Uses for the Hibiscus Plant

Hibiscus is a well-known flowering plant that is part of the Malvaceae family. They are big plants that originate in tropical, subtropical temperate and warm regions throughout the world. The flowers of the plant are both massive and fragile, with a diverse array of color options. Bicolored hibiscus flowers also exist, as do flowers that have striking dark veins. There are various uses for the hibiscus plant.

Medicinal Uses

Many parts of the hibiscus plant have medicinal uses. The leaves are an emollient, and are frequently used in the West African nation of Guinea as a sedative, diuretic and refrigerant. Seeds, leaves and ripe calyces of the hibiscus plant have antiscorbutic and diuretic properties. In the Philippines, the bitter root of the hibiscus serves as a tonic and aperitive. In Angola, the leaves function as an emollient to relieve coughing. Extract of the flowers is used to treat hypertension and liver conditions.

Other Medical Conditions

Other medical conditions that, throughout history and in the modern day, have been treated by parts of the hibiscus plant include influenza, fever, bladder infection, strangury, dysuria, cancer, headache, abscesses, cystitis, scurvy, neurosis, heart conditions and dyspepsia.


Hibiscus plants are also very popular for ornamental purposes, with many different varieties being cultivated to display their attractive flowers. Hibiscus plants are also frequently planted as landscape shrubs.


Hibiscus flowers have long been a popular component for tea, going all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Hibiscus tea is entirely free of caffeine, and has a relaxing and sweet aroma. The tea is rich in vitamin C, and also offers health benefits, as it can decrease levels of bad cholesterol and also decrease risk for heart disease. It is also often consumed to assist with weight loss.

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About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.