My mom planted hibiscus plants when we moved to Illovo, South of the city of Durban, South Africa in 2002. I really didn’t think too much of it, neither did my mom. These plants have now growth to over 2 metres tall and produce beautiful bright red hibiscus flowers.
For years the primary function of our hibiscus plants was to provide us with shade during the hot summer days and, a backdrop for when we take selfies outdoors. It was only when I started my natural hair care journey that I discovered their magic. I am always on the lookout for cheap ways to better care for my natural hair. I came across a post on Facebook on making your own rose water using red rose petals and mixing it with hibiscus water to spray as a moisturizer for natural hair.
I started to dig up more information about the flower and how to use it to my advantage and the best part is that it is right in front of my yard.
Origins of the hibiscus flower
The origins of the hibiscus flower commonly known as the ‘rose mallow’ or the ‘rose of Sharon’ is actually unknown. It is mostly cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas. It is in fact, the national flower of Malaysia which stands for unity, an important part of Malaysia’s national character. The flower contains about 300 species with a common feature of beautiful vibrant flowers that bloom in warm temperatures. Hibiscus grow in a range of colours ranging from white, yellow, to pink and red. Many are associated with specific meanings and symbolism in different countries all over the world.
Benefits and uses of the hibiscus flower tea
Hibiscus tea is readily available at health stores and pharmacies like Dischem. You can also make your own picking the hibiscus flower petals and drying them to make your herbal tea.
- For chronic diseases: It is said that out of all herbal teas, hibiscus flowers have the highest amount of antioxidants. This type of antioxidant is also found in berries and has been linked to reducing your risk of chronic diseases.
It may indeed help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol but, it can also be dangerous to anyone whose BP or sugar levels are already low.
- Weight-loss: hibiscus actually contains a few anti-obesity properties. Hibiscus activates the AMPK compound which is found in many anti-obesity drugs. Once activated, it stimulates the breakdown of fats which aids in weight loss especially in the midsection of the body.:
- UTI (Urinary Tract Infection): Hibiscus tea doesn’t just look or taste similar to cranberry juice, but it also has the same healing properties. Like cranberry juice, hibiscus works wonders for getting rid of and preventing urinary tract infections.
Making your own hibiscus tea: Pick fresh hibiscus flowers and pull all the petals from the flowers. Rinse the petals well in water to remove any dust, bugs, or impurities. Boil the kettle and add boiling water over the fresh petals. Let it steep for 10 minutes. The petals will change from red to yellow. Once the petals turn yellow, remove them. Hibiscus tea can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Benefits of hibiscus for natural hair
- Stimulates hair growth: The naturally occurring amino acids in hibiscus flowers provide the hair with the nutrients help in promoting hair growth. Rich in vitamin C and amino acids, the flowers improve the blood circulation under the scalp to stimulate healthy hair growth. It is helpful in preventing baldness, promoting the overall thickness of hair strands, and makes hair more manageable.
- Prevents premature grey hair: The antioxidants and vitamins present in Hibiscus help in producing melanin, the naturally occurring pigment that gives hair its natural color.
- Helps treat itchy scalp and dandruff: Hibiscus leaves help maintain the pH balance of hair in addition to providing an overall soothing and cooling effect.
- Conditions hair: Leaves and flowers from the hibiscus plant are incredibly moisturizing. When you crush the petals of the hibiscus, your hands would become slimy. Apply on your hair for an hour for a deep conditioner.
- Moisturizes hair: Using hibiscus tea as a spray for natural hair, not only adds moisture to hair but helps reduce the oil gland secretions and excessive oil secretion of the scalp.
Making your hibiscus oil for hair: Grind 10 hibiscus flower petals and leaves into a paste and add into a cup of almond oil. Heat the oil in a double boiler for 20 minutes on low heat. Allow the oil to cool completely, then strain the flower paste and your oil is ready to use. Apply on hair at least twice a week.
Other surprising benefits of the hibiscus flower
- It is an anti-aging plant that is great for youthful skin. The natural acids present in Hibiscus help to purify your skin by breaking down dead skin and increasing cell turnover, they can even help to control acne breakouts.
- Thanks to the vitamin C in the hibiscus flower, you can also help your body make collagen naturally which improves skin elasticity for a firmer body.
- Hibiscus extract is said to increase the production of a protein that helps the edges of a wound close. It also stimulates the expression of genes involved in various healing processes, including skin hydration and regeneration.
Specifically for Women:
- Drinking hibiscus tea regularly helps calm hot flashes in women who are going through the tough hormonal period of menopause.
- It helps soothe menstrual cramps. Hibiscus may also promote hormonal balance, and help reduce common PMS symptoms, such as anxiety and irritability.
I think that hibiscus flowers are just magic that is not appreciated enough. Check out more benefits on my home remedies blog.