Hibiscus is stunning. There are no qualms about that as it has long been a favourite ornamental plant. Few plants can rival its stunning beauty and bright colours when in bloom. Exotic vibrant trumpet shaped flowers in rich hues of red, pale yellow, orange, purple, blue and pink. But the plant can do a lot more than just look good.
Hibiscus has long been used as an ingredient in herbal teas and medicines. The flowers are used to make a popular drink in Egypt called “karkade,” while other parts of the plant are used to make jams, spices, soups, and sauces. Traditionally, hibiscus was used as medicine to help with loss of appetite as well as colds. What is exciting about this exotic plant and its ingredients used in our products, is that it has exciting benefits to the skin.
It's not only beautiful, but it's known for helping to lift and firm the appearance of skin – the “botox” effect, giving the skin radiance
a little bit about the ingredient itself
Hibiscus is a species of annual and perennial flowering plants, shrubs and deciduous and evergreen trees and is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, with several hundred species native to warm, tropical regions such as west africa. Hibiscus is also called affectionately called rose mallow. Flowers are large and trumpet shaped, with five or more petals. Colours include white, pink, red, orange, purple, or yellow. The extract is most often taken from the red flowers, also known as roselle, karkade, jelly okra, Java jute, Jamaican sorrel and Florida cranberry.
Many cultures enjoy hibiscus tea, made from the flowers and served both hot and cold. In addition to Egypt, West Africa, Mexico, India, and Brazil enjoy the tangy flavour of hibiscus tea, which is also a favourite in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands.
Dried hibiscus is edible, and may be used in salads, as a vegetable or flavouring, or as a delicacy. Certain species are also used as a natural source of food colouring.
According to Natural Medicine's Comprehensive Database, "The applicable part of hibiscus is the flower, calyx or sepal, leaves, stems, and seeds. Sepal extracts contain significant amounts of vitamin C, anthocyanins, and polyphenols. The sepal also contains the highest concentration of water-soluble antioxidants."
They go on to state that the seed and leaf of hibiscus also contain significant amounts of vitamin E and that hibiscus seeds contain the highest concentration of lipid soluble antioxidants.
internal health benefits of hibiscus
Traditionally, hibiscus was used for treating loss of appetite, colds, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling, stomach irritation, as a laxative, used as a diuretic and also used to lower blood pressure.
More recent studies have suggested that hibiscus could have application in some of today’s health problems. Animal studies suggest it may help lower blood pressure. Quality human studies are still needed, but small human trials have also shown the plant’s potential in lowering blood pressure.
Hibiscus also has antioxidants similar to those found in bilberry, cranberry, and red wine. More research is needed, but these may prove effective in other health applications, such as helping to protect against disease. Already the extract has shown some potential in reducing bad cholesterol.
The tea is also used today to relieve problems with indigestion, to treat urinary tract infections, and to relieve kidney ailments. The fruit acids in hibiscus are thought to work as a laxative, where other compounds in the plant may soothe stomach spasms.
benefits to the skin
Hibiscus has a sort of magical reputation in skin care because it is a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Chemical forms of these acids can be overly harsh and damaging to the skin, but natural sources such as those in hibiscus can help provide the same benefits without the harsh drawbacks. AHAs are known to help exfoliate, control oily skin and clogged pores, all of which can encourage fresher, younger, and smoother looking skin. They also increase moisture and firm your skin's look. The natural acids present in Hibiscus help to purify your skin by breaking down dead skin and increasing cell turnover, they can even help to control acne breakouts. Unlike harsh synthetic forms of these acids which can strip your skin of its natural oils, the organic acids from Hibiscus bring your skin back in balance for a naturally gorgeous, glowing complexion.
Hibiscus evens skin tone. One of the visible signs of skin ageing is the appearance of hyperpigmentation or age spots. Age spots can occur due to ultraviolet radiation exposure, excess melanin production and genetics. Due to the slightly exfoliating effect of the organic acids found in the plant, including citric acid and malic acid, Hibiscus helps to speed up cell turnover, resulting in a more even looking skin tone.
So what makes this a “botox” plant? What helps give radiant skin?
Hibiscus is deservedly one of the most powerful anti-ageing plant actives; hibiscus is known to increase skin elasticity to give a stunning natural youth-boost. With the incredible ability to inhibit the activity of the enzyme elastase, which is responsible for breaking down our skin’s precious elastin, hibiscus actively combats the ageing process by firming and lifting your skin
Then there is the fact hibiscus is rich in antioxidants – anthocyanocides in particular. Antioxidants are proven to help fight skin damaging free radicals which spawn when pollutants such as ultraviolet radiation and traffic pollution make contact with the skin, and can result in premature skin ageing. Hibiscus therefore protect the skin from these environmental stressors. Anthocyanocides also have slightly astringent properties, helping to reduce the appearance of large pores for a smoother complexion. In effect, helping pores appear smaller. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect and can help to soothe inflamed skin, making hibiscus suitable for those prone to very sensitive skin.
Lastly, hibiscus has a naturally high mucilage content, a sticky substance produced by plants that help with the storage of water and food. This high mucilage content makes for a great natural skin moisturiser that is gentle on sensitive skin. This high mucilage content of hibiscus also enhances the skin’s ability to retain moisture, which is a key factor in retaining a youthful complexion. The naturally moisture rich qualities of hibiscus helps skin stay hydrated, soft and supple for longer, keeping dry, dull skin at bay.
Combine all these plant properties together, and you have a super powerhouse of ingredients that is wonderfully anti-ageing and with regular use, helps skin appear more supple and flawless. There is the plus point that it has a wonderful, natural sweet smelling scent.
With powerhouse ingredients like this one, why would you ever want to use harsh chemicals?
With ingredients from the hibiscus flowers working on so many levels in your skin, you're sure to see amazing results with regular use. You will find hibiscus used in all our Purity products – these are highly moisturising and have anti-ageing benefits too.
DO YOU GROW HIBISCUS FLOWERS WHERE YOU LIVE? HOW DO YOU USE THE PLANT? WHAT ARE YOUR EXPERIENCES?
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“Hibiscus,” Aurorahealthcare.org, http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/yourhealth/healthgate/getcontent.asp?URLhealthgate=%22108309.html%22.