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Hibiscus flowers (hibiscus sabdariffa )Latin Name: Hibiscus Sabdariffa
Common Names: Hibiscus flowers
Hibiscus flowers are well known to gardeners in Southern California and Florida, where the colorful blooms adorn many garden. These herbs come from a member of the mallow family known as hibiscus sabdariffa, or more commonly the "rosemallow." The mallow family is a genus of tropical and sub-tropical plants that includes cocoa, cotton and okra as well as other natural herbs from such regions.
Dried hibiscus flowers have many uses that include commercial, culinary and medicinal. Commercially, these dried herbs are used in the manufacture of paper. The organic herbs are also quite edible; fresh, cut hibiscus flowers are eaten in salads, while the dried pedals are frequently brewed in tea. In fact, in Mexico, hibiscus flower tea served sweetened and served over ice is a popular and refreshing beverage, which is known in that country as agua de Jamaica, or "Jamaica water." The tart flavor is reminiscent of mild cranberry juice; in Jamaica itself, hibiscus flowers are used to make jam.
In India (where whole hibiscus flowers are offered to the Hindu deities Kali and Gonesha), a dried powder make from such organic herbs is made into a paste and applied to the scalp. The tea made from the wild crafted herbs is also drunk unsweetened. Although there are no known adverse effects from the use of hibiscus flowers, be aware that any reported therapeutic effects have not been scientifically proven.
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