A Haitian Treasure: Hibiscus, Haiti's National Flower

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Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants of the mallow family, Malvaceae, and is native to warm-tempered regions in the world, like Haiti.  In fact, Hibiscus, known as choeblack or rose kayenn in Haitian Creole, is Haiti's "unofficial" National flower. Who knew?! Apart from being beautiful and serving as a common ornamental plant, it has many different medicinal and culinary uses!

Side-note: You may be wondering how Hibiscus got the name choeblack, which is the "Creole version" of shoeblack (what it is called in Jamaica).  Lo and behold, hibiscus has historic uses as a shoe-polisher!

In Haiti, Hibiscus is often used to treat inflammation, diaherra, and hematomas.  It is antibacterial, antispasmodic, and anti-hypertensive by nature.  In some places, such as Venezuela, it is used to treat tumors due to its well-documented anticarcinogenic activity. On a daily basis, hibiscus is known to successfully treat different kinds of aches (headaches, toothaches, earaches), boils, burns, and menstrual irregularities.

I have read that hibiscus can also bring down the body's heat! When you add the flower concentrate to water with a little bit of sweetening if preferable, BAM, you have a cooling concoction to make the harsh heat a little bit more tolerable.

Some more benefits:
  • helps decrease blood pressure and increase good cholesterol (HDL)
  • contains high amounts of vitamin C, flavanoids (a nutritional fave), citric and oxalic acids, alkaloids, etc.
  • can boost immunity
  • natural diuretic (advised for those who suffer from diabetic and kidney-related problems)
  • high in antioxidants

Some more uses:
  • drink as tea or juice (as it is known for having a delicious tart cranberry-like flavor)
  • used as a hair conditioner, anti-dandruff treatment, and growth stimulant in Ayurveda (a traditional form of alternative medicine native to India)
  • used to make syrups, jams, and sauces
  • used as a natural coloring and flavoring agent

Cheers to the health benefits of Hibiscus!

You can find Hibiscus in local floral shops, garden shops, and health food stores (for tea)! But if you're lucky to live in climates where this flower is bountiful....happy pickings!

Have you ever used Hibiscus?

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The "Haitian Treasures" series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which I call "Haitian Treasures" because they are truly national gems.  Naïka in Balance is the premiere source for information on healing herbs used by Haitians. In this series, I explore the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

Learn about other Haitian Treasures explored on this blog here!

The two most popular Haitian Treasures on this blog are:

Castor oil/l'huile palma christi
Wonder of the world plant/fey lougawou

Naika, the writer of this blog, has a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a Masters of Science in Acupuncture as of June 2017. Please do not take the information presented on this blog, as medical advice, without consulting your certified health care practitioner. Knowledge is power and your health is your wealth!