The Hibiscus flower is commonly known around the world for its unique shape and vibrant colors. There are several hundred species of Hibiscus, but the one commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae, grown in warm, subtropical and tropical regions of the world. The white and red hibiscus flowers have been used to heal and treat many medical ailments. It has been known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, heal wounds, protect against skin cancer, and boost the immune system. In Ayurveda, it is also used to prevent hair loss, promotes hair growth, acts as a gentle cleanser, treats dandruff and prevents premature graying.
How does this work?
Hibiscus’ phytochemical screening has revealed the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, steroids, phenols, diterpenes, anthraquinones. These active components attribute to many benefits earlier stated including preventing hair fall, cleansing and nourishing the scalp, providing anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial protection, as well as gently cleansing and healing the scalp. Additionally, it is rich in vitamin C that boosts collagen, (the amino acid that gives hair its strength) and promotes healthy hair growth.
What does the Research say?
Currently, most of the research regarding ayurvedic herbs have not been completely studied in relation to human subjects; most of the studies mentioned are performed on rodents. A number of studies have been conducted on the efficacy of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and potential hair growth. In one recent study, extract of hibiscus leaves and flowers in petroleum ether were rubbed onto the shaved skin of rats over the course of 30 days. The study revealed that the leaf extract exhibited more growth than the flower extract. Additionally, it should be noted that the rats in the control group were massaged with water-this also produced accelerated growth. The study concluded that the act of massaging could potentially stimulate hair growth.
In a comparison study, Hibiscus extract and Minoxidil (hair growth stimulator) were both applied to shaved rats to evaluate hair growth potential. The Hibiscus extract showed hair promoting activity significantly when compared to Minoxidil. Another similar study conducted resulted in the same outcome, Hibiscus extract showed significant hair growth compared to the control group. In a study evaluating the healing and hydration of Hibiscus leaves found increased healing potential in fibroblasts (connective tissue) and also significant collagen synthesis. Hibiscus also promoted the stimulation of skin regeneration and hydration. Finally, another study indicated the Hibiscus extract provided protection against UVA and UVB rays.
How to use
There are numerous ways to use Hibiscus, see below for my favorite recipe to gently cleanse and condition your hair. How do you use Hibiscus in your hair regimen? Leave a recipe below!
Hibiscus can be used in combination with henna to boost the red tones in henna. Add one to two tablespoons to your henna mix for the added boost.
Check out our Hibiscus infused products!