Hibiscus: An Alternative Medicine

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is commonly known as China Rose, Rose of China, Chinese Hibiscus, Hawaiian Hibiscus, Rosa Mallow, Jamaica Sorrel, Sudanese Tea, Red Sorrel, Japakusuma, Gumamela.

It belongs to a family of about 300 different species all over the world. It originated from Asia and grows abundantly in many tropical and subtropical regions throughout the year. There are species which can grow in slightly colder climates.

Hibiscus, a flowering green shrub, blooms in brilliant colors of red, orange, pink, while, yellow, and sometimes peach. It grows from 4 to 15 feet in normal land cultivation in residential places but can rise up to 30 feet in the forests or wild areas. Hibiscus grows well under the sun and is not sensitive to handle because it thrives even along roadsides, in abandoned fields and barren places.

During the 18th century, it was introduced to Jamaica and reached Europe in the late 19th century as Sudanese Tea. It is commercially used in other regions as a good supply for fiber, black dye for shoes, hair, mascara, and ingredient for sauces, chutneys, curries, and even teas. In other parts of the world, like Central America and the Caribbean regions, hibiscus has been used as herbal remedy for hair loss. In Asia, hibiscus is said to be used as astringent to stop bleeding. Herb users for years believed that it helps to prevent excessive menstrual bleeding, menstrual cramps and spasms.

Nowadays, hibiscus is being used to put color and flavor to herb teas. The flower which contains flavonoids and proanthocyanidins act as antioxidants, or antipyretic to reduce fever, an analgesic as pain reliever, and spasmolytic to limit spasms.

Based on recent laboratory tests, hibiscus is found to be useful in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol reduction in the blood. It has shown positive results in reducing bad cholesterol levels (LDL) found in extremely fat diets because, according to scientists, hibiscus may limit the adherence of cholesterol to artery walls. Regular use of hibiscus herbs promotes proper blood circulation and minimizes heart diseases.

Moreover, researchers believe that the antibacterial property of hibiscus may be essential in combating various illnesses like fever, cystitis and venereal disease. It is also effective in soothing respiratory tract infections and relieves whooping coughs and other respiratory ailments.

Hibiscus tea is pleasantly tasty and is known to be a good relief for stomach pains and improper food digestion. According to herb users, hibiscus tea promotes good appetite and good health.

Herb enthusiasts aptly call hibiscus as the "Glorious Hibiscus" maybe because it has the "flower power" to give you not just brilliant flowers pleasing to the eyes but also numerous medicinal benefits to promote wellness and good health.

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