The Hibiscus genus contains several species, many of which have been used medicinally. For instance, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been documented in the ancient Indian scriptures. Hibiscus sabdariffa has been used as a folk medicine in Canada, and appears promising in treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). Hibiscus cannabinus has been studied to treat head lice, although there is currently insufficient available evidence in this area.
Hibiscus sabdariffa and compounds isolated from it (for example, anthocyanins and hibiscus protocatechuic acid) are likely candidates for future studies. There is limited reported safety data about hibiscus, although it is popularly used as a tea.
Based on ethnobotanical study, Hibiscus tiliaceus has been used throughout the Vanuatu archipelago to speed childbirth. Hibiscus sabdariffa L., has been used as a folk medicine in Canada. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been documented to have been used for several ailments in the ancient Indian scriptures.
Ambary plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), burao (Hibiscus tiliaceus), chemparathampoo, erragogu, esculetin, gogu (Hibiscus cannabinus), Hibiscus protocatechuic acid (PCA), Hibiscus mutabilis, Hibiscus rosasinensis, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Hibiscus syriacus, Hibiscus taiwanensis, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Jamaican red sorrel, Karkadi, karkada, karkade (Arabic), kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), Malvaceae (family), red sorrel (English), roselle (English), sour tea, tellagogu, zobo drink.
Note: This monograph does not include okra (Abelmoschus esculentus, formerly classified as Hibiscus esculentus) or Norfolk Island hibiscus (Lagunaria patersonii).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
High blood pressure
Extracts of hibiscus may lower the systolic and diastolic pressure. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results, although the use of hibiscus for lowering blood pressure looks promising.
Currently, there is limited available evidence evaluating the effects of hibiscus for the treatment of lice. Additional study is warranted in this area.