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The Surprising Health Benefits of Hibiscus

A delicious and refreshing herb to drink when it’s hot out, Hibiscus has cooling and moistening properties and is amazing for supporting a healthy heart. Good for colds and flus and tonifying for multiple body systems, drinking Hibiscus tea has so many benefits. Read on for more insight into the medicinal virtues of this beautiful flower. 


A pink Hibiscus flower

Herb Info

  • Common Name: Hibiscus, Jamaica

  • Latin Name: Hibiscus sabdariffa

  • Family: Malvaceae 

  • General Characteristics: Shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall; has soft, palm-shaped leaves and fused flowers in various colors. Grows in tropical regions around the world.

  • Precautions/Safety: Avoid if you have low blood pressure; Potential risk of liver toxicity and kidney damage at very high does; Can have negative interactions with some pharmaceutical drugs - particularly Hydrochlorothiazide and anti-Malaria medications; Can cause an allergic reaction if you are allergic to other plants in the Malvaceae family.


Herbal Actions

  • Antihyperglycemic

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Antioxidant

  • Astringent

  • Cardioprotective

  • Diuretic

  • Hepatoprotective

  • High in Vitamin C

  • Hypotensive

  • Mild laxative

  • Sedative

  • Tonic 

  • Demulcent


Red Hibiscus flower in front of ocean

Medicinal Virtues of Hibiscus

While Hibiscus is a popular and delicious tea, many people don’t realize this herb has incredible medicinal virtues as well. Hibiscus is an amazing ally for heart health - helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, supporting the cells that line the blood vessels and inner chambers of the heart, and generally helping fluids move through the body. Hibiscus is also a vasodilator, expanding the blood vessels to support healthy circulation and keep your blood flowing well. 


One of the most common medicinal uses of Hibiscus is helping to reduce blood pressure. There are numerous studies that have confirmed this herbal action. Hibiscus pairs particularly well with Ginger to promote healthy blood pressure. Being a diuretic, Hibiscus is also especially supportive for folks who struggle with edema and swelling, as this herb helps to remove excess fluid from the body without causing electrolyte imbalances. 


A cooling and demulcent herb, Hibiscus is especially good at soothing hot, irritated states. This herb is an exceptional ally for people who tend to run hot and dry constitutionally. This also makes Hibiscus a wonderful drink for those hot summer days as it cools you off while also providing lots of healthy antioxidants, flavonoids and a good punch of Vitamin C. 


Hibiscus also has a special affinity for the digestive and respiratory tracts, making it helpful for digestive complaints. It gently stimulates the appetite and helps with infections in the respiratory tract. Being mildly sedative, this herb helps to calm us down while nourishing multiple body systems simultaneously. They ease colds and coughs and can support you when you have a fever as well. 


A beautiful and comforting flower, Hibiscus promotes a healthy relationship to our sexuality, particularly when you work with them as a flower essence. This herb would be a great addition to a menstrual support tea, or any tea blend that’s focused on facilitating a healthy relationship with yourself and your creative energy. Overall, incorporating Hibiscus into your medicine cabinet can encourage great physical and energetic shifts in your life towards a more calm and soothing state. 


Dried Hibiscus flower

Medicine Making with Hibiscus: Cold Infusion

As a plant in the Malvaceae family with mucilagenous properties, Hibiscus is particularly effective as an overnight cold infusion. By pouring cold water over this herb and letting it sit for several hours, you can extract the soothing mucilage from Hibiscus to harness its moistening and soothing properties.


Overnight Cold Infusion How-To:

  1. Measure out your herb - I like to take 1 tsp - 1 tbsp of Hibiscus per 8 oz depending on how much moistening action you are going for.

  2. Pour cool water over the herb and cover.

  3. Leave overnight and enjoy in the morning - yes, it’s really that simple!

  4. Bonus - pour your cold infusion into popsicle molds and freeze for a delicious herbal popsicle.


And if you want more information about cold infusions and the amazing benefits of mucilaginous plants, check out this blog post about Marshmallow herb here.


Herbal Apprentice Program

If you're interested in learning how to work with herbs to be a healed healer, Artemisia Academy has an incredible Herbal Apprentice Program. I recently completed it and had my mind blown open learning about Hibiscus and many other herbs. You also get to learn how to make medicine, work with clients, develop your plant identification skills and form intuitive and reciprocal relationships with the plants we work with.


Sources Used


About the Author

Alicia Cielle Heiser is an Astrologer, Herbalist and student at Artemisia Academy. Her work centers on facilitating a greater understanding of the cyclical nature of the world and the ways that we as humans fit within the greater whole. She is writing a series of materia medica blog posts for Artemisia to make the wisdom and knowledge of herbal medicine more available to more people. Alicia also has a podcast called Conversations with the Planets and she offers herbal astrology readings and crafts personalized herbal tea blends. You can find her at www.aliciacielle.com. 


 

Disclaimer: Information presented on this webpage is for educational purposes only, and does not include the diagnosis and treatment of disease nor replace the advice of a licensed physician. Please refer to a licensed health professional for any illness or persistent symptoms before using herbal remedies.


Herbs can sometimes cause discomfort or side effects, and may interact adversely with pharmaceutical medications. Do not use herbs internally without the approval of a doctor or medical professional if you are currently on medications or have a history of medical conditions.

 


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