Hibiscus

Hibiscus

hibiscus

Hibiscus in high in Vitamin C and helps boost the immune system. It's cooling effect also helps regulate the body's temperature.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Roselle hibiscus
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers & Petals
  • Side Effects: Aggravate Heartburn
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About Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a tropical evergreen shrub that paves its way from the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is a small tree that can reach the height of 16 feet with a canopy that can stretch up to 10 feet. Hibiscus is marked by its glossy-textured leaves and big, showy red-colored papery blossoms.

Hibiscus plants can last for decades. It is zealously cultivated in Egypt, Sudan, China, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, and the Pacific Islands for ages. Its flowers are used to compliment teas, sauces, and marinades. Also, Hibiscus is an important aspect of different cultures where it is hailed for its purported medicinal benefits. Ancient Egyptians employed hibiscus as an antipyretic, diuretic, and nervine tonic. In certain parts of Africa, hibiscus caters to constipation, cold and flu, liver-related disorders, and even cancer.

Hibiscus flowers offer cyanidin that helps in normalizing the lipid profile and edema. Hibiscus is also packed with various other phytochemicals that help in imparting the medicinal properties, for which it is famous. The phytochemicals include polysaccharides arabins, arabinogalactans, anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, citric acid, quercetin, gossypetin, and trace amounts of galactose, arabinose, glucose, xylose, mannose, and rhamnose.

Growing

Hibiscus is native to tropical zones as it does not like a colder climate. Hibiscus is a low maintenance plant that is both indoor and outdoor-friendly. It is made sure that the plant is taken indoors if there are chances of snowfall, as freeze kills it.

Hibiscus can be started via cuttings or seeds from early spring till early summer. It requires slightly acidic soil (6.5 to 6.8 pH) and at least 6 hours of full sun exposure to thrive robustly. For containerized plants, the potting mix can be utilized that imparts good drainage. After sowing the seeds, they must be watered daily. But after witnessing good growth, the amount should be tapered to twice a week.

Hibiscus seeds are quick to germinate as, within approximately 20 days, the seeds sprout. It grows rapidly and blooms throughout the year, giving its viewers a cherishing sight to behold. By the time hibiscus is three months old, it starts giving out highly vibrant blossoms.

The plant is pruned regularly to facilitate a booming growth of blossoms. A rather showy reproductive system hanging from the flowers holds the promise of the perpetuation of specie. Hibiscus can pollinate by two routes: self-pollination and cross-pollination. The process of pollination is done by pollinating insects and it should be rapid as the bloom is famous for staying alive for 24 hours only. The pollination is followed by fertilization which results in post-fertilization changes in the flower, leading to fruit formation.

The fruit bears numerous colorful seeds which are dispersed when the fruit dries out and opens up.

Harvesting

Hibiscus flowers can be harvested in summer, as it is the peak time for their booming growth.

Hibiscus flowers are simply hand-picked and incorporated in various recipes to gain its benefits.

Hibiscus flowers are used mostly fresh but they are quick to dry so their harvest is vigilantly planned. They can also be dried deliberately to keep their spark alive.

The petals of hibiscus flowers are peeled, washed, and then dried either in full sun or dehydrator. They are then crumpled and stored in an airtight container for later use.

Usage

Hibiscus and its other relative species are known for a plethora of benefits they confer. They are readily employed in culinary and medicinal activities to gain their benefits.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped hibiscus flowers in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Dried hibiscus flowers are steeped for 10 minutes, strained, and the liquid is given a punch of lime juice to make hibiscus tea.
  • Decoction - Simmer a tablespoon of dried hibiscus flowers for twenty to 40 minutes in water to form hibiscus decoction.
  • Salve - Hibiscus infused oil is employed in the formulation of salve.
  • Syrup - Dried hibiscus flowers are boiled in a sugar solution to form hibiscus syrup.
  • Infused oil - Fresh hibiscus flowers and leaves are grinded with a teaspoon of coconut oil to form a paste. This paste is then heated with more coconut oil to form hibiscus infused oil.