What is hibiscus and what are its beneficial properties

The content of the article

A huge number of wild and cultivated plants, united by external characteristics, belong to the genus hibiscus of the family malvaceae. Among them there are technical and decorative cultures. In life form, these are trees, shrubs, annual and perennial herbaceous plants. The popularity of hibiscus is growing among the florists of the world due to its magnificent flowers. In addition, modern man has learned to use all parts of the plant for his practical activities.

What does hibiscus look like?

By common morphological characteristics, the plants are combined into the genus hibiscus (lat. Hibiscus), although each of them has distinctive features. Most members of the genus are evergreen or leaf-dropping shrubs, but there are also herbaceous plants. The arrangement of leaves on the stem is another. They are dark green oval in shape with serrated edges. Funnel-shaped flowers, large, single, with brightly colored petals and a long pestle.

Hibiscus breeding varieties have semi-double and double flowers. Their color palette is very diverse. Gardeners are growing new subspecies of hibiscus, the flower petals of which are decorated with a contrasting base and edging, colorful spots, dots. The life span of a flower is 1-2 days. The fruit is in the form of a box with five slices filled with a large number of seeds.

Chemical composition

The healing properties of hibiscus flowers were known even to the ancient healers of China, Egypt, India. Later, studies of chemists confirmed the benefits of their use by humans. Scientists have identified the chemical elements of the plant that have beneficial effects on human health:

  • Amino acids. 13 amino acids were determined: malic, tartaric, citric. Of these, 6 are indispensable. They increase immunity, help lower cholesterol, cleanse blood vessels, supply the body with energy.
  • Ascorbic acid improves cell growth, protective functions.
  • Trace elements potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium ensure uninterrupted flow of biochemical processes in the body.
  • Biologically active substances:
  1. flavonoid quercetin (belongs to plant polyphenols) removes toxins, prevents aging;
  2. anthocyanins increase the elasticity of the walls of blood vessels, prevent the deposition of fat in the human body;
  • Vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, PP support the vital functions of the body.
  • Phytosterol reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Natural captopril normalizes metabolic processes.
  • Antioxidants remove toxic substances, promote rejuvenation.
  • Pectin cleanses the intestines from salts of heavy metals.
  • Polysaccharides are natural antibiotics that increase resistance to viruses..

Laboratory Assistant

Where it grows in vivo

It is not known for certain where hibiscus originates from. Its description is found in ancient treatises of Egypt and China. Currently, representatives of the species grow in the tropical climate of America, Africa, Southern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the islands of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The kenaf industrial culture is cultivated in Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Africa, South and Central America..

Varieties and types of hibiscus

The genus Hibiscus includes more than two hundred species and about 5 thousand hybrid varieties. A unique flower, which has not only excellent aesthetic properties, but also a chemical composition useful to humans, is taken as the basis for its breeding. The most common types are:

  • hybrid (Hibiscus hybridus);
  • maple leaf (Hibiscus acetosella);
  • Arnotti (Hibiscus arnottianus);
  • Hawaiian (Hibiscus clayi);
  • splayed (Hibiscus divaricatus);
  • ternary (Hibiscus trionum);
  • Hugel (Hibiscus huegelii);
  • edible, or okra (Hibiscus esculentus);
  • mutable (Hibiscus mutabilis);
  • rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa);
  • Chinese rose;
  • Swamp hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos);
  • kenaf – hemp hibiscus;
  • Syrian

Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

One of the species of Hibiscus is rosella, in another way – the Sudanese rose. This shrub is first seen in India. In vivo reaches a five-meter height. Adapted to the climate of tropical, subtropical latitudes. The name Rosella (Sudanese rose) is less known than Hibiscus – the name of the same name of the world famous drink, which is prepared from the bracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa.

The stems of a Sudanese rose are reddish in color. Rosella has curly dark green leaves that have a vegetable taste. Together with young shoots they are added to salads. The flowers are bright red (sometimes white-colored species are found) with a diameter of 7 cm with a serrated edge of the petals. In addition to the decorative function, they are components for making jam, jams, jellies.

Sudanese rose

Chinese rose

Chinese hibiscus (lat. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is called the Chinese rose. This plant has nothing to do with the pink family. It got this name thanks to the beautiful flowers of bright red color, reaching a diameter of 16 cm. The top of the long pestle is strewn with many yellow stamens. Pushed far beyond the plane of the petals, they give the flower a gentle charm.

Due to its beauty, the hibiscus flower is the national symbol of Malaysia. The Chinese rose is an evergreen shrub up to 3 m high. Its homeland is the south of China. The popularity of this shrub is so great that it is grown far beyond the natural habitat – a hot tropical climate. Gardeners use Hibiscus rosa-sinensis to decorate homes, greenhouses, botanical gardens.

