Gumamela is a shrub that is highly cultivated as an ornamental plant in the Philippines. It is the local term used in the Philippines for Hibiscus, China Rose, and Shoe Flower. This plant has a scientific name known as Hibiscus rosasinensis. Usually, this ornamental plant grows from one meter up to four meters high. Its flower may come in various colors similar to orange, white, pink, yellow, red, purple, and other color combinations.
Pertinently, gumamela flower, leaves, and roots are used as herbal medicine. This is due to the fact that this decorative shrub has numerous medical characteristics which include anti-infectious, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, anodyne, diuretic, antipyretic, emollient, and refrigerant.
Gumamela or Hibiscus are known for their large, colorful flowers that make a decorative addition to a home or garden. They also have medicinal uses. Flowers and leaves can be made into teas and liquid extracts that are used to treat a variety of conditions.
Parts of a Gumamela flower plant:
Gumamela flowers come in many colors. They can be red, yellow, white, or peach-colored, and can be as big as six inches wide. The red flowers are most commonly cultivated for medical purposes, and are available as dietary supplements.
Petals: The flower usually consists of five petals which form a bell shape.
Stigma: It holds the ovary of the flower and is located at the base of the Gumamela petals.
Stamen: The stigma produces shoots called stamen that form tubular structures coming out of the base. The stamen comprises pollen at the tips.
Leaves: Its leaves are egg-shaped and glossy green.
Description of Gumamela:
This plant is an erect, much-branched, smooth shrub, which is about one to four meters in height.
Its leaves are glossy green, ovate, pointed, which extends its length to about seven to twelve centimeter. Its flowers are solitary, axillary, and quite huge which extends its length to about ten centimeters, and twelve centimeters in diameter. The petals are commonly red, orange, or pink, obovate, rounded tip, and imbricate. The stamens are in long and slender tube form enclosing the entire style of the pistil and protruding out of the corolla.
Gumamela as Herbal Medicine:
As herbal medicine, gumamela flower, leaves and roots are used. Gumamela has the following medicinal characteristics: expectorant, diuretic, emollient, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anodyne and refrigerant. Gumamela leaves, usually blended with Rose Hip has long been used in the Middle East and Okinawa as herbal tea. Today, the use of gumamela tea is gaining worldwide popularity – including Asia. Gumamela (Hibiscus) is associated with longevity.
Preparation & Use of Gumamela:
There are two ways to utilize gumamela as herbal medicine. One is DRIED and the other is FRESH. For Dried gumamela, collect the flower, leaves and/or roots. Wash, then cut into small pieces and sun dry.
To use as decoction, boil the DRIED gumamela parts (1/4 cup dried gumamela in 1 glass of water).
To make a decoction from FRESH gumamela, Wash gumamela flower and/or leaves, cut into small pieces and boil (1/3 cup in 1 glass of water), let cool and drink.
Use Gumamela as Poultice:
Poultice is the use or fresh or dried herbs that is mashed, crushed or pounded – often heated (boiled in water to soften and heat the herb) and applied directly to the skin. A clean cloth or gauze can be used to help the poultice stay in place.
For abscesses, carbuncles and boils: crush fresh leaves and poultice the infected area. Also, pound flower buds into a paste and apply to external swellings; also used for boils, cancerous swellings and mumps.
Medical Properties and Uses of Gumamela (Hibiscus):
1. Heart diseases, High Blood Pressure – Hibiscus has antioxidant properties of flavonoids, polyphenolic compounds and anthocyanins that can prevent the oxidation of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL). These antioxidants also help control cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease.
2. Acne & Sunburn – Hibiscus help unclog closed pores. Crushed the leaves and flowers of the hibiscus and spread a paste on your face on the acne affected area. Keep it for 15 minutes and wash off with water. Do the same with sunburn.
3. Eczema/Skin allergies – Hibiscus flower extracts are used in many herbal ointments in the treatment of eczema and allergic problems.
4. Dandruff & Hair loss – Add coconut oil or sesame oil to a bunch of hibiscus flowers and leaves. Heat it at low fire. Cool. After cooling, strain the oil from the mixture and store in clean containers. Massage this oil on scalp and leave it for an hour. Care should be taken to rinse the oil out with very mild shampoo. Hair loss caused by thyroid problem can also be remedied by drinking hibiscus tea or applying the hibiscus to the scalp. Hibiscus also stimulates blood circulation and ensures the supply of essential nutrients to the hair follicles.
5. Cough and cold – Hibiscus leaf contains lots of Vitamin C which when consumed in the form of tea and other extracts helps to build immunity to common cold and cough. It will help you to get over your cold lot more quickly.
6. Weight loss and digestion – It acts as a natural appetite suppressant, helping in dietary weight loss. Consuming Hibiscus leaf tea helps you eat lot less and digest food more efficiently to reduce build up of unwanted fat in your body.
7. Regular menstrual cycle – Regular consumption of Hibiscus leaf tea helps women in lowering levels of estrogen in the body. This helps the body to maintain a balanced hormonal level helping it in regulating a proper menstrual cycle.
8. Anti-ageing – Hibiscus leaves are rich in several antioxidants. These help in eliminating many free radicals present in your body thereby effectively slowing the process of aging and in some cases prolonging life.
Gumamela (Hibiscus) Tea – Side Effects:
Although hibiscus tea is a health enhancer and a natural weight loss booster, there are some possible side effects you should be aware of.
Blood Pressure: The health benefits of hibiscus tea include lowering blood pressure (anti-hypertensive property). Therefore, it is not recommended for people that already have low blood pressure, a condition called hypotension. It may cause faintness, dizziness and can even damage the heart or brain if it is consumed by an individual with low blood pressure.
Pregnancy and Fertility: Hibiscus tea is not recommended for pregnant women, particularly due to its emmenagogue effects which may stimulate menstruation or blood flow in the uterus or pelvic region. For those undergoing hormonal treatments or taking birth control pills, it is recommended to consult your health specialist regarding consumption of hibiscus tea, and let them give you a yes or no.
Hallucinatory Effect: Some people may feel intoxicated or experience hallucination when drinking hibiscus tea. Therefore, you should be somewhat cautious until you know how your body react to the tea. Don’t drive a car or try anything particularly dangerous until you know what its effects are on your system.
Allergy: Some people might develop allergic reactions such as itchy red eyes, sinus, or hay fever when consuming hibiscus tea.
Here is a video showing the multiple health benefits of Gumamela (Hibiscus) Tea:
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