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Hibiscus by Vanessa Armstrong

While out for a walk with my dog and husband the other day, we came across a beautiful shrub in a garden. "Hibiscus" was hubby's response. I've heard of Hibiscus as have had it in tea blends before, but didn't really know an awful lot about it, so decided to investigate...

Hibiscus is a plant that is related to the mallow family and is a plant that is grown worldwide. Its flowers are used medicinally and magically and are popular in many cultures all over the world.

There are many species of this annual and perennial and is grown as a plant, shrubs and small trees in a variety of colours including white, red, pink, orange, peach, yellow and purple. The flowers are quite spectacular to look at - large petals of 5 or more between 4 - 18 cm across with a large stamen protruding from the centre and the flower itself is trumpet shaped.

The hibiscus is a flower that is popular with many cultures as a symbol - Haiti, and the Soloman Islands has it as its symbol. It is also the national flower of South Korea, Peurto Rico and Malaysia. It is the flower of the Hindu Goddess Kali (red hibiscus) and is given as an offering to both her and Ganesha in Hindu worship.

Hibiscus flowers are used in many ways as a beverage and as a food. Red Hibiscus flowers can be steeped in hot water as a tea. It has a slightly tart but pleasant taste. I personally felt that I didn’t need to sweeten it. It is said to have a high vitamin C content. In Cambodia, the flowers are steeped in hot water then lime juice is added to enhance the bright red colour and then honey is added to sweeten before topping up with cold water. Sounds rather lovely for this time of year.

Dried hibiscus flowers are a delicacy in Mexico and candied flowers are often used as a decoration.

There are about 232 species of Hibiscus and not all of them are used for tea or for healing.

Hibiscus flowers have many healing properties: As well as the vitamin C content, Hibiscus also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can lower the temperature of the body, help with colds, sore throats and issues with the digestive system such as constipation. Drunk as a tea can also help with menopausal flushes and acne associated with menopause. It can also help with lowering blood pressure as well as keeping cholesterol down. Hibiscus flowers made into a pulp can be used to treat skin wounds.

Before taking any supplements or making any remedies, consult a doctor if you are pregnant, have low blood pressure or are taking birth control pills or medication to help with fertility.

Hibiscus can be used for many magical workings also... It can be used for all love or lust magic - carry as part of a charm bag, a poppet or burn as an incense to invoke love or lust feelings. Hibiscus flowers added to water when scrying will help with divination. Drunk as a tea before bedtime will help you understand your dreams.

Pick a particular colour of hibiscus to tie in with other magical workings: Red - love and lust magic White - protection and purification Yellow - harmony and peace Purple - divination

Its colour bleeds very well when added to oil or water, so can be used as an ink for writing spells or for anointing.

Element Fire and Water Planet Mars and Venus Powers Harmony, Love, Lust, Divination, Dreams, Independence

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