The hibiscus is a tropical plant beloved for its bold and beautiful, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in white, pink, red, orange and yellow. The beauty of the flowers make hibiscus a popular garden plant, but it is so much more than just an ornamental flower.
All parts of the plant (the flowers, leaves, seeds, bark) are useful! Hibiscus has been cultivated in many parts of the world for medicinal and culinary purposes. It is a plant with many wonders! For one, the edible hibiscus flowers contain vitamin C, which can help fight colds and protect the body’s immune system.
Along with being a beautiful ornamental flower, here are some fascinating uses for the versatile hibiscus:
- The most popular use for hibiscus flowers is to make a delicious, tangy tea.
- The leaves can also be used to make a herbal tea to calm the nerves.
- The edible flowers can also be used to flavour jams, cakes, ice-cream, and beverages.
- Eating the raw flowers can help with digestion.
- Oil can be extracted from the seeds to be used as vegetable oil.
- The brightly coloured flowers can be made into a natural food dye.
- Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is used in traditional herbal medicine to treat hypertension, relieve skin irritations, lower cholesterol, reduce fevers and more!
- In the Philippines, children crush the flowers and leaves until the sticky juices come out and use it to make bubbles! Hollow papaya stalks are dipped into the solution and used as straws for blowing bubbles.
- Fibers from the bark is used to make grass skirts, rope, paper and nets.
- The wood can be used to make bowls, dishes and platters.
- The flowers and leaves can be used to make a mild shampoo that can help stimulate hair growth, prevent premature graying and hair loss, and relieve dandruff.
- The dark leaves can be used to make black dyes for mascara, hair dye and shoe polish.
- The beautiful flowers can be used to make leis, wreaths, and garlands.