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What Are the Uses of Hibiscus Leaves?

The hibiscus plant is a favorite of gardeners and horticulturalists.
Mascara often contains hibiscus leaves.
Hibiscus leaves may be used to create shoe polish.
Hibiscus leaves are used as a blackening agent found in mascara.
Hibiscus leaves can be made into tea.
Hibiscus leaves may be useful in treating dandruff.
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  • Written By: Valerie Clark
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2014
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While gardeners and horticulturists are drawn to the hibiscus plant in large part because of its large, brightly colored flowers, the petals and leaves have been used in a wide range of uses all over the globe. Hibiscus leaves have been used for cosmetics and alternative medicines, just to name a few. There are more than 250 varieties of hibiscus, and it is essential to identify the species that are safe for consumption and human use. Hibiscus should not be used as any sort of home remedy without first consulting a healthcare professional or skilled herbalist.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, otherwise known as the Chinese hibiscus, is a popular species that is used in cosmetics. Hibiscus sabdariffa and Hibiscus syriacus, also known as roselle and the Rose of Sharon, respectively, are commonly used in herbal teas and medicines. The plant is an evergreen ornamental shrub that produces large, bell-shaped flowers with bright green, oval leaves. The overall plant size can be from 5 to 8 feet tall (1.5 to 2.5 meters).

In addition to the leaves, hibiscus petals have been used to create all natural cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners. Hibiscus leaves have a blackening characteristic that is sometimes used to make black dyes for products such as mascara and shoe polish. Mild shampoos and conditioners made with the leaves are said to be effective for softening the scalp and hair. Baby shampoos and healing lotions also may contain them.

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Hibiscus leaves also are used as hair oil for the treatment of dandruff. Homemade hibiscus hair oil is made with thick, juicy, sticky leaves and a few flower petals. They are crushed and ground with a mortar and pestle and combined with coconut oil or herbal oil. These hair oil treatments are said to lead to longer, silkier tresses.

In terms of health benefits, the hibiscus plant has been recognized for several therapeutic and medicinal qualities. It is said to treat hair loss and some diseases, such as tuberculosis. It also is said to reduce labor pains and menstrual cramps, though hibiscus leaves are used in the Philippines and Cook Islands for their ability to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and/or induce abortion.

Originating in Eastern India, tropical hibiscus has become one of the most popular tropical flowering bushes in the world. Plant care is simple, with a few exceptions for those who are growing it in colder climates. In colder regions, the plant must be brought indoors during winter months. Hibiscus will thrive on pruning, although it is not required. If flowering does not occur, some pruning may help stimulate flower production.

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Discuss this Article

anon336100
Post 9

What is the best preservative to prolong the life of natural hibiscus leaf juice?

anon324199
Post 7

Should one drink hibiscus leaf juice for menstrual cramps or just rub it on? Also, my hibiscus leaves are red - does that make a difference?

anon316149
Post 5

The hibiscus leaf shows up on the ingredient labels of a variety of products. It is designed to make your hair grow thicker and faster, and it works. I rub the oil treatment on my scalp, and it provides so much moisture. I think my dandruff is largely caused by a dry scalp, and that is why hibiscus does so well at treating it.

lighth0se33
Post 4

The hibiscus leaf shows up on the ingredient labels of a variety of products. I bought some peach blackberry tea bags awhile back, and I was puzzled to see hibiscus leaves on the ingredient list.

Also, my shampoo contains hibiscus leaves. It is designed to make your hair grow thicker and faster, and it works. I stopped losing so much hair in the shower, and my hair has grown so much faster than it used to grow.

feasting
Post 3

@Kristee – If your hibiscus gets yellow leaves in the summer, it means that the plant either isn't getting enough water, or it is getting too much water. However, if the leaves are turning yellow in the fall, it just means the plant is about to go dormant.

I like making a dandruff treatment from my hibiscus leaves. A couple of years ago, we had an extremely hot summer and no rain for months, and my hibiscus leaves turned yellow and dropped off the bushes. However, I was able to save them by using a drip hose daily.

I rub the oil treatment on my scalp, and it provides so much moisture. I think my dandruff is largely caused by a dry scalp, and that is why hibiscus does so well at treating it.

cloudel
Post 1

I had no idea that there were so many uses for hibiscus leaves. I have a couple of large hibiscus plants in my yard that produce big pink blooms the size of a saucer!

The leaves look like they belong on some type of weed I would find growing out in the pasture. They definitely don't look like anything special, and if I hadn't planted the hibiscus bushes myself, I probably would have mistaken them for weeds and cut them down before they had a chance to bloom.

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