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Hibiscus HIBISCUS  
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Botanical: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Family: Malvaceae (mallow/hibiscus)
Other common names: China Rose, Rose of China, Shoe Flower, Chinese Hibiscus, Hawaiian Hibiscus, Rose Mallow, Jamaica Sorrel, Sudanese Tea, Red Sorrel, Japakusuma

Call it Flower Power!  Glorious Hibiscus is in the news for its promising use in lowering cholesterol in the blood.  Long used as a a digestive aid and pleasant-tasting herbal tea to soothe the stomach, new laboratory tests have shown exciting results for good heart health  by lowering blood pressure and helping to reduce total cholesterol levels in the blood.

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Hibiscus belongs to a family that contains no less than three hundred different species throughout the world.  The brilliantly flowering herbaceous plant is native to Asia, but grows as an annual in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world, with many other species able to survive as a perennial in colder climates.  It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that rises from four to fifteen feet in cultivation, but can reach thirty feet in the wild, where it may be found in fields, on roadsides and in waste places, thriving in well-drained soil in full sun. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate-to-lanceolate, often with a toothed or lobed margin. The plant flowers throughout the year and is widely cultivated as an ornamental shrub for its exceptional beauty and brilliant, large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped blooms of scarlet, orange, pink, white, purple or yellow.  Its beauty is so magnificent that several species are counted among official regional flowers: The Hibiscus syriacus  ("Rose of Althea") is the national flower of South Korea, while Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (called Bunga Raya or the "China Rose") is the national flower of Malaysia, and the Hibiscus brackenridgei  is the official flower of the territory of Puerto Rico and also the state flower of Hawaii (called ma‘o hau hele).  More importantly, however, this cooling, astringent flower is also highly praised for its medicinal value (which appears to be growing every day).  It is also used commercially in various parts of the world as a source of fiber; a black dye for shoes, hair and mascara; and as an ingredient in curries, chutneys, sauces and herbal teas.  Hibiscus was introduced to Jamaica in the eighteenth century and reached Europe in the late nineteenth century (as Sudanese Tea) but was initially unpopular due to its blood red color. Today, it is utilized to color and flavor most fruit-based herb teas, and the flower is used in herbal medicine.   But the best news is that Hibiscus shows great promise in the area of good heart health. The flowers contain substantial quantities of flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, which are associated with antioxidant, fever-reducing (antipyretic), pain-relieving (analgesic) and spasm-inhibiting (spasmolytic) activities.  Other ingredients include polysaccharides and a high (15-to 30%) of simple organic acids such as citric and malic acids.

Beneficial Uses:
Hibiscus has been used for a long time as an ingredient in herbal teas as a coloring agent, but more importantly as an aid to good digestion.  It is said to soothe mucous membranes, including those that line the digestive tract to calm the stomach and ease indigestion. Hibiscus is also believed to invigorate and stimulate the appetite.

Interesting laboratory tests have shown positive results in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol in the blood.  Preliminary tests have demonstrated that total cholesterol was reduced and especially the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in high fat diets.  Scientists think Hibiscus may inhibit the binding of cholesterol to artery walls, preventing the build-up of cholesterol that can cause blockage and heart disease. These are early results, but it looks as if Hibiscus just may be added to the list of heart-friendly foods.

Hibiscus is believed to have antibacterial properties that may be very helpful in treating feverish illnesses, cystitis and venereal disease.

In Central America and the Caribbean regions, Hibiscus has been used for many years to promote hair growth.

Hibiscus is used to soothe irritated tissues and the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract, which eases hacking coughs and other respiratory ailments.

As an astringent, Hibiscus is thought to check bleeding.  It has been used in Asia for years to regulate menstrual flow and stanch excessive menstruation.  Its soothing properties are used to relieve menstrual cramps and relax spasms and general cramping.

Hibiscus shows great promise in the area of diabetic care.  The herb is a traditional remedy in India for diabetes, and according to recent “Health and Wellness” information published by Blue Shield of California, this traditional use is now supported by preliminary studies from that country and also by animal and laboratory studies.  Hibiscus shows particular potential in the treatment of Type-I diabetes (also known as childhood-onset diabetes).  Traditionally, Hibiscus has usually been taken as tea, one to two teaspoons of the dried flower infused into one cup of water, three times per day.

Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Hibiscus Herbal Supplement.

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