The varieties of Chinese roses are incredibly diverse. Breeders around the world are working on new hybrids. The main task of scientists is to obtain specimens adapted to temperate latitudes, having flowers of a wide range of shades, different shapes and sizes. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis with yellow, pink, burgundy, white, and purple petals has already been obtained. Some varieties of Chinese roses:

  • Acadian Spring – an outstanding delicate creamy flower with a yellowish rim, a pinkish part at the corolla;
  • Acadian Gold – valuable flower whose base has a burgundy petal. Toward the edges, it changes alternately to white, red and yellow;
  • Black Dragon – famous for its burgundy, close to black shade of the flower.
  • Blue Ballerina – has an ash-blue color of the petals;
  • Rose Flake – stands out with motley green-white-pink leaves.

Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

An interesting representative of the genus is the perennial herbaceous hibiscus plant. It got its name due to the fact that it grows in floodplains of rivers, lakes of a hot climate, in wetlands. It forms large thickets on moist, slightly acidic soil. The height of the bush is up to 2.5 m, its diameter is up to 1.5 m. The stems are erect, strong, with simple slightly convex leaves on the petiole. The bottom of the leaf blade is lighter than the top, pubescent with the smallest villi.

The flowers are dish-shaped bright red. Their diameter is 13-18 cm. In shaded places it emits much less buds than in well-lit areas. Cultivated hybrid species are frost-resistant. They are very popular among gardeners in temperate latitudes. Pruning bushes leads to an increase in the flowering period. Although the flower lives one day, due to the abundant flowering, it seems that the bush does not drop flowers for a long time.

Grass hibiscus

Kenaf – Hemp Hibiscus

Among the common species of hibiscus there is a technical culture – kenaf (lat. Hibiscus cannabinus). An annual herbaceous plant impresses with its size. The stem grows up to 5 m, its thickness – up to 3 cm. This species is grown for the sake of the stem. When dry, it contains fiber, which is used to make burlap. The color of the stem is green, purple, red. Seeds contain 20% technical oil. The vegetative period of the plant is 120-140 days.

The leaves of the plant are different than those of its species relatives. Petioles are covered with thorns. The leaves are lanceolate in shape. They are solid and 7-lobed. By the dissection of the leaf, the precocity of the plant is judged: the less they are dissected, the faster the culture becomes ripe. The flower is cream, pale lilac or white. The base of the petals is painted in cherry color..


An interesting view for gardeners is the Syrian hibiscus (lat. Hibiscus syriacus), which perfectly adapted to the temperate climate. In winter, it suffers frost to 25 ° C, blooms from July to September. It differs in that the middle of the flower is necessarily red-burgundy, although the petals of different varieties can be white, pale pink or purple. Hibiscus syriacus is a 2 m tall bush. It can serve as a hedge, as it grows rapidly and lives up to 20 years.

Useful properties of the plant

Since ancient times, man has been using hibiscus. Due to its chemical composition, it has many useful properties:

  • bactericidal – rich in vitamins, it helps the body fight against pathogens;
  • phytoncidic – an indoor plant releases special substances that contribute to the death of microbes in the room;
  • anthelmintic – helps get rid of helminths and other parasites;
  • antispasmodic – relaxes the muscles of the uterus with painful menstruation. relieves spasms of the stomach, intestines;
  • painkiller – roots, leaves and flowers are used by folk medicine to relieve pain;
  • antioxidant – removes harmful compounds and elements from the body;
  • sedative – calms the nervous system;
  • accelerates metabolism, burns fats, which contributes to weight loss;
  • antihypertensive – normalizes blood pressure;
  • tonic – adds energy, improves the general condition of a person;
  • has a diuretic effect – increases diuresis;
  • has a mild laxative effect due to fruit acids;
  • lowers blood lipoproteins (cholesterol);
  • Helps fight alcohol intoxication due to its ability to purify blood.

Girl with a centimeter at the waist

Harm and contraindications

Along with positive properties, the plant can have a negative effect on the body. There are contraindications to its use in:

  • gastric and duodenal ulcer;
  • gastritis with high acidity;
  • exacerbation of gallstone and urolithiasis;
  • the manifestation of allergic reactions;
  • with lactation;
  • under 3 years old;
  • taking contraceptives;
  • with caution during pregnancy.


For many centuries, people have been admiring the beauty of shrubby Hibiscus. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, it has been bred as a houseplant. In addition to excellent decorative properties, people of tropical countries have discovered a number of useful features of each species and successfully apply them in everyday life. Leaves, stems, flowers are used in:

  • culinary – young shoots and leaves are eaten, a drink is made from flowers;
  • traditional medicine – used for the preparation of medicines;
  • cosmetology – creams, extracts and ointments are prepared on its basis;
  • industry – plant parts are used for the production of food colors, preparations for dyeing hair, fabrics and sea cables, technical oil.
  • construction – some African peoples use stems as a building material for roofing houses.

