the balcony or on the terrace, watering it whenever the soil is dry.
Every part of the hibiscus is useful, starting from the leaves that are diuretic, soothing and refreshing. The petals are instead made to dry to exploit their diuretic properties and the fruits are powerful antiscorbutic while the bitter roots are tonic and emollient, while the flower extract protects the liver that regulates blood pressure and is used as an aphrodisiac even if there is no evidence to confirm it.
HISTORY OF THE HIBISCUS
Its diffusion in Europe is due to a Dutch ambassador who brought the flower to his homeland in 1500, after having been at the court of Suleiman the Magnificent in Constantinople. The ambassador was also a botanist and was particularly struck by the beauty of the hibiscus flower and started the trade of bulk herbs wholesale.
In the past the root was used to dry to produce the famous karkadè to drink and it is nice to know that today this custom has not been lost in tropical areas and in India it is indeed a common practice.
The use of the hibiscus in Europe occurred in the 30's when there was the prohibition of the consumption of foreign products. Karkadè was not considered as such because it was grown in Ethiopia and Eritrea which at the time were Italian colonies.
PROPERTIES OF THE HIBISCUS
- Antiseptic and antibacterial properties helpful especially in the genital, urinary and digestive systems;
- Laxative properties thanks to the organic acids contained in it;
- Diuretic properties to eliminate excess liquids;
- Detoxifying properties able to sweep free radicals;
- Digestive properties;
- Cosmetic properties, used in shampoos;
- Soothing properties;
- Anti-inflammatory properties;
- Improves hypertension due to the concentration of anthocyanins.
BENEFITS OF THE HIBISCUS
Hibiscus is used to fight urogenital and gastric infections, just drink an herbal tea daily to immediately see improvements against cystitis or minor annoyances.
For those wishing to purify the antioxidant action of hibiscus is particularly useful for eliminating excess toxins and waste inside the body. Those suffering from high blood pressure can consume a hibiscus herbal tea daily to lower blood pressure and bring it to normal levels. Some think that hibiscus can be an excellent tool to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular diseases indeed its active ingredients are protectors against heart and blood circulation.
Those who have difficulty digesting can use the hibiscus to facilitate digestion while those who have difficulty going to the toilet or urinating can use hibiscus for diuretic or laxative purposes. For external use you can prepare packs based on this plant to soothe red, burned or irritated skin.
The flowers are also able to assist weight loss by increasing fat metabolism. This accelerates the elimination of excess fat. Obviously the only use of the hibiscus is almost useless for the purpose of a slimming as it requires a balanced diet and physical activity.