Hibiscus Benefits

Hibiscus
Latin Name

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Also Known As

Indian Sorrel, Jamaican Sorrel, Rosella, Canamo de Guinea

Origin

Africa

Parts Used

Flower/Calyces

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Cultivated since ancient times, the calyces of the Hibiscus flower have been used to make a medicinal tea for millennia.

Thought to have originated somewhere on the African continent, Hibiscus has a long list of traditional uses as a remedy for respiratory disorders, heart health, nervous disorders and metabolic disorders.

Hibiscus Benefits

Heart Health

Antioxidant rich Hibiscus tea has cardioprotective and antihypertensive effects, according to the “Journal of Ethnopharmacoloy”. They published a study in 2003 finding that extract of Hibiscus reverses cardiac hypertrophy (abnormal thickening or enlargement of the heart muscle). The same study found that it can also lower blood pressure – hypertension can often preclude more serious heart conditions.

The antioxidants found in Hibiscus are of the “anthocyanin” variety. These powerful compounds are thought to be responsible for the many benefits of this herb. Epidemiological studies suggest that increased consumption of anthocyanins lowers the risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease.

Liver Health

The antioxidant properties of Hibiscus also protect the liver. It has been found to improve “liver steatosis”, a condition characterised by the accumulation of fat in the liver (fatty liver disease). A 2014 study of 19 obese participants found that taking Hibiscus extract over a period of 12 weeks reduced obesity, abdominal fat, serum free fatty acid (FFA) and improved liver steatosis. The study concluded that Hibiscus extract “could act as an adjuvant for preventing obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver.”

Whilst the above study used Hibiscus extract, a refreshing cup of Hibiscus tea can help to flush and cleanse the liver.

Kidney Health

Herbs that are good for the liver tend to also benefit the kidneys, and Hibiscus is no different in this respect.

The Department of Life Sciences in Manipur University, India, published a study demonstrating that Hibiscus extract “exhibit anti-urolithiatic activity and do not have genotoxic effects.” The study showed that it inhibited the formation of calcium oxalate deposition on the kidneys, thus preventing the formation of kidney stones.

Hibiscus tea has also been shown to have diuretic properties. Diuretics help to stimulate the kidneys by allowing urine to be passed more frequently and in greater quantity. This helps to cleanse the kidneys and can prevent water retention.

Immune Boosting

Hibiscus has long been used as a traditional remedy for all manner of respiratory infections. It is now known to be extremely rich in vitamin C – a potent antioxidant vitamin that is well known for its immune boosting qualities and ability to reduce the symptoms of coughs and colds.

Anaemia

Drinking Hibiscus tea could also be helpful for patients suffering from anaemia. It high in iron, with just one serving delivering a whopping 20 mg of iron. This important mineral keeps the immune system balanced and helps the body to maintain red blood cells. The chief function of iron is the formation of haemoglobin, it is the primary protein found in red blood cells and represents about two thirds of the body’s iron. The vitamin C naturally found in Hibiscus works to increase the absorption of iron.

Typical Use

Hibiscus Tea

1 - 2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water, steep for 3 - 10 minutes depending on taste.

Hibiscus Flower Powder

Can be added to smoothies, water or encapsulated. 

Recommended use: Upto 1 teaspoon daily.

Hibiscus Flower Powder can also be used topically in natural hair and skincare products.

Folklore and History

There seems to be a correlation throughout the world between the Hibiscus flower and feminine energy. In Hawaii if the woman wears a Hibiscus flower over her left ear it signifies that she is in a relationship, whereas wearing the flower over the right ear means that she is available or open to a relationship.

In India the Hibiscus Flower is traditionally used as an offering to goddesses and traditional Southern Indian iconography of the Goddess Kali features Hibiscus flowers heavily. A variation in Greek mythology shows Hibiscus being a potent symbol of beauty where the god Adonis is transformed into a Hibiscus flower and then fought over by the goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone.

Hibiscus
Constituents

delphinidin, esculetin, cyaniding, gossypetin, anthocyanin, glycoside hibiscin. Flvones: quercetin-3-diglucoside, quercetin-3,7-diglucoside, cyaniding-3,5-diglucoside, quercetin-3-sophorotrioside, kaempferol-3xylosylglucoside, cyaniding-3-sophoroside-5-glucoside. Other constituents are cyclopeptide alkaloid, cyanidin chloride, hentriacontane, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, thiamine, taraxeryl acetate, β-sitosterol , cyclicacids sterculic and malvalic acids.

Precautions

Hibiscus must not be consumed by pregnant women as it stimulates uterine contractions.

Please consult your healthcare practitioner if you are taking prescription medication for diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure).

Hibiscus may affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control difficult during and after surgery. Stop using Hibiscus at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.