Hibiscus plants are very popular as ornamental plants that beautify gardens or landscape. Their large beautiful flowers come in different colours including white, pink, red, orange, peach, and yellow. It is a versatile perennial plant native to tropical regions although the hardy ones can be found in colder climates.
A member of the family, Malvaceae, the different species of the Hibiscus plant are cultivated for various reasons. For instance, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Hibiscus syriacus are cultivated for ornamental reasons while Hibiscus sabdariffa is cultivated for medicinal purposes.
Hibiscus can be made into a good number of products. Here are 5 useful products that can be derived from Hibiscus.
Hibiscus tea is made from the dried calyces of Hibiscus. It is the most popular product derived from the plant. Hibiscus tea is widely consumed in Africa, Asia, North America, and some parts of Europe.
It has a reddish colour with a tart taste that has led to it being called ‘sour tea’. It’s flavour has been compared to that of cranberries and can be served either hot or cold.
Preparation is quite easy. The calyces are steeped in hot water to extract the flavour from them. This mixture is then sieved to remove the tea and the calyces are discarded. On its own, Hibiscus tea does not contain any calorie or caffeine but it is usually sweetened with sugar or honey which adds some calories to it.
Sometimes, the calyces are steeped with ginger, lime, or pineapples to add some extra flavour. Hibiscus tea is very rich in vitamin c and antioxidants. Studies have proven it to be effective in reducing blood pressure and blood sugar, lowering blood fat level, boosting liver health, and having moderate antibacterial properties.
Asides from being ingested, this tea can be used as a hair spray to boost hair growth and hydrate the hair. It can also be used as a face toner to remove grit from the face.
This is formed grinding up the dried sepals of the Hibiscus plant. It can then be made into other beneficial products.
Examples of these products are:
Face-lifting face mask: Due to its richness in antioxidants and vitamin c, Hibiscus encourages collagen production in the face as well as elastin which tighten up the face and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
It has been dubbed ‘the botox plant’ due to these benefits. This face lifting face mask can be made by mixing some kaolin clay with hibiscus powder and some water. The mask should be washed off before it dries for easy removal, and the skin should be moisturized after. The effects of the hibiscus is seen immediately as the skin looks brighter and softer.
Exfoliating scrub: By mixing Hibiscus powder with some sugar, the physical exfoliation gotten from sugar is combined with the chemical exfoliation from the AHAs in Hibiscus which make a perfect scrub to slough off dead skin cells and unclog pores in the skin.
Hibiscus oil is created by an infusion of Hibiscus with any appropriate oil of choice. The dried petals are soaked in oil and placed in a double boiler in order to fasten the infusion of the nutrients into the oil.
The oil is useful for both skin and hair. When infused in avocado oil or olive oil, it can be used on the face as a facial oil. It can also be infused with coconut or almond oil, then massaged into the scalp. Hibiscus oil boosts hair growth from follicles and also helps to treat dandruff and stall greying of hair. It can also be used to coat the tips of hair strands to lock in moisture which will prevent tangling and breakage.
This soup is common among the Western people of Nigeria, especially people from Ekiti and Ondo states. It is a traditional soup that is usually cooked on special occasions, but some people make it regularly too.
It is made from dried white Hibiscus flowers. The flowers are soaked in hot water and ashes in order to remove the tangy taste. Then, they are added to a pot that already contains egusi, fish and pepper. It is devoured with any swallow of choice like pounded yam.
Cordages are ropes or cords that are used for a variety of reasons. In survival situations, cordages could come in very handy. They can be used to tie up anything, make shelter supports, trigger wire, or a fishing line.
Materials used to make cordages should be tough enough to support any load it will be required to but also be flexible enough to twist or manipulate without breaking. Some Hibiscus stems are used to create cordages as they fit these descriptions. Hibiscus tiliaceus is especially used in making tough ropes due to its hardy stem. The stems are cut and the leaves shaved off. Then, they are twisted up to make them tougher.