Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hibiscus sabdariffa L.

English Name : Roselle, Red sorrel

Family : Malvaceae

Origin : West Africa or the east Indies

An erect annual herb, 0.5—3 m tall, stems glabrous, purplish. Leaves broadly ovate-orbicular, variable, 6—15 cm long, lobes 3—5, oblong to lanceolate, glabrous or pubescent, purplish, petiole 5—10 cm long. Flowers, borne singly in the leaf axils, are up to 5 in (12.5 cm) wide; red calyx, consisting of 5 large sepals with a collar (epicalyx) of 8 to 12 slim, pointed bracts (or bracteoles) around the base, begins to enlarge, becomes fleshy, crisp but juicy, 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 in (3.2-5.7 cm) long and fully encloses the velvety capsule, 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) long, which is green when immature, 5-valved, with each valve containing 3 to 4 kidney-shaped, light-brown seeds, 1/8 to 3/16 in (3-5 mm) long and minutely downy. The capsule turns brown and splits open when mature and dry. Seed reniform, almost glabrous, black brown.

Amongst medium trees, grassland, spinifex grassland; in sand, loam, clay; occupying river levees, cleared agricultural land; growing in disturbed natural vegetation, in undisturbed natural vegetation, on bare areas.

Parts Used : Whole plant, leaf, flower and seed

Herb Effects
Antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, purgative and resolvent (whole plant); emollient, diuretic, refrigerant, antiscorbutic and sedative (decoction of whole plant); emollient (leaves); antiscorbutic (fruits); diuretic, laxative and tonic (seeds).

Active Ingredients
Aspartic acid (plant); acetic acid, anisaldehyde, benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, butyric acid, calcium oxalate, campesterol, caprylic acid, ethanol, formic acid, isoamyl alcohol, methanol, propionic acid (fruit); ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, glycolic acid, malic acid, niacin, oxalic acid, riboflavin, thiamin (flower); anthocyanin, delphinidin, pectin, sucrose (calyx); beta-sitosterol, cholesterol, ergosterol, linoleic acid, myristic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, sterculic acid (seed); tartaric acid (root).

Medicinal Use
Used as a poultice is used on abscesses and ulcers and also as a cough remedy (leaves); reduces blood pressure and stimulates intestinal peristalsis (infusion of leaves); shows diuretic and choleretic effects, decreasing the viscosity of the blood, reducing blood pressure and stimulating intestinal peristalsis (flowers); as a folk remedy in the treatment of abscesses, bilious conditions, cancer, cough, debility, dyspepsia, dysuria, fever, hangover, heart ailments, hypertension, neurosis, scurvy, and strangury.


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