sPOTLIGHT iNGREDIENT: hIBISCUS
The leaves, young shoots, and flowers from Hibiscus sabdariffa are common sources of food and drink throughout the tropical regions where this plant thrives. Its large, showy flowers are most commonly brewed as hibiscus tea. In the Caribbean, the vibrantly red infusion is mixed with rum and served as a cocktail. Our whole, organic dried hibiscus flowers can be used in culinary recipes and make a lovely addition to botanical tea blends.
There are over 220 species within the genus Hibiscus which belong to the Malvaceae plant family. Hibiscus plants grow in most tropical areas of the world, with a minority of species able to survive in freezing environments. The abundant species found in the tropics cannot tolerate more than a few days of freezing weather and will die if such conditions persist. Hibiscus flowers come in a magnificent variety of colors. Also called roselle and ambashthaki.
Hibiscus flowers are the main ingredient in many wonderfully refreshing teas made around the world, especially in Mexico, Latin America, and North Africa. A tea known as Agua de Jamaica, or simply Jamaica in Mexico, is usually served chilled with copious amounts of sugar to sweeten the natural tartness of the hibiscus.
One of the most powerful anti-ageing plant actives; it’s no wonder Hibiscus is called the ‘Botox plant’. Hibiscus has a magical reputation for increasing skin elasticity to give a stunning natural youth-boost. 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.
One of the visible signs of skin ageing is the appearance of hyperpigmentation or age spots. Age spots can occur due to a number of different variables, including ultraviolet radiation exposure, excess melanin production and genetics. Due to the slightly exfoliating effect of the organic acids found in the plant, including citric acid and malic acid, Hibiscus helps to speed up cell turnover, resulting in a more even looking skin tone.
Hibiscus is rich in antioxidants, called anthocyanocides. 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 ageing. Not only do anthocyanocides 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.
Hibiscus contains gentle acids that have a slight exfoliating effect on the skin. Not only does this help with age spots, this Hibiscus benefit can encourage an all round fresher, younger, smoother looking complexion. 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. Unlike harsh synthetic forms of these acids which can strip your skin of its natural oils, the organic acids from Hibiscus bring your skin back in balance for a naturally gorgeous, glowing complexion.
Lastly, Hibiscus has a naturally high mucilage content, a sticky substance produced by plants that help with the storage of water and food. Mucilage makes a fantastic natural skin moisturiser that is gentle on sensitive skin. This high mucilage content of Hibiscus enhances the skin’s ability to retain moisture, which is a key factor in retaining a youthful complexion. The naturally moisture rich qualities of Hibiscus helps skin stay hydrated, soft and supple for longer, keeping dry, dull skin at bay.
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- Danielle Lasit