scarlet hibiscus flower is less a cosmetic
for the India woman than an ornament,
worn in the hair or behind an ear. But
Chinese and Indian women have traditionally
boiled the flowers and leaves of the hibiscus,
then mixed the infusion with herbal oil
before applying it to their hair as a
stimulant to the growth of luxurious tresses.
While the chinese use the hibiscus flower’s
juice as an ingredient in black dye for
the hair and eyebrows, indians include
hibiscus flower juice in a famous herbal
oil and conditioner which is now bottled
and sold throughout eastern India under
the brand name Jaba Kusam. One reason
for the widespread popularity of this
oil is its effectiveness against dandruff.
In Hindu mythology the hibiscus is the
flower offered in the worship of the goddess
and Ayurvedic medicine seems to lend credence
to the particularly virtues of this plant
by prescribing it as an emmenagogue effective
in promoting a woman’s period. The
root yields a drug which Ayurveda believes
to be useful in treating venereal disease.
An extract from the hibiscus flower is
also used in preventing unwanted pregnancies,
inhibiting the flow of semen in men, and
bringing on temporary sterility in women.
Ayurvedic physicians believe the anticonception
properties of the drug to be effective