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 Hibiscus

 By Judi Singleton

There are over a 200 kinds of hibiscus. They grow all over the world. They have been associated with the Goddess as the Rose of Sharon variety. They have a long history. Not surprising as they are beautiful and used for many medicinal purposes.

If your hibiscus has dull medium green heart shaped leaves, dinner plate sized white, pink or red flowers with HUGE, bomb shaped buds (2-4" in length!), it is a perennial, hardy hibiscus.

Hardy hibiscus need very little care over the winter, they are root hardy to about zone 5 with no protection. They die to the ground each year.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa), also known as roselle, is a flowering shrub in the plant family of Malvaceae and is the commonly used species of hibiscus for tea. The calyces are used to make cold and hot beverages in many of the world's tropical and subtropical countries. The calyces (or calyxes) are used which are the outer portion of the flower bud. The calyces are often referred to as hibiscus flowers in recipes and tea blends. It is also a great contribution to the popular rosehip tea giving it a lemony flavor and lovely red color. The aroma and taste of Hibiscus is slightly of berry-like aroma. It has a well balanced, tart and astringent flavor.

Hibiscus were once called shoe-black, "indicating the use of its flowers by tropical bootblacks, to polish shoes." (Taylor's Encyclopedia of Gardening, 1961) This was the single reliable reference to this use the author could discover. Nor could this author allow such a claim to stand without attempting experimentation.One red flower (five petals removed from calyx, stamens, and pistil) did one shoe. The red petals became liquefied and slimy under pressure against the leather. The liquid dried and could be buffed within minutes. The right shoe of an old pair of black business shoes now appears much shinier than its 'sinister' counterpart. The tips of the thumb, index, and middle finger of my right hand were also a dark purple until liquid detergent and a brush were applied.
Medicinal Uses

Medicinally, leaves are emollient, and are much used in Guinea as a diuretic, refrigerant, and sedative; fruits are antiscorbutic; leaves, seeds, and ripe calyces are diuretic and antiscorbutic; and the succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in bilious attacks; the leaves and powdered seeds are eaten in West Africa. Philippines use the bitter root as an aperitive and tonic. Angolans use the mucilaginous leaves as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy.

Hibiscus flower extract has been used in many folk remedies for liver disorders and high blood pressure.
Hibiscus - Relieves stomach problems, sweetens breath and soothes nerves. Said to be an aphrodisiac. Cholesterol / Heart Disease - a study at the Chung Shan University in Taiwan involving rats on high cholesterol diets demonstrated that an extract of the hibiscus flower significantly lowered cholesterol content in blood serum and prevented oxidation of LDL, "bad", cholesterol.
"Experiments have shown that compounds extracted from red wine and tea reduce cholesterol and lipid build-up in the arteries of rats.

"This is the first study to show that Hibiscus extract has the same effect."

- Dr. Chau-Jong Wang, lead researcher

Hypertension - in one study individuals with hypertension were given hibiscus tea once daily for 12 days. Members of the control group lowered their blood pressure by 11% versus 4% for the control group.

Liver Disorder - hibiscus is thought to help with liver disorders, though no studies to this effect have been done.
It act as an antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, diuretic, emollient, purgative, refrigerant, resolvent, sedative, stomachic, and tonic.

Roselle is a folk remedy for abscesses, bilious conditions, cancer, cough, debility, dyspepsia, dysuria, fever, hangover, heart ailments, hypertension, neurosis, scurvy, and strangury. Uses include an aphrodisiac; soothes nerves; antispasmodic; itchy skin; stomach problems; sweeten breath; attract love/lust; divination; dreams.
Bunga Raya, is known for its medicinal properties. The roots of the plant are used as a cure for fever and other ailments, while the juice obtained from the leaves and roots is said to be effective in relieving skin eruptions and glandular troubles. Also, the petals were commonly used as cosmetics to darken and highlight women's eyebrows.

Rose of Sharon was not so much a specific earthly flower as it was a symbol of the Perfect Bride, & the Perfect Bride symbolized the fruitfulness & beauty of the Earth (or Earthmother) when She was at peace & in harmony with God.
"Sharon" means "Fruitful," a word that Torah associates with good pasturage for sheep.



About the Author
If you like this article Judi Singleton writes ten blogs a week visit http://www.motherearthpublishing.com for a list of her blogs

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