In cooking

The real property of mankind is the healing tea with hibiscus, which the Egyptians called the “drink of the pharaohs.” Today it is known as hibiscus, which is prepared from rosella flowers (Sudanese roses). There are many ways to make this ruby-red drink. Here are some of them:

  • Pour a teaspoon of petals into a cup. Pour boiling water, cover and insist 5-10 minutes. The longer the drink is infused, the more saturated the color and taste. It must be prepared immediately before use.
  • Pour hibiscus into a container at the rate of 1 tbsp. spoon per 0.5 liters of liquid. Pour boiled water at room temperature and leave it under the lid for 8 hours. Use with honey.
  • The broth is prepared in the proportion specified in the previous recipe. Use clay heat-resistant dishes to mix the components, put on a slow fire to simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Egyptian cooking option: 1 tbsp. pour a spoonful of petals with cold water. Soak for two hours, then boil over low heat for 3-5 minutes, strain.

Cup with tea and hibiscus flower

The use of this aromatic drink with a sour taste will relieve a person of thirst in the hot summer and warm in wet cold weather. On the basis of hibiscus, you can make wonderful cool cocktails:

  • Use ceramic dishes. Put a handful of hibiscus, honey, slices of citrus: orange, lemon, grapefruit. Pour boiling water and bring to a boil. Chilled drink.
  • In non-metal heat-resistant dishes, put 1 tbsp. spoonful of hibiscus petals, add a small pinch of cinnamon and vanillin. Enrich the taste, if desired, you can mint, ginger, cloves, etc. Pour 0.5 liters of boiling water and insist under the lid for 20 minutes. Cool, add honey. Add ice before use..

Young shoots and leaves of the Hibiscus shrub are used for salads and main dishes. To taste, they resemble spinach and are not inferior to this vegetable crop in the composition of useful substances. The peoples of Central America from the stems of hibiscus make soup. In some Arab countries, seeds are added to coffee when brewing. They can serve as an alternative to sesame seeds, because they are equally useful. Petals are used for the preparation of desserts and sweet dishes as a natural dye and seasoning. For example, the Chinese bake them in layers in pies.

In cosmetology

Due to the chemical composition, hibiscus is widely used by cosmetologists. Its fruit acids, which are part of the creams made, help to cleanse and narrow the pores of the face, exfoliate dead cells of the epidermis. Proteins and vitamins of the extract from flowers and leaves nourish the skin. Biologically active substances contribute to its rejuvenation. Creams, lotions and tonics based on this plant have a bright anti-inflammatory effect. You can independently prepare a therapeutic cosmetic product:

  • With acne. 1 tbsp. spoon hibiscus pour a glass of boiling water, leave for about an hour, strain. Wipe regularly morning and evening.
  • With oily skin. 1 tbsp. grind a spoonful of oatmeal with a coffee grinder and mix with 2 tbsp. spoons of broth hibiscus. Apply the mask to the face, hold for 15 minutes, rinse with cool water. In the morning and evening, you can wipe oily areas of the face with pieces of ice from a frozen broth.

Sudanese rose essential oil is famous for its ability to rejuvenate and regenerate the skin. Creams and serums based on it support collagen and elastin of the skin. Hibiscus is used to make hair care products. Its extract is part of shampoos, balms, rinses and masks. Knowing the beneficial properties of this plant, you can prepare a mask for damaged hair at home. To do this, you must:

  • Finely chop 7 leaves and 7 flowers of Chinese rose in a blender until smooth.
  • Heat half a cup of coconut oil in a pan and add the resulting slurry from the leaves and flowers of the plant. Boil over low heat for several minutes. Let it cool.
  • Rub the resulting product into the scalp, while massaging it. Then apply the mixture over the entire length of the hair. Wrap the head with plastic wrap and tie a scarf or put on a hat for 30 minutes.
  • Wash off with warm water and shampoo..
  • Repeat the procedure 2-3 times a week.

Syrian Rose Essential Oil

Hibiscus plant in folk medicine

Traditional healers have long been aware of the healing properties of hibiscus. Hibiscus cure is an effective anti-inflammatory drug. It is used for prophylaxis against viral infections. A decoction of flowers helps fight colds, inflammation of the nasopharynx and respiratory tract, due to the high content of vitamin C. Tincture from the leaves helps to get rid of cough as a softening agent that removes sputum from the bronchi.

The well-being and appetite of the person weakened by the disease improves, because the drink has a tonic property. It stimulates the production of gastric juice, digestion normalizes. Digestion of food is accelerated, preventing its stagnation. The bactericidal property of hibiscus helps even in the fight against dysentery. The drink has a light, choleretic, laxative, diuretic property, so it is an excellent therapeutic tool for people with digestive problems.

A decoction of Sudanese roses has a positive effect on people of all age categories, but a child under 3 years old is forbidden to give it. For babies, it is a strong natural stimulant that excites the nervous system and increases diuresis. The experience of traditional healers proves that hibiscus helps in overcoming female and male infertility. In combination with chemical therapy, this tea is recommended for hemorrhoids, furunculosis, intestinal parasites, heart diseases, etc..

It has been verified that if you drink cold hibiscus, blood pressure decreases. A hot drink has the opposite effect. It’s worth taking note of people with hypertension. Rosella broth relieves nervous tension, saves from insomnia. Herbalists use Sudanese rose extract for ointments against eczema and other skin diseases.

In the textile industry

Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) is used in the modern textile industry. Dry plant stems contain up to 20% natural fiber. It is cultivated in India, China, Brazil, the USA for the production of technical fabrics and marine ropes. In some areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, recently began to cultivate this spinning culture.

Outdoor care and cultivation

From Asia, hibiscus is rapidly moving west into the gardens and homes of people who have appreciated the magnificent decorative qualities of this flowering shrub. Hybrids of culture are becoming increasingly resilient to the nature of temperate latitudes. The Chinese rose feels great in the open ground of the subtropical climate of the Crimean peninsula, in the south of France, Germany, Spain.

Hibiscus bush

Planting a plant

Hibiscus is an unpretentious shrub in care. Being thermophilic, it feels comfortable at a temperature of 25-30 ° C. For planting, you need to choose a well-lit place without drafts. In the shade, the bushes can grow, but will bloom sparsely. The soil should be light so that water and air freely penetrate into it. Landing is done in late spring, when the soil warms up well..

First, prepare a pit with a depth two times the length of the root system of the seedling. They lay a 15 cm drainage layer of broken brick or pebbles, fill it with sand 10 cm thick. The next layer is compost (15 cm humus). On top of it is sandy (10 cm). Then a mixture is prepared in a ratio of 2: 4: 1 from soil, peat and sand, adding superphosphate and a handful of bone meal to it. The soil is taken from the site on which the bush will be planted. The seedling is placed in a pit and covered with the prepared mixture so that the neck of the root is only slightly sprinkled with earth..

Looking after a Chinese rose is not difficult. The main condition is loose soil around the bush. It is necessary to water it regularly and, if possible, spray it. In spring and summer, during the period of active growth and flowering, it is advisable to feed with nitrogen-containing mineral fertilizers. Yellowing of foliage may indicate that the irrigation mode is incorrectly selected or the air temperature is not suitable for the plant.

Propagation by seeds and cuttings

To propagate the Chinese rose, cuttings are cut in summer from the tops of young growth of 15 cm long in the summer. 500 ml plastic cups are filled with a mixture of soil in the proportion indicated above. Put the cuttings in them, water them abundantly and cover with plastic bags (to create the necessary air humidity). The optimum temperature is 24 ° C. After 4 weeks, the cuttings will take root.

Hibiscus can be propagated in another way. In mid-January, seeds of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are sown in a soil composed of sand and peat. Before landing, they must be soaked for 12 hours. The optimum temperature for seed germination is 25-27 degrees. Leaving consists in constant airing and spraying of soil. After the appearance of sprouts with three leaves, they can be transplanted into pots of the appropriate size. A plant propagated by seeds will begin to bloom only after 3-4 years.

Propagation by cuttings at home

How to grow hibiscus at home

The method described above can be obtained hibiscus sprout. When the stem has taken root, it is transplanted into a pot with a diameter of 10 cm. You can buy a special soil mixture in a store or make it yourself from turf soil, humus and sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 1. Transplant into a large container should be in the spring. When the plant reaches 1 m in height, it can be transplanted into an outdoor tub. Chinese rose will bloom from March to October.

For annual flowering indoor plants in the winter, it is necessary to provide a dormant period. To do this, it is better to transfer it to a room with less lighting and a temperature of not more than 18 ° C. It is necessary to reduce watering to once every 5 days. At the end of February, return the plant to a warm, well-lit place, water it daily. In March, when the first flowers appear, it is necessary to start fertilizing the plant with mineral fertilizers (Kemira Lux, Flower happiness) once a month.

The Chinese rose is resistant to various diseases. All her illnesses are associated with improper conditions of detention. Of the pests, the spider mite annoys the plant more often. To prevent infection with this parasite, it is necessary to regularly clean the dust from the leaves and occasionally spray them with water. In the spring, some branches of 10 cm are cut off to an adult bush so that it is lush and starts to sprout new ones.

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