By -Lata Sundari
IPR Department, Govt. of Manipur
Many of us are quite familiar with the hibiscus plant. Name any place : they are seen growing almost everywhere in the nearby orchards, gardens ,courtyard and far-away farms and fields. The flowers come in a variety of colors. They can be red, yellow, white, or peach-colored, and can be as big as 6 inches wide. Belonging to the Malvaceae family, this evergreen plant has strong branches and trunk with dark green, shiny, smooth, and oval-shaped leaves.
Apart from having a bright, colourful appearance, hibiscus flowers have medicinal properties like controlling cholesterol and blood pressure levels, treating cancer, heart disease and obesity. The calyces of the plant is the basic composition of the herbal drinks containing hibiscus. Going back to history, it is believed that the Egyptians used hibiscus tea to treat fever, heart and nerve diseases. It is also used in certain patients as a diuretic to increase urine production. The anthocyanins present in hibiscus is the key ingredient giving the plant its anti-cancer properties. Reports found that the hibiscus extract might have an effect on metabolism, preventing obesity and fat buildup in the liver.
Hibiscus(Hibiscus rosa sinensis) is a wonder plant when it comes to beauty treatment for hair and skin. It is the basic composition of all hair cosmetics like oil, tonic, shampoo and conditioner. It is believed that hibiscus promotes hair growth and prevents premature hair greying by reducing excessive body heat, stimulating blood circulation to the scalp and increasing the supply of essential nutrients to the hair follicles. In addition to making the hair smooth, silky and soft texture, hibiscus is a good treatment for alopecia and hair fall too.
Hibiscus flowers are widely used in the treatment of pimples and bleeding disorders due to their pitta-pacifying action and anti-hemorrhagic properties. It also comes to the rescue for relieving painful menstruation. hemorrhoids, urinary disorders e.g. UTI, insomnia and skin disorders. As hibiscus has a cooling, diuretic effect on the body, it is normally prescribed by doctors as a natural remedy for hormone balancing, hypertension and better body metabolism. Aqueous extracts of hibiscus also appear to exert a slight antibacterial effect.
Components of hibiscus have shown potential as a chemopreventative agent against tumor promotion in laboratory and animal studies. These components also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Apart from the hibiscus plant been used as a mild laxative, research have been carried out relating to its use in preventing renal stone formation, as well as its respiratory and sedative effects.
Summing up, we find that the hibiscus is a wonder plant that has a multi-dimensional use when it comes to medicinal and health benefits. It is a boon when it comes to countering numerous diseases ranging from the very severe cancer to the lightest skin and hair ailments.
****The writer can be reached at – [email protected]