Hibiscus, especially white hibiscus, is considered to have medicinal properties in the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda. Roots make various concoctions believed to cure various ailments.
A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 7.2 point in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 point drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage. Study participants with higher blood pressure readings (129 or above), had a greater response to hibiscus tea, their systolic blood pressure went down by 13.2 points. This data supports the idea that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount readily incorporated into the diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure, although more research is required.
The natives of southern India use the Red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) for hair care purposes. The red flower and leaves, extracts of which can be applied on hair to tackle hair-fall and dandruff on the scalp. It is used to make hair-protective oils. A simple application involves soaking the leaves and flowers in water and using a wet grinder to make a thick paste, and used as a natural shampoo. its petals are used to cure fever while its roots are used to cure cough.
In the Philippines, the gumamela (local name for hibiscus) is used by children as part of a bubble-making pastime. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky juices come out. Hollow papaya stalks are then dipped into this and used as straws for blowing bubbles.
Dried hibiscus is edible, and is often a delicacy in Mexico.
The red hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian women. A single flower is tucked behind the ear. Which ear is used indicates the wearer's availability for marriage.
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