Hibiscus is a bushy annual plant. Parts of the flower are used to make a popular drink in Egypt called Karkade. Various parts of the plant are also used to make jams, spices, soups, and sauces. The flowers are used to make medicine.
The fruit acids in hibiscus may work like a laxative. Some researchers think that other chemicals in hibiscus might be able to lower blood pressure; decrease spasms in the stomach, intestines, and uterus; and work like antibiotics to kill bacteria and worms.
The fruit is a dry five-lobed capsule, containing several seeds in each lobe, which are released when the capsule dehisces (splits open) at maturity.
The flowers are large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals, color from white to pink, red, orange, peach, yellow or purple and from 4–18 cm broad.
Hibiscus is used for treating loss of appetite, colds, heartand nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and disorders of circulation; for dissolving phlegm; as a gentle laxative; and as a diuretic to increase urine output.
In foods and beverages, hibiscus is used as a flavoring. It is also used to improve the odor, flavor, or appearance of tea mixtures.