Scientific Name:Hibiscus syriacus
About this Herb:Rose of Sharon is a common name that applies to several different species of flowering plants that are highly valued throughout the world. The name's colloquial application has been used as an example of the lack of precision of common names, which potentially causes confusion.
Hibiscus syriacus is a widely cultivated ornamental flowering shrub in the genus Hibiscus. It is upright and vase-shaped, reaching 6 to 12 ft. (2–4 m) in height unless pruned annually. It is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple large and edible flowers. Individual flowers are short-lived, lasting only a day. However, numerous flower buds are produced on the shrub's new growth, which provides prolific flowering over a long summer blooming period (July–September). Shoots make interesting indoor vase cuttings, as they stay green for a long time. In the vase some new flowers may open from the more mature flower buds. The species has naturalized very well in many suburban areas, and might even be termed slightly invasive, so frequently does it seed around.
Common Names:Shrub Althea, Rose Althea, St Joseph's Rod
Uses:Besides loving this herb for its aesthetic charm and its appetizing culinary goodness, Rose of Sharon also has medicinal uses. Rose of Sharon is used externally as an emollient to soften and soothe the skin, as well as used internally for digestive disorders.
A tea made from the leaves and flowers are said to be diuretic, expectorant and stomachic. The essential oil is believed to smooth wrinkles as well as stop bothersome external itching and other skin conditions. The bark contains several medically active constituents, including mucilage, carotenoids, sesquiterpenes and anthocyanidins. Reportedly, a decoction of the root bark has anti-inflammatory, soothing, calming, fever reducing abilities. It is used in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, abdominal pain, leucorrhoea, menstruation cramping.