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Herbs and Aroma

Alternative Medicine

Aroma Therapy


Hibiscus plant is one of the most famous plants of the enchanting city of Aswan.

Aswan is in Upper Egypt and is also famous for its marvelous sight-seeing tours and monuments.

The botanical name of this plant is Hibiscus Sabdariffa. Its common name is Roselle. Hibiscus plant has many varieties and is planted world-wide. There are over 100 cultivars or seed varieties of Hibiscus sabdariffa. The major commercial varieties are those grown in China, Thailand, Mexico and Africa, principally Sudan, Senegal and Mali and Egypt.

Its Arabic name is Karkade, which is exactly like the German name. It has many medicinal uses, together with the most appealing flavor as an herbal tea.

Hibiscus is a lovely annual flower with beautiful red flowers, commonly grown in flower gardens or indoor pots.

 The flowers are not just for scenic pleasure, but have amazing flavoring qualities. In Africa, Karkade is the name given to a delicious hibiscus punch. It is also a great contribution to the popular rosehip tea giving it a lemony flavor and lovely red color.




Hibiscus Flower


Hibiscus sabdariffa is a member of the Malvaceae family. It is an annual herb that grows to 6 feet or more, stems are glabrous; lower leaves are ovate with the upper leaves being 3-5 palmately lobed. The flowers are axillary or in terminal racemes, the petals are white (or pink) with a reddish center at the base of the staminal column, the calyx enlargens at maturity and the fruit is fleshy and bright red. Its flowers are also light yellow, sometimes with pink, and a dark red eye, and they open, after growing through long, hot summers, when the days become shorter. The calyx becomes fleshy and enlarged creating a bright red, acid fruit of 1 ¼ inches. Hibiscus sabdariffa is very sensitive to changes in the length of day..

Sometimes, Roselle and an entirely different species, Hibiscus acetosella (Red Leaf Hibiscus, False Roselle, etc.), are mistaken for each other. Propagation is through its light brown, kidney-shaped seeds in the spring.

Most of the plant is used for different things.

The calyces are used to make cold and hot beverages in many of the world's tropical and subtropical countries. In China the seeds are used for their oil and the plant is used for medicinal properties.

The aroma and taste of Hibiscus is slightly of berry-like aroma. It has a well balanced, tart and astringent flavor.

Medicinally, leaves are emollient, and are much used in Guinea as a diuretic, refrigerant, and sedative; fruits are antiscorbutic; leaves, seeds, and ripe calyces are diuretic and antiscorbutic; and the succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in bilious attacks; the leaves and powdered seeds are eaten in West Africa. Philippines use the bitter root as an aperitive and tonic. Angolans use the mucilaginous leaves as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy.

 Hibiscus flower extract has been used in many folk remedies for liver disorders and high blood pressure.   

The constituents of the flowers contain gossypetin, anthocyanin, and glucoside hibiscin, which may have diuretic and choleretic effects, decreasing the viscosity of the blood, reducing blood pressure and stimulating intestinal peristalsis. Karkade (dried-flowers minus-ovary) contains 13% of a mixture of citric and malic acid, two anthocyanins gossipetin (hydroxyflavone) and hibiscin, and 0.004–0.005% ascorbic acid. Petals yield the flavonal glucoside hibiscritin, which yields a crystalline aglycone—hibiscetin .Flowers contain phytosterols.

 The dried flower contains hibiscic acid .Root contains saponins and tartaric acid. Aspartic acid is the most common amino acid. Dried fruits also contain vitamin C and Ca oxalate; dry petals contain flavonol glucoside hibiscitrin.

 It is thought that the antioxidant chemicals, such as flavonoids, polyphenolics and anthocyanins, contained in the flower play a large role in preventing the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (the “bad cholesterol”). This oxidation is what contributes to atherosclerosis, the build up of a waxy plaque on the walls of arteries.



Hibiscus has many medicinal uses, of which some are still under research as researchers are learning everyday more and more of its use.

It also serves as a very delicious beverage which is refreshing and beneficial.

The medicinal uses of Hibiscus were known from a long time ago. It has a major diuretic effect. Many Egyptian now use it to lower their blood pressure, an idea maybe taken from folk medicine.


It act as an antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, diuretic, emollient, purgative, refrigerant, resolvent, sedative, stomachic, and tonic.

 Roselle is a folk remedy for abscesses, bilious conditions, cancer, cough, debility, dyspepsia, dysuria, fever, hangover, heart ailments, hypertension, neurosis, scurvy, and strangury.

Researchers now are doing studies to see if Hibiscus is indeed active in lowering blood cholesterol levels. This could be due to the high antioxidant content contained in the hibiscus extract that contributes to lowering low density lipoprotein levels in the blood.

Hibiscus Flower

Culinary uses 

Roselle's fruity flesh and cranberry-tasting juice produce a variety of different foods, including health foods, sauces, jellies, iced drinks, and herb teas.

Hibiscus is a source of a red beverage known as Karkade (jamaica in Mexico), which is said to contain citric acid and salts, serving as a diuretic.

Karkade is used in jams, jellies, sauces, syrup, gelatin, refreshing beverages, pudding, and cakes, and dried roselle is used for tea, jelly, marmalade, ices, ice-cream, sherbets, butter, pies, sauces, tarts, and other desserts.


Tender leaves and stalks are eaten as salad and as a pot-herb and are used for seasoning curries. Seeds have been used as an aphrodisiac coffee substitute. Fruits are edible.

Roselle is cultivated primarily for the bast fiber obtained from the stems. The fiber strands, up to 1.5 m long, are used for cordage.

Hibiscus is also used in soap making and bath tea bags.

hibiscus calyceas. dried hibiscus flower


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