THE value of something common is not always recognised.Many of us may not be aware that it has been extensively used in traditional medicine. The leaves and flowers are good for healing ulcers and for promoting the growth and dark colour of hair .The flowers are boiled in coconut or gingelly oil and then applied to the hair. About 10 flowers can be used for about 150-200 ml of oil. The oil will turn a blackish-pink.
Natural dyes are also prepared from extracts of the flower. The leaves and flowers are mucilaginous. They can be ground with soaked fenugreek seeds and applied to the hair for a cooling effect during summer. For a refreshing drink, five flowers are boiled in about three glasses of water, which is then strained and cooled. Sugar, water and ice are added to taste.
Since the flowers have a significant anti-fertility effect, the drink is usually given to those past the child-bearing ages.
Hibiscus is a beautiful and simple plant to grow that it can even be grown in a pot. Its attractive flowers entice insects. This species is now widely cultivated in different colours and forms an ornamental plant.
However, in medicine, the common red flowered variety is preferred.