The bright and vibrant bloom of hibiscus gives us a glimpse of a tropical paradise. The beautiful flowers are not only used for sheer aesthetic purposes but can make our hair and skin look heavenly. Hibiscus is a boon for our hair and can even help deal with premature greying and dry hair. It offers excellent anti-aging and rejuvenating benefits. Highly revered in ancient texts and rituals, it is an integral part of sacred ceremonies and is used for its soothing, purifying, and healing benefits. So, think again before you label hibiscus just as a vibrant decorative flower. Read the post below and understand how the humble hibiscus can transform your skin and hair.
Ayurveda's take on hibiscus
Hibiscus holds a special place among Ayurvedic herbs and ingredients. Ancient texts and other records mention its usage in traditional sacred ceremonies but also the multiple benefits it has to offer. As per ayurvedic texts, hibiscus has Kashaya (astringent), Veerya (potency) properties, and has a cooling effect on the body due to its Sita (cooling property). It is also known as Japa, Gudahala, Gudhal.
Ayurvedic texts also highlight the healing properties of hibiscus that support the heart and circulatory system. This property also helps in purifying blood and improves circulation. The Roopan (healing) property of the flower can help promote clear skin and a glowing complexion. In addition, the Keshya property of hibiscus makes it excellent for improving hair quality.
It is vital to mention that the hibiscus flower is associated with Lord Ganesha (Hindu Deity). The energy associated with Lord Ganesha resides in the first and the second chakra of our body. (Chakras are different energy centers in your body that relate to specific nerve bundles and internal organs). These relate to the kidneys and reproductive organs.
Thus, traditional texts also highlight the benefits of using hibiscus in offering benefits to the lower region of the body. As per ancient texts and traditional practices, hibiscus preparations have been used to support kidney health, female reproductive organs, and menstruation.
How does hibiscus affect your dosha?
As per Ayurvedic texts and traditional practices, the hibiscus flower is suitable for dealing with imbalanced Pitta and Kapha dosha. Ayurveda attributes Kaphapitta shamaka (ability to reduce vitiated Kapha and Pitta dosha) property to hibiscus. Since the flower has cooling properties, it is not suitable for people with Vata dosha. It can aggravate it.
Pitta: People with vitiated Pitta Dosha tend to have too much agni (heat) under their skin. Aggravated Pitta can also make the skin oily and prone to breakouts. Furthermore, people with Pitta dosha also struggle with hair fall due to excessive heat.
Ayurvedic texts prescribe the use of hibiscus as beneficial in helping reduce excess body heat with its Sita (cooling properties). The Sita (cold) and Kashaya (astringent) properties of hibiscus can also help regulate excessive menstrual bleeding associated with vitiated Pitta dosha.
Kapha: When the Kapha dosha is aggravated, the skin produces a lot of sebum, making it oily and prone to clogging of pores, cystic acne, breakouts, etc. In this regard, Ayurveda recommends utilizing hibiscus's Sita (cold) and Kashaya (astringent) properties to deal with aggravated Kapha dosha.
Glowing and Radiant Skin: One of the most important reasons we must use hibiscus in our skin routine is to achieve a glowing and radiant complexion. If our skin lacks luster, it will give a dull and unappealing appearance. So, if you want to enhance your skin's natural glow and radiance, it's time to pick some hibiscus from your garden. It can help bring nutrition to our skin and enhance its glow.
Ayurveda highlights that hibiscus has the ability to enhance blood circulation in the body and purify the blood. As a result, more oxygen-infused blood circulates in the body and skin. This helps make the skin achieve a glowing and radiant complexion.
Research1 has highlighted that hibiscus contains alpha hydroxy acids, malic acid, and citric acids, improving your skin tone and controlling melanin production. The anthocyanins present in hibiscus can act as a potential skin-whitening agent. Take a handful of Hibiscus leaves and grind them with little water to make a paste. Apply this paste to the infected area for a few minutes and wash with lukewarm water.
Deal with acne and acne scars: People with aggravated Kapha and Pitta dosha are more prone to suffer from acne, breakouts, and scars. Due to excessive body heat associated with vitiated Pitta, and excessive sebum and oil production associated with aggravated Kapha, both skin types need hibiscus in their daily skincare routine. Ayurveda suggests that the Sita (cold) and Kashaya (astringent) properties of hibiscus can help deal with acne and breakouts due to aggravated Pitta and Kapha dosha. It can help unclog pores, cool down inflamed and infected skin, and control the overproduction of sebum.
Research suggests that the natural acids in the flower act as natural exfoliators that help to clear clogged skin pores. In addition, hibiscus's antibacterial properties can also control acne.
With antibacterial properties that work to fight acne-causing bacteria on the skin, hibiscus can help prevent the formation of pimples. According to research2 by the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, formulations containing hibiscus have shown great results in controlling bacterial activity in the skin while treating acne. In addition to the hibiscus mask, users can always enjoy some freshly brewed hibiscus tea by adding half a teaspoon of hibiscus to a cup of hot water, brewing it for 5–10 minutes, and straining it.
Anti Aging properties: Hibiscus contains high amounts of antioxidants that can help our skin cells recover from the damage caused by chemicals, dirt, pollutants, UV rays, etc. The latest research3 suggests that hibiscus may also have the potential to protect the skin against UVB-induced photoaging. Thus hibiscus can not only give glowing skin but also help reduce the appearance of signs of aging by protecting the skin from damage.
Reduce hair fall: External application of Hibiscus powder or flower paste infused with coconut oil on the scalp has helped generations of Indian women promote hair growth. By providing nourishment and helping stimulate blood cells and blood flow to the hair follicles, the hibiscus can help stop baldness and promote hair growth. This property can help people with aggravated Pitta struggling with hair fall. In addition, the Keshya property of hibiscus makes it excellent for improving hair quality. Ayurvedic experts recommend applying a hibiscus flower and leaf mask with water to the scalp and rinsing it with lukewarm water.
Hair graying: Ancient texts and traditional practices highlight hibiscus leaves' use to prevent premature graying of hair. Ayurveda suggests the Sita (cold) nature of hibiscus makes it useful in dealing with premature graying of hair. In fact, texts also associate hibiscus with Ranjana properties (properties associated with restoring natural hair color) that are useful in coloring hair. Thus, hibiscus can not only help stop premature graying but also help cover it naturally. Modern-day research5 also highlights the anti-greying properties of hibiscus. Users can apply hibiscus infused oil or a hibiscus flower and leaf mask for dealing with premature graying.
Dry hair and split ends: Hibiscus leaves and flowers benefit hair health. So, when modern hair treatments, poor weather, and pollution make our hair dry, frizzy, and full of split ends, pick some hibiscus flowers and leaves, and revive your beautiful tresses. Ayurvedic hibiscus hair oil, made by infusing hibiscus leaves and flower paste in coconut oil, can help control dryness and nourish the scalp. Applying the oil twice a week can help reduce dryness and split ends and condition hair lengths, making them lustrous and healthy.
Perhaps now, when you look at shampoos, conditioners, and skin products infused with hibiscus, you will not be surprised. The humble hibiscus flower not only signifies a tropical paradise but makes our hair and skin fit for paradise.