Our court-yards, house compounds and gardens abound with the shoe flower (Hibiscus rosa sinensis) or China rose or chemparathi, known in common parlance, which has an abundance of medicinal value as natural remedy, in addition to beautification, according to Ayurveda.
Hibiscus rosa sinensis has been used as a natural ingredient to enhance beauty, as medicines and as dye, including for hair coloring.
Botanists have identified about 5,000 varieties of shoe flower, which grow luxuriantly in India and China, particularly, and in other areas of the globe generally.
Hibiscus flowers are available in different colors, prominent being bright red, but white flowers are considered best as medicine.
Reports say various tribes prescribe this flower as a wonder medicine for treatment of cancer, which to say the least is enduring in the annals of alternative medicine.
Boil the roots of Hibiscus in oil till the water evaporate off, and the resultant oil can be applied to the wounds caused by cancer, which in initial stages provides relief.
The chemicals in Hibiscus appear to help in abundant growth of hair, and keep the locks on the head black, which acts as a panacea for those suffering from premature graying. The chemicals act against dandruff and keep the hair clean. In other words, shoe flower can be used as a natural dye for hair.
Also the natural oil in the flower works as a good conditioner as the oil can be applied to the skin of even patients suffering from cellulite, a skin problem.
Instead of using eye-brow pencils, one can apply the ash obtained by burning the flowers and leaves of Hibiscus to eyebrows, glazing them black.
Mind you, the flowers can be used in place of shoe polish by rubbing the same on the shoes to shine them black.
The Jamaicans are known to use the flowers as a contraceptive, and the oil extracted from them are used by the natives for abortion!!!
The flowers are mixed with their herbal tea by some tribes as they contain many minerals and vitamins
What about the leaves? The juice from the leaves and flowers could be used to regulate menstrual cycle, according to tribes.
Ayurveda says the medicine from the roots can be used for prevention of venereal diseases. Eating the buds of white Hibiscus flowers early in the morning on empty stomach is a panacea against all diseases, according to the general tenets of traditional medicine.
Raw flowers are eaten by some of the Hawaiian people to improve digestion, and the Chinese make pickle out of the flowers.
The fiber from the stem can be used for making nets and paper as well as clothes.
Our chemparathi is a feast for the eyes in gardens, fields and house compounds as the color of the flowers is prominent, towering above other flora.