Hibiscus is an edible flower from the family Malvaceae or Mallows. Another common name for hibiscus is Rose Mallow. There are over 200 know species of hibiscus with more than 2000 hybrid species. The hibiscus species used for hair is either Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis found in China, India and their environs or Hibiscus Sabdariffa prevalent in North Africa, Thailand, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
In Ayurveda hibiscus is known as Jaswand or Jabakusum depending on specific towns. Hibiscus is commonly consumed as a tea for a plethora of conditions. It’s gentle laxative and a diuretic that increase urine output. It is also believed to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure. Hibiscus is classified as an emmenagogue, or stimulant for menstruation. As with most herbs, pregnant women or those trying to conceive are advise against consuming hibiscus tea as it could cause miscarriage.
COOL FACTS ABOUT HIBISCUS:
- The hibiscus flower becomes darker as the plant ages
- Hibiscus flower is the national flower of Malaysia
- Hibiscus Rosa Sinesis is the state flower of Hawaii
- Hibiscus Syriacus is the national flower of South Korea
Even though there aren’t any scientific studies on hibiscus for hair, cultures have been using it for millennia and some of the benefits include:
- Encourages hair growth by stimulating circulation
- Discourages split ends
- Prevents pre-mature greying of the hair strands
- Thickens hair
- A mild cleanser that helps with toxin elimination
- A great hair color for natural hair especially in combination with henna
- Thick grainy consistency is difficult to work with (this would explain why most recipes call for a blend with henna, amla or cassia)
- Like Brahmi, hibiscus on it’s own has zero clinging capabilties. It was fairly good on the roots but a complete fail on the strands
- The deep red/burgundy color will stain walls and floor. Lining your bathroom and immediate cleanup is definitely recommended
- There were some tiny specs of residue after rinsing but nothing to be concerned about
- Hibiscus gave my curls some definition
- Post-rinsed hair felt strong but a little dry
- The powder alleviated scalp tenderness from tight braiding (I didn’t realize my braid was too tight until I undid it and felt sore)
Final Thought: Despite the clinging problem, I loved the results of hibiscus flower powder on my hair and it makes the cut for my Ayurveda regimen.
SIDENOTES: Adding an acidic element to the mixture would have probably helped with the color output but dyeing my hair wasn’t the goal. My plan is to use Red Raj henna with hibiscus petal and lime/lemon and sandalwood essential oils to dye my hair naturally. This mix should produce some interesting color.
To find organic hibiscus powder: