Hibiscus: a useful ornamental beauty
Visitors to Costa Rica at this time of the year are bound to see several of our hibiscus ornamentals with their exquisite flowers. These ornamental plants are commonly found along borders as privacy hedges or as single plants which show off their flowers. However, very few know that these beauties also share with us food and medicine. Here are some tips about the hibiscus plants.
The nutritious, edible leaves and flowers make an interesting addition to any salad; the colorful flowers, which are also edible, are used to decorate servings of food. The leaves also provide relief for painful menstruation. From the leaves and flowers together you can make a tea that helps staunch excessive menstrual flow and prevent postpartum hemorrhages and even miscarriage. To treat skin problems, use the tea as a bath, compress, or maceration.
In Belize, some people believe that only the red flowering hibiscus, Hibiscus rossi-sinensis, has medicinal properties. Costa Ricans, however, categorize both that species and Hibiscus sabdariffa, introduced by settlers from the Caribbean Basin, as medicinal plants. To prepare tea from either variety, boil a handful of leaves and flowers in 1 L of water. Drink 1-3 cups per day.
Hibiscus sabdariffa, called Jamaican hibiscus or rosa jamaica in Spanish, is a handsome annual plant related to common hibiscus, okra, and cotton; it is both decorative and useful. You can make a delicious, chilled tea with the dried red calyces of the flowers. Its refreshing citrus flavor and striking red color make it a great natural alternative to the artificial drinks kids seem to crave so much.
The leaves of this species are also edible. Hibiscus is generally propagated from woody stem cuttings that are planted directly in permanent sites. Jamaican hibiscus, however, is started from seed.
Read more of Ed Bernhardt’s monthly Home Gardening columns here.
For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – visit Ed at http://thenewdawncenter.info/blog.html or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may be interested
What to do in Costa Rica: concerts, culture and love around the countryElizabeth Lang - February 16, 2018
With Valentine’s Day just behind us, it’s time to celebrate love in all of its expressions, as well as Costa…
Waiting for the weekendThe Tico Times - February 16, 2018
It's Friday and this Aracari bird knows it! While appreciating the sunrise at the Caribbean side of the country, the…
New poll: Statistical dead heat in Costa Rica’s presidential electionsAFP - February 15, 2018
Evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado and former government minister Carlos Alvarado are in a statistical tie as the second round of…