|Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle) is a species of Hibiscus native to the Old World tropics.
The red calyces of the plant are increasingly exported to America and Europe, where they are used as food colourings. The green leaves are used like a spicy version of spinach. In East Africa, the calyx infusion, called “Sudan tea”, is taken to relieve coughs. Roselle juice, with salt, pepper, asafetida and molasses, is taken as a remedy for biliousness.
The heated leaves are applied to cracks in the feet and on boils and ulcers to speed maturation. A lotion made from leaves is used on sores and wounds. The seeds are said to be diuretic and tonic in action and the brownish-yellow seed oil is claimed to heal sores on camels. In India, a decoction of the seeds is given to relieve dysuria, strangury and mild cases of dyspepsia. Brazilians attribute stomachic, emollient and resolutive properties to the bitter roots.
Finally, it was found that the flower extract, which is an acid, mimics the properties of Alpha Hydoxy Acids (AHAs are used in cosmeceutical skincare to enhance cell renewal).