Feb 4, 2014

Health Benefits of Hibiscus (Gumamela)

hibiscus flower in my tea
Don’t mess with me this week. I’ll be in a not-so-good mood. The reason is because the husband is away for a Pastors’ Conference. And I am, after nearly 15 years of marriage, still so poor at handling separation. To think that I think of myself as a self-sufficient woman. Being the eldest in the family, I am quite independent, and generally a take-charge person. Or so I thought.
I guess things are just different when you’re married to a strong, loving man. Suddenly you can afford to be vulnerable and dependent. The past few days, in preparation for his scheduled conference, he made sure everything would be a lot easier for me while he’s away. He arranged for someone to pick the kids up from school. He told all the kids to help their mama and make life easier for mama. He filled up the ref and pantry. He bought me the coffee and snacks my kids and I love.
This morning, as he was waiting at the airport for his plane, he texted me something mushy. And I texted him back something mushy. Then his flight was cancelled from 9 am to 3 pm because the plane was checked up. He decided to go back home rather than while away his time in the airport. I joked that our exchange of mushy text messages was put to waste.
On his way home, he brought roasted chicken and cooked pancit so I won’t have to cook breakfast tomorrow. He quickly washed a load of laundry even though he already did the laundry over the weekend. He went around the house for a quick clean-up. He even helped our 6-year old with his assignment. Another round of mushiness and he’s now off to the Conference.
It’s nice to know, even if you’re a strong person, that there’s someone who takes care of you. I feel like this hibiscus flower in my garden. I know hibiscus is hardy and sun-proof and yet that doesn’t keep me from pampering it.

Health Benefits of Hibiscus

Hibiscus is one pretty flower which we all associate with Hawaiian luau, pretty leis and everything tropical. It goes by the local name of antulang here in this side of Negros Oriental and by the Tagalog word gumamela. I see a great variety of hibiscus here in my city – pinks, reds, yellows, oranges and all things in between.
Little did I know that hibiscus is more than just a pretty ornamental plant. It actually has many health uses which I only recently knew about. Here is a pretty exhaustive account of the many health benefits ofhibiscus -- . But if, for some reason, you’re too lazy to head on to that, here’s the synopsis:

Hibiscus lowers/controls blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Pretty surprising powers for an otherwise simple flower, right?

Hibiscus is thought of here in the Philippines as nothing more than a flower. In many parts of the world, however, hibiscus has long been used as a herbal folk remedy for many maladies – upper respiratory diseases, hypertension, graying hair, acne and fever. The hibiscus flower is rich in Vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Here’s how you can use hibiscus flower:

  • You can chew the flower petals directly. It has a neutral taste, so don’t be afraid. People in Guam eat it raw.
  • You can garnish your salad with it. It makes a lovely statement on your table.
  • You can steep it in your tea or coffee. It will not alter the taste of your drink, I promise.
  • You can dip it in egg and pan-fry in oil. Quite tedious, though.
  • You can just look at it. That’s good for your soul.


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