Hibiscus is the generic name given to hundreds of species of flowering plants found in the Malvaceae family. These plants are native to tropical and sub-tropical countries throughout the world. Hibiscus is also known as flor de Jamaica, sorrel, rose mallow and Roselle. Whatever, you know it as; the flowers for this plant are quite beautiful and quite useful. Some uses are:
- Landscaping- the flowers are really pretty.
- Paper making- the kenaf species is used to make paper
- Drinks- The hibiscus species called sorrel is a popular drink in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries especially at Christmas time. In Cambodia another specie is used with lime for a refreshing drink and in India the gudhal and in Mexico, flor de Jamaica is used in drinks both hot and cold.
- Food- The Roselle is used as vegetable in some countries and as natural food coloring in others.
Health Benefits Hibiscus
Hibiscus is rich in alpha hydroxy acids and amino acids, it is a natural diuretic and it contains several vitamins including Vitamin C and several minerals. In India the flowers are boiled in oil along with other spices to make medicated hair oil. The leaves and flowers are ground into a fine paste with a little water, and the resulting lathery paste is used as a shampoo plus conditioner.
Hair Benefits of Hibiscus
- The deeper red flowers yield a dark purple dye that is used to color premature gray hair.
- The hibiscus contains slippery plant juices when crushed. When infused with water as a tea, the resulting concoction soothes dry scalp.
- Hibiscus is very good for dry curly hair as it provides excellent slip when used as a final rinse.
- Hibiscus strengthens the hair from root to tip.
- Hibiscus seals the hair cuticles and helps to stop hair breakage.
Best Hibiscus To Use For Hair
Both the leaves and the flowers are used for homemade preparations.
- Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Chinese Hibiscus, shoe flower)
- Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle, Jamaican Sorrel)
Hibiscus Hair Oil
To get the benefits of hibiscus for shiny, beautiful, lustrous black hair you can make your own hibiscus hair oil. Crush five or six petals of hibiscus with about three leaves, place that in a hot carrier oil (coconut, olive, castor), leave crushed hibiscus in oil on low flame, remove after 10 or so minutes do not let it burn! Strain when cool. Use as you would your regular oil. If you are not using fresh plants, 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus is pretty potent and will work just as well.
Hibiscus Tea Rinse For Hair
I must confess I only get to do this tea rinse in latter August to early January. As that is the time when Jamaican Sorrel is widely available. The tea rinse stains but is easy to wipe out of your sink. Hibiscus tea rinse has great slip; you can use it as your final wash after a conditioning or after a shampoo as a precursor to condition hair. It gives hair a glorious shine. Please see Hair Recipes For Dry, Damaged Hair for the Sorrel Conditioner Recipe for directions. You can omit the ginger and add aloe vera instead or use other herbs to nourish your hair.
Note: the infusion usually expires within 2-3 days.
Want To Use A Hibiscus Tea Rinse?
There are several persons who would love to try a hibiscus rinse and are not able to get the plant. You can find the dried plant here:
Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Herb Pure Org Hibiscus Flowers, 16-Ounce Bag
Can’t Bother With My Constant Do-It-Yourself Suggestions?
Here are some products with hibiscus added: