There is insufficient evidence available to prove that hibiscus plants offer any positive effects when taken orally, but there is some consideration placed upon their efficacy to treat high blood pressure, stomach spasms, bacteria, parasites and constipation, states WebMD. Common uses for hibiscus that have not yet been substantiated are the treatment of heart disease, loss of appetite, upper respiratory tract inflammation, fluid retention, upset stomach and circulation disorders.
Hibiscus is considered to be safe for most people, according to WebMD, but more research needs to be done to determine its possible side effects. It is not safe for woman who are pregnant or breastfeeding to take hibiscus, as there is some evidence pointing to its ability to incite menstruation in women.
WebMD notes that hibiscus may also interfere with drugs containing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. People often consume hibiscus in the form of teas, jams, spices, soups and sauces. The plant is native to Africa, but is farmed in several other tropical locations. Additional names for the plant include sour tea, oseille rouge, bissap, roselle, zobo tea, gongura and ambashthaki. Drugs.com states that people use hibiscus in perfumes and sometimes craft the fibrous parts of the plant into rope.