Hibiscus: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Hibiscus: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Hibiscus is native to Angola but is now cultivated in tropical areas worldwide. The medicinally used hibiscus flowers come mainly from North Africa (Sudan and Egypt) and smaller amounts from Mexico, India, China, and Thailand.

Hibiscus flowers as medicine

The hibiscus blossoms (Hibisci flos), which are harvested and dried during the fruiting season, are used in herbal medicine. The calyxes are offered whole or cut.


Hibiscus: Special features

Hibiscus is an annual herbaceous plant up to 4 m tall with lobed leaves. The primarily yellow flowers have a five-lobed inner calyx and a columnar outer calyx. After fading, the flowers enter the harvest stage; they are fleshy and red.

The inner calyx of the flowers is usually about 2-3 cm in size and divided into five long, pointed lobes. The outer calyx consists of 6-15 mm long leaflets firmly attached to the base of the calyx. Both calyxes are light red to dark violet, and the colour at the base of the inside is slightly lighter.

Smell and taste of hibiscus

The flowers give off a peculiar smell. The taste of hibiscus flowers is sour.

Hibiscus – application

Hibiscus flowers are used only in folk medicine. The therapeutic use cannot be endorsed due to a lack of studies and evidence of effectiveness. Hibiscus blossoms were, therefore, also rated negatively by Commission E. However, using hibiscus blossoms as a fining drug and taste correction is possible without hesitation.

Folk medicinal use of hibiscus

Hibiscus flowers are used in folk medicine for a wide range of ailments. The plant is used, among other things, to treat loss of appetite, colds, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract and the stomach (catarrh), circulatory disorders and circulatory problems. The flowers are also used as a diuretic and expectorant.

Hibiscus blossoms have a slightly laxative effect in large quantities due to the fruit acids they contain. The flowers are also included in various ointments and decoctions to treat allergic inflammatory reactions and other skin ailments. The drug is considered an antispasmodic, antibacterial, cholagogue and diuretic in African folk medicine.

Aqueous flower extracts also lower blood pressure and relax the uterine muscles. In addition to their therapeutic use, hibiscus blossoms are primarily used as a sour, caffeine-free soft drink.


Hibiscus flowers in homoeopathy

Hibiscus flowers are not used in homoeopathy.

Ingredients of Hibiscus

The main components of hibiscus blossoms are various fruit acids, including hibiscus acid, which is characteristic of the plant, as well as malic, tartaric, citric acid and vitamin C. The red colour of the flowers is due to the anthocyanin content. Aqueous extracts contain up to 15% mucilage polysaccharides and around 2% pectins.


Hibiscus: indications

Hibiscus (folk medicine only) is used in the following cases:

  • loss of appetite
  • a cold
  • catarrh
  • circulatory problems
  • circulatory disorders
  • Skin conduction
  • as a laxative

Hibiscus – dosage

Hibiscus blossoms are usually only used in tea or other drinks. Due to their sour taste and red colour, they are often found in fruit teas and soft drinks, for example.

Since there is insufficient clinical data on hibiscus flowers, an approved finished medicinal product with a defined indication on the market is needed.

Hibiscus: In what dose?

It is not possible to recommend a daily dose.


Hibiscus – Preparation as a tea

To make a tea from hibiscus flowers, pour boiling water over 1.5 g of the finely chopped leaves (1 teaspoon is about 2.5 g). After 5-10 minutes, you can put the whole thing through a tea strainer. The tea can be drunk five to ten times a day.

What is to be considered?

There are no known side effects or interactions with other agents or contraindications when using hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus flowers should be stored dry and protected from light.

Hibiscus – Synonyms

German plant name: Hibiscus

German synonyms of the plant: Hibiscus, African Mallow, Red Mallow, African Marshmallow, Sabdariffa Marshmallow, Karkade, Hibiscus Tea, Hibiscus Tea, Karkade Tea, Nubia Flower Tea, Mallow Tea, Rosella, Roselle, Rama, Rossela Hemp

Latin plant name: Hibiscus sabdariffa L.

German drug name: hibiscus flowers

Latin drug name: Hibiscus sabdariffa flower

Latin synonyms of the drug: Hibiscus flower

English name: Hibiscus, Florida cranberry, Guinea sorrel, Indian sorrel, Jamaica sorrel, Red sorrel, Jamaica tea flower, Pink lemonade flower, Karkadé, Nubia tea, Roselle, Sour-sour

Plant family Latin: Malvaceae

Plant family German: mallow family


Hibiscus – effect

 The sugars and acids it contains are responsible for the refreshing taste of hibiscus. A slight immunomodulating effect is probably due to the polysaccharides. One explanation for the laxative effect could lie in the fruit acids. These are not resorbed in the intestine, i.e. not absorbed into the bloodstream, and thus lead to increased water accumulation in the intestine.

Hibiscus: side effects

There are no known side effects or interactions with other agents or contraindications when using hibiscus flowers.



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