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japa - Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn.

japa :

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis It is best Ayurvedic herb used to nourish hair, prevents hair fall, dandruff, grey hair, split hairs etc

Hibiscus rosa Sinensis or the Chinese rose is a common flower. Whether the flower originated from China or not is debatable, however, what is beyond doubts is its immense health benefits. The medicinal value of the flower is described in the ancient science, Ayurveda and Chinese herbology. Not just flower, but also the plant and its parts are rich in phytonutrients such as pectin, flavonoids, malic acid, citric acid, etc., and can be used as well as consumed for their therapeutic benefits.  Hibiscus also contains anthocyanin and polysaccharides. 


The Hibiscus flowers are used in the worship of Hindu deities, especially Goddess Durga / Kali. The glowing complexion of the Devi is often compared 
with the beauty of the flower, In Lalitopaakhyaana.
The Sun God is also compared with the Hibiscus flower. A famous Shloka in praise of the Sun God begins - ‘Japa kusumasankarsham, 

Samhita Period 

No reference regarding japa is available in Samhita period. 

Nighantu Kala

Most of the nighantus quote japa. Like Amarakosha, Paryayaratnamala and Raja nighantu. Raja nighantu explained it in karaviradivarga. 
It is explained in Pushpavarga of Bhavaprakashnighantu. 
It is explained in Vanaushadhivarga of Amarakosha as java. 

Adhunika Kala

Database on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Pharmacopiea of India have described  japaas Hibiscus rosa-sinensisLinn. There is information about the Morphological features, Vernacular names, Microscopic features, Phytochemicals and Therapeutic uses. 
It is explained in karpasadivarga of nighantuadarsha. 
And also in pushpayurveda the therapeutic uses have been explained. 

Its folklore practice is documented in few books like paramparika vaidyarachikits amahitidravyakosha in Karnataka and sarvarogachikitsaratnam in kerala and few other books like flora of shimogaetc.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Allied species:

classical categorization 
  1. bhava prakasha - Pushpa Varga
  2. Shodala Nighantu - Amradi varga
  3. Raja Nighantu - Karaveeradi Varga


Sanskrit: Japa, Japapushpa, Raktapushpi, Japakusuma, Arkapriya, Aruna, Harivallabha, Japapushpa, Java, Joba, Ondrakhya, Pratika, Raktapushpi, Trisandhya
English: Chinese hibiscus, shoe-flower plant , Blackening plant, China rose, Hawaiian Hibiscus English China rose, Shoe flower
Hindi: Jasut, Gurhal, Jasund, Gudhal
Urdu: Gul gurhal taza
Telugu: Dasanamu, Daasaana chettu, Mandara, Daanachettu, Japapushpamu
Bengali: Joba, Javaphul, Jaba
Marathi: Jaswand जासवंद, Jaswand
Konkani: Dosni Phool दोस्णि फुल
Oriya: Mondaro
Gujarathi: Jasuva, Jasus
Tamil: செம்பருத்தி Cembarutti, Cembarutti, Parattai, Arattam, Capakucumam, Uruttiraputpam, Tiruttikkiritam, Ampurukam, Semparathan
Malayalam: Ayamparathi, Chemparati
Kannada: Daasavala, Kempu daasavala, Kempu pundrike
Punjabi: jasum
Arabic: Angira
Spanish: Rosa de China.
Assamese: Rokta-joba
Japanese: Aka-bana, Fusou, Haibisukasu.
Chinese: Zhu jin, Da hong hua, Fo sang, Fu sang.
French: Hibiscus de Chine, Hibiscus rose de Chine , Rose de Chine.
German: Chinesischer Roseneibisch
Burma: Khaung-yan
Nepal: Baarhmaase phuul, Gudahal, Japaa kusum, Japa puspii, Rakta puspi.
Persian: Angira
Sinhalese: Pokuru wada (පොකුරු වද)


Many varieties exist differing in size and color, in single (or) double forms. The important colors include Red, White, Yellow, and Light Red.
There are certain varieties based on flower colour 
Rakta- Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 
Nila-Hibiscus syriacus 
Peeta- Hibiscus brackenridgei 
Shveta-Hibiscus arnottianus 
There are 5000 varieties in china rose.


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia. Called Bunga Raya in Malay, bunga means flower, while raya means celebratory or grand. The red of the petals symbolizes the courage, life and rapid growth of the Malaysian, and the five petals represent the five Rukun Negara of Malaysia. The flower in imprinted on Malaysian ringgit notes and coins. 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: rudhrapushpa Japa, Japapushpa, Raktapushpi, Japakusuma, Arkapriya, Aruna, Harivallabha, Japapushpa, Java, Joba, Ondrakhya, Pratika, Raktapushpi, Trisandhya

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis was named in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum. The Latin term rosa-sinensis literally means "rose of China", though it is not closely related to the true roses.

  1. hema pushpa - yellow reddish flowers
  2. trisandhya - flowers last for 3 evenings
  3. hari vallabha - liked by god Vishnu
  4. rakta pushpa - red flowers

Rasa: Kashaya Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphapittasamaka

One of the many health benefits of hibiscus flower is weight loss The flower is known to contain hydroxycitric acid, which is a compound also found in weight loss pills. It has been proved scientifically as well that the flower has enzyme inhibitors that help in breaking down the complex sugars and starch, resulting in the reduced absorption by the body. Besides, the diuretic and laxative properties of the flower also help you to lose the water weight


Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun or partial shade
Plants will often lose most of their leaves in cool winters, though they will normally regenerate quickly as the warmer weather returns[].
A very variable plant
There are many named forms, selected for their ornamental value


Seed - sow in situ or in containers. Germination is usually quite rapid. Prick out container-grown seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions when they are 10cm or more tall.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood in a frame.
Cuttings taken with a heel of the old wood root easily if placed in a jar of water.


· Harvest the roots and leaves anytime of the year.
· Wash, cut into slices, and sun-dry. The flowers should be collected from May to August, sun-dry


Flowers reported to yield hisbiscetin.
- Flowers yield polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins. 
- Polysaccharides which promote wound healing and are immune-modulating.
- Studies have isolated flavonoids, cyanidin, quercetin, hentriacontane, calcium oxalate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid.
- Constituent study of flowers yielded total anthocyanin of 165 mg/kg; tannin, ascorbic acid, and total polyphenol were 11.8g/kg, 478 mg/kg, and 14.4 mg/g respectively. Screening also yielded alkaloids and saponins. 
- Analysis of flowers in grams (g) or milligrams (mg) per 100g yielded: 0 calories per 100g, water 89-8%, protein 0.06g, fat o.4g, carbohydrate 0g, fiber 1.56g, ash 0g; minerals - calcium 4mg, phosphorus 27 mg, iron 1.7 mg; vitamins A 0mg, thiamine 0.03mg, riboflavin 0,05mg, niacin 0.6mg, vitamin C 4.2mg.|
- Phytochemical screening of methanol extract of flowers yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, carbohydrates, phytosterols, phenolic compound, tannins, saponins, proteins, and amino acids. 
- Phytochemical screening of leaf extracts yielded tannins (+++), combined anthraquinones (+++), cardiac glycosides (+++) and alkaloids (+) in lesser concentration. Mineral composition in mg/g showed Ca 772.57±0.01, K 181.00±0.50, P 42.38±0.01, Na 0.33±0.09 Mn 2.40±0.03. 
- Proximate analysis of fresh leaves yielded moisture content (9.03%), protein (10.44%), fat (6.43%), crude fiber (11.55%), ash (11.22%), and carbohydrate (51.33%). Inorganic content yielded cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), arsenic (As), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn)


important formulations
1. patrangasava
2. Chemparuthyadi keratailam
3. Japa taila

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Flower, Leaves, Root, ,


  1.  Flower—10—20 g paste.
  2. leaf paste - 10 - 20 g
  3. flower powder - 10 g


Young leaves are sometimes used as a spinach substitute.


The drug powder is adulterated with H.schizopetalus Hook.f., H. mutabilis Linn. And Malvaviscusmollis DC. The genuine drug can be distinguished on the basis of various types of trichomes.

Commercial value:

Retail market price – dried flowers – Rs. 50/- per kg (2001) 
Amazon online – Dried flower -150/- 100gm 
 Powder - 180/- 100gm
The dried powder is used as shoe shine or polish hence its called as shoe flower. 
Many of herbal tea powder contains hibiscus dry flower powder.


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is native to Tropical Asia. It is an evergreen woody, glabrous, showy shrub 5- 8 feet in height.

Leaves: Leaves are simple ovate or ovate- lanceolate. Leaves are entire at the base and coarsely toothed at the apex. Taste is mucilaginous.

Flowers: Flowers are pedicillate, actinomorphic, pentamerous and complete. Corolla consists of 5 petals, red in color and about 3 inches in diameter.

Roots: Cylindrical of 5-15 cm length and 2 cm in diameter, off white in color light brown transverse lenticies. Its fracture is fibrous. Roots taste sweet and mucilaginous.


5 to 8 bracteoles outer to the calyx. They are green and free.

Sepals 5, green, gamosepalous showing valvate aestivation and odd sepal is posterior in position.

Petals 5, variously coloured, polypetalous but fused at the base and showing twisted aestivation.


Numerous stamens, monadelphous, filaments are fused to form a staminal tube around the style. Staminal tube is red. Anthers are monothecous, reniform, yellow, transversely attached to the filament, dehisce transversely and extrorse.


Ovary superior, pentacarpellary and syncarpous. Ovary pentalocular with many ovules per locule on axile placentation. Style simple, long, slender and passes through the staminal tube. Stigma 5, capitate and coloured.

Geographical distribution:

Probably arising in tropical Asia, it has long been cultivated and its original habitat is obscure.


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is widely cultivated as an ornamental shrub.
It can grow on a wide variety of soils, in full sun and half shade.

Plant conservation:

Not threatened

General Use:

The flowers are aphrodisiac, demulcent, emmenagogue, emollient and refrigerant. They are used internally in the treatment of excessive and painful menstruation, cystitis, venereal diseases, feverish illnesses, bronchial catarrh, coughs and to promote hair growth. An infusion of the flowers is given as a cooling drink to ill people

The leaves are anodyne, aperient, emollient and laxative. A decoction is used as a lotion in the treatment of fevers. A preparation from the leaves is used to treat postpartum relapse sickness, to treat boils, sores and inflammations.

Therapeutic Uses:

The leaves have anodyne, antidotal, demulcent, expectorant and refrigerant properties. Flowers are used as depurative, febrifuge, pulmonary and stimulant properties. This part is also used in the treatment of burns, pectoral and pulmonary complaints, swellings and other skin problems. A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of lung ailments. This plant is recommended for chronic cough, menorrhagia, dysuria and wound caused by burn and scalds. Flowers are a good source of vitamins, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and cyaniding diglucoside.

Systemic Use:

The leaves and flowers are beaten into a paste and poulticed onto cancerous swellings and mumps. The flowers are used in the treatment of carbuncles, mumps, fever and sores

The root is a good source of mucilage and is used as a substitute for marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) in the treatment of coughs and colds. A decoction of the root is used to treat sore eyes. A paste made from the root is used in the treatment of venereal diseases


leaf paste
flower paste


· Considered emollient, emmenagogue, anodyne, expectorant, refrigerant.
· Anti-infectious, anthelmintic, antiinflammatory, diuretic, antipyretic.
· Hypotensive, antispasmodic.
· Prepared drug has sweet taste, neutral natured.
· The Hibiscus with five petals noted for its medicinal properties, the flowers are considered astringent. The roots contain a mucilage that is soothing on the mucous membranes of the digestive and respiratory tracts.
· Proanthocyanidins are considered antioxidant, antipyretic, analgesic, spasmolytic.

Clinical trials:

1. Study on prevention of two-stage skin carcinogenesis by Hibiscus rosa sinensis extract and the role of its chemical constituent, gentisic acid, in the inhibition of tumour promotion response and oxidative stress in mice / Sharma S, Khan N, Sultana S / Eur J Cancer Prev. 2004 Feb;13(1):53-63.

2. Acute and Chronic Effect of Hibiscus rosa sinensis Flower Extract on Anxiety Induced Exploratory and Locomotor Activity in Mice / Khan Mohammed Junaid, Ajazuddin , Vyas Amber, Singh Manju and Singh Deependra / Journal of Plant Sciences, 2011, Vol 6, No. 2, Pp 102-107 / DOI: 10.3923/jps.2011.102.107

3. Analgesic Activity of Hibiscus rosa sinensis Linn in Rat / Alka Sawarkar, C R Jangle, P D Thakre et al / Veterinary World, Vol.2(9):353-354

4. In vivo and in vitro evaluation of hair growth potential of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn / N Adhirajan, T Ravi kumar, N Shanmugasundaram, Mary Babu / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 88 (2003) 235–239


1. FIBRINOLYTIC ACTIVITY OF HIBISCUS ROSA SINENSIS / A. Aruna*, P. Meenakshipriya, S. Padma Thanga Parameswari, R. Meera, P. Devi and K. Nagarajan / IJPCBS 2013, 3(3), 530-532

ROSA SINENSIS LINN LEAVES ON TRITON WR 1339 INDUCED HYPERLIPIDEMIC MICE MODEL / RITU MISHRA*, S M KARMARKAR, A M BHAGWAT / Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research Vol 4, Suppl 2, 2011 

3. Evaluation of the wound-healing activity of Hibiscus rosa sinensis L (Malvaceae) in Wistar albino rats / Anusha Bhaskar, V Nithya / Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 2012, Vol 44, Issue 6, Pp 694-698.


5. Hemidesmus indicus and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Affect Ischemia Reperfusion Injury in Isolated