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Monday, January 3, 2011
HIBISCUS TISANE HEALTH BENEFITS: MEDICINAL USES OF HIBISCUS
There are hundreds of varieties of hibiscus that grow around the world. They have particularly beautiful flowers, which come in all shades. The red variety is Hibiscus rosa- sinensis which is the one used to make herbal teas. In Greece these plants grow wild and adorn villages and waysides on the islands and the mainland.
Apart from looking wonderful, the flowers are very beneficial. You can make a tisane with them by cutting 4 fresh flowers and steeping them in a pint of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes, then straining the liquid off and adding honey if you want to, or a dash of lemon or orange juice which will enhance the flavour. This tisane, if taken daily for a month, should lower systolic blood pressure. The darker the colour of the tisane the healthier it will be as it contains antioxidants which combat the cancer producing free radicals in the body. As the flowers are also rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) they will help ward off colds and flu.
Extracts of the flowers are also used in cosmetics to help rejuvenate the skin. The mucilage in the flowers helps to hydrate the skin and acts as a moisturizer, helping to prevent the formation of wrinkles and improving the elasticity of the skin.
The flowers and leaves of the hibiscus plant have been used in traditional medicine in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean for centuries, and they are used to relax the uterus, as a mild laxative and diuretic as well as an expectorant. The tisane can be used as a wash for skin problems and will help stop sores weeping. You can use it for all skin problems as no adverse reactions have been reported. Remember to use the red hibiscus though.
You can make a paste with the flowers and leaves by steeping them in water for 5 minutes and then blending this to a fairly thick consistency and use it as a shampoo to treat dandruff and act as a tonic for the scalp. Massage the paste into your hair and scalp and leave it for 5 minutes before rinsing off. It will make your hair feel softer and give it an extra shine as well as getting rid of any dryness of the scalp.
Dry the flowers and use in a tisane, with 2 tablespoons of dried flowers to 2 cups of boiling water. Leave the dried flowers to steep for 10 minutes, strain and drink, flavoured as you wish.
The flowers, when dried can be crumbled or ground to a powder and stored in an airtight jar for up to 6 months, and the powder can also be used as a tisane or as a skin wash.