Hibiscus irritants

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Hibiscus irritants

Family: Malvaceae

Common names

  • Rose of Althea
  • Rose of Sharon


Hibiscus is renowned for its beauty as well as its medicinal uses and forms an integral part of African culture.
The flowers are large, and trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals, colours are white,  pink, red, orange, peach, yellow or purple, and are 4–18 cm broad.


Hibiscus irritants is commonly found in the Eastern seaboard of South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Cultural value

Two clinical trials have confirmed the antihypertensive effect using hibiscus sabdariffa watery infusions.
The hibiscus irritants and hibiscus sabdariffa are mainly used as teas or washes. Teas are used for bile, coughs, high blood pressure, dysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia, PMS, tonic, dyspepsia, to relieve pressure in the gallbladder, and to relax the uterus. The both plants are used as a wash to treat weeping eczema.

In Kwazulu Natal, Swaziland and southern Mozambique, the fresh leaves of the hibiscus irritants are inserted into the vagina to treat the chronic symptoms of PMS, excessive bleeding and infertility. This plant together with Mathema seems to be particularly effective for endometriosis, menorrhagia and fibrosis.

Growing Hibiscus irritants

Hibiscus is a very hardy, versatile plant and in tropical conditions, it can enhance the beauty of any garden. Being versatile it adapts itself easily to balcony gardens in crammed urban spaces and can be easily grown in pots as a creeper or even in hanging pots. It is a perennial and flowers through the year. As it comes in a variety of colors, it’s a plant which can add vibrancy to any garden. The seed horns must be semi-dry and starting to split down the middle before seed can be collected. Sow the seeds in March or April.

Do not over-water, too much water at a time when the seeds are germinating will rot them. Only water four times a week under warm conditions, 28°C or above. During the winter months only water once every two weeks.