The hibiscus flower is near and dear to my heart as it is the unofficial national flower of Haiti, the land of my birth.
As a little girl, I remember drinking a tea made from hibiscus, and this wonderful plant also being used in hair pomades by members of my family, which in turn meant I had to use it for my hair. Unfortunately, as with most children, I was completely oblivious to the benefits of this lovely flower. All I simply knew was that I felt drawn to its wonderful shades of whites, yellows, pinks, purples and reds. That little girl had no idea how powerful the hibiscus plant was or how much she would personally rely on it for a variety of reasons both externally and internally as an adult.
When I first decided to write about plants that provide natural benefits to our overall health, hibiscus was the first plant that came to mind. I just knew I had to begin our super plants series with this wonderful flower and besides what would my family say, after all it is our national flower. In Haiti, as well as other nations, hibiscus is known as choeblack (pronounced shoe black) or rose kayenn in Haitian Creole. This wonderful plant got the name Choeblack because historically it was used as a shoe polisher, Go figure!
I am very thankful to have been raised in a traditional Haitian household, where along with my brothers, I was regularly given herbal remedies as a first choice by our mother for physical ailments, and it just so happens that her favourite ingredient, was hibiscus. Our mother used hibiscus as a medicinal refreshing tea which you drank hot or cold. As far as she was concerned It was simple,
“you have a headache? “drink some hibiscus”
“you have a toothache? “drink some hibiscus”
And while you were doing as mother said and drinking this very tart tea, the other adults in the family would always tell you “bon pou tansyon ” which is Haitian Creole for “good for blood pressure”. That was 30 years ago and I can remember back then I had no care to ask what blood pressure was or why this tea was good for it. I just did as I was told.
Today, as an adult on my natural journey, I marvel at the knowledge that was simply passed down from generation to generation, a complete encyclopaedia of natural health remedies. And as I researched further into the benefits of plant based skincare, to my absolute delight I discovered that, not only have scientific studies verified what my family has known for generations, but I discovered that my national flower not only has medicinal benefits but also an array of wonderful benefits for hair and skin, A truly Super Plant.
Hibiscus helps prevent hair loss, is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, natural colourant, high in vitamin C and minerals, high in AHAs and antioxidants which helps exfoliate skin, speed up cell structure and help control breakouts and so much more. It’s no wonder this plant is nicknamed “The Botox plant”.
I recently read an article written in the Journal of King Saud University-Science on the antioxidant and antibacterial activities of hibiscus and Cassia flower extracts. According to their research and experiment, the aqueous extract of hibiscus can be advantageous as they quench free radicals very effectively, is capable to effectively interact and scavenge free radicals. The extracts of hibiscus possessed anti-bacterial activity against various Gram-positive and Gram-negative food-borne bacterial pathogens. This article helped to further my respect and appreciation for the hibiscus plant. I can see so much added benefits for its use in skincare and hair care.
I am extremely grateful to have been introduced to hibiscus as part of my culture and heritage, and I am already passing on the lessons of my childhood, research and studies to my own daughter, nieces and nephews including the potential side effects And yes I also find myself telling the little ones to “drink up, bon pou tansyon ”.
Hibiscus features prominently in various Ekspresyon Naturel products and the flower is at the centre of our EN logo. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we award the Hibiscus Flowering Plant, the ‘Ekspresyon Naturel Super Plant Certificate of Approval’.