Hibiscus is a tropical flowering plant. They are usually found in a variety of vibrant shades such as pink, red, yellow, orange, purple or white.
Not only are they a beautiful ornamental flower, you’ll find that hibiscus is also often fashioned into a tea in many cultures, from Jamaica to Africa to India. It can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and may be known to you as roselle tea (red hibiscus tea).
Hibiscus may be a flower but when the dried blossom is steeped in hot water, it tastes tart and fruity and is simply delightful with a little honey or sugar. Dried hibiscus can be added to salads and sauces for flavour and nutrition, and is also a useful source of natural food colouring.
The Flower’s Many Health Benefits
Traditionally, the hibiscus plant is used medicinally as a treatment for respiratory issues and digestive problems. Today, recent research seems to indicate that the flower can potentially help lower blood pressure and LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels. It is often used as a remedy for stomach discomforts such as indigestion and tummy spasms. It also appears to be effective as a laxative as well as a treatment for kidney problems.
The benefits of the hibiscus flower also extend to its many skincare perks, in particular, the anti-ageing ones.
The hibiscus’ many amazing skincare properties have earned it a reputation as plant botox.
It contains naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which delivers the benefits of chemical forms of AHAs without a lot of the harshness. AHAs help skin to retain its youthful radiance by helping to slough off dead skin, regulate sebum production and keep pores clean and clear. Meanwhile, the flower’s anti-inflammatory effects reduce any redness and irritation, making it a truly great option for those with sensitive skin.
Hibiscus is also a significant source of antioxidants called anthocyanocides. These can help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which leads to prematurely ageing skin. The flower also has natural astringent properties that can minimise the appearance of pores, thereby smoothening the complexion. It can also prevent elastin breakdown, keeping your skin firm and toned.
Cleanses and Balances Out Skin Tone
If you are starting to notice some of the issues to do with skin ageing appearing, such as hyperpigmentation, liver spots and melasma, hibiscus may help. The citric acid and malic acid present in the hibiscus plant can help to support the removal of dead skin cells and the generation of new ones, which will no doubt encourage the appearance of a more youthful and glowing complexion.
The organic acids can also potentially keep acne breakouts under control without drying out the skin, which certain products with synthetic versions of these acids may be wont to do. Instead, the natural acids will help to balance out your skin tone.
Hydrates the Skin
Because it is highly viscous, hibiscus is an effective natural humectant and can help skin to retain moisture, retaining that youthful plumpness in a way that is gentle even on sensitive skin. Say hello to skin that looks and feels hydrated and supple, and wave goodbye to dry, dull and wrinkly skin.
While you can find natural and organic products that contain the hibiscus extract, you can also make your own anti-ageing and hydrating face masks at home. Below are a couple of recipes you can try.
Hibiscus and Coconut Mask
To make a hydrating hibiscus face mask, you will first need to boil a hibiscus flower in about two cups of water; allow it reduce to half a cup. Let cool, then add honey and coconut oil, making sure to combine well.
Apply the yummy mixture on your face as well as neck. Make sure to leave it on for about 15 minutes before rinsing it all off with water.
Hibiscus and Brown Rice Mask
This recipe is a little more complicated and involves brown rice flour, yoghurt and aloe vera. The brown rice flour contains selenium, plenty of vitamins and is rich essential fatty acids, all of which help to keep skin calm, moisturised and toned. The aloe vera gel, meanwhile, has healing and soothing effects that can also help fight acne breakouts.
Yoghurt’s lactic acid helps to exfoliate and hydrate, while the zinc calms any redness and helps to lighten blemish scars. It also soaks up excess sebum and helps to achieve toned and tightened skin.
First, mix 1 teaspoon of hibiscus powder with a quarter cup of brown rice flour. You can keep this mixture in an airtight glass container for several weeks.
Scoop two teaspoons into a small bowl and then add organic plain yoghurt and pure aloe vera gel, just enough that it forms a thick paste. Apply the mask all over your face and neck. Allow the mask to dry (which should be around 15 minutes) before washing off with warm water.