Beauty (and health) benefits of Hibiscus

It never ceases to amaze me how many foods and herbs have healing properties. Take the hibiscus flower for example. This beautiful, bright bloom is completely edible and for years it has been used for several different ailments...yet most people only know it as the flowering shrub.

Hibiscus tea made with fresh or dried hibiscus flowers.

My mother recently said to me "I need to get some Hibiscus tea, it's supposed to help with weight loss." She had read that regular consumption of hibiscus tea can increase your body's metabolism, helping you to lose excess weight. It has so many more health properties too!

Related reading: How to get started with herbal teas.

Health benefits of Hibiscus

By drinking hibiscus tea, you can help alleviate liver diseases, cholesterol problems or high blood pressure. Some woman drink the tea to help with menstrual cramps or to help alleviate menopausal symptoms.

You can find hibiscus tea online or in specialty stores that offer dried herbs in bulk. This is a delicious, fruity tea with a mild flavor that is amazing alone or with some raw honey.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with my esthetician during a skin exam and natural skin ingredients came up. She mentioned Hibiscus. I was shocked to find out how amazing this ingredient is for your skin too!

Dried hibiscus flowers for healthy tea

She agreed to tell me everything she knows, so I'm going to give you the info in her words:

Hibiscus is one of those ingredients that does it all! Being packed with antioxidants, natural acids, vitamin C, Alpha hydroxy acids, and so much more ... it’s something you can’t go wrong with. It's also quite versatile as it is beneficial for those of any age and is sensitive skin friendly. 

Hibiscus is also referred to as the anti-aging magic plant as it fights to firm, tighten and lift your skin.

With the incredible ability to inhibit the activity of the enzyme elastase, which is responsible for breaking down our skin’s precious elastin, Hibiscus actively combats the ageing process by firming and lifting your skin.

Hibiscus is rich in antioxidants, called anthocyanosides. Antioxidants are proven to help fight skin damaging free radicals which spawn when pollutants such as ultraviolet radiation and traffic pollution make contact with the skin, and can result in premature skin aging.

Not only do anthocyanosides protect against free radical damage, they also have slightly astringent properties, helping to reduce the appearance of large pores for a smoother complexion.

They also have an anti-inflammatory effect and can help to soothe inflamed skin, making Hibiscus suitable for those prone to very sensitive skin.

The natural acids present in Hibiscus help to purify your skin by breaking down dead skin and increasing cell turnover, they can even help to control acne breakouts.
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In addition, Hibiscus helps with aging spots and hyperpigmentation. The citric acid and malic acid within the plant, speed up the cell turnover process and help your skin look uniform, faster.

It also adds smoothness to the skin due to the high Mucilage content within the plant. Mucilage is a sticky substance within the plant that assist in the storage of food and water. This provides moisture and hydration to the skin, making it appear softer.

It’s no wonder that this plant is commonly nicknamed the “natural Botox” because it can absolutely do it all.

I found a night cream that I really like that's sold at Target and Ulta it’s $12- $14, it’s within the Botanics line it is called All Bright hydrating night cream with hibiscus. This night cream will moisturize your skin and help remove dead skin cells overnight, while improving your skins texture and radiation. I highly recommend this. 

Here it is on Amazon.

Hibiscus tea in a pretty china cup and dried hibiscus flowers

How to use Hibiscus for skin

One of the easiest ways to use hibiscus is to consume it as a tea. Hibiscus tea is available in health food stores and many grocery stores, or you can order it right here on Amazon. Because of Hibiscus high amount of vitamin c, it promotes collagen production and helps tighten the skin from the inside out.

Hibiscus tea is simply dried hibiscus flowers in a tea bag. It's much cheaper to buy dried hibiscus flowers in bulk, but them you'll have to use a tea ball, a strainer or make your own bags. 

Hibiscus tea (which is actually an infusion) can also be applied to the face. You would use the same hibiscus tea as mentioned above, but brew it a little stronger and longer. So, less water and more time steeping.

You'll need either a clean, dry washcloth or a compressed paper sheet mask. I use these. They are awesome if you make your own masks or facial treatments! It's a dry paper face mask compressed into a disc and wrapped in plastic to keep it dry. Those ones come with a soaking bowl you'll use for your tea/infusion, but if you already have some any bowl will do. 

Open your mask and soak it in the cooled tea then apply to the face. Relax for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse with cool water when done. The dry mask discs are more comfortable than a washcloth because they have mouth and nose holes, but either will work!

DIY Hibiscus sugar scrub

You can make your own sugar scrub with hibiscus flowers. Use one part dried hibiscus flowers, one part fractionated coconut oil, and three parts granulated sugar. Mix well and use on the body.

You'll probably want to grind up your dried hibiscus flowers before using them. I like to use a mortar and pestle though many people have a coffee grinder they use exclusively for herbs. 

Sugar scrubs are generally too harsh for facial skin, but I have to admit I do occasionally use it on my lips! As with the tea, you'll want to make it fresh each time. If you make too much, put it in a closed container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Hibiscus has so many health and beauty benefits, I'm sure you'll want to start adding it to your diet right away! 

The italicized section was written by licensed esthetician Caitlyn Delien, you can find her makeup work at BeautyByCaitlynD on Instagram.


Related reading: There are  11 medicinal herbs that can be grown indoors in winter, which ones will you grow?

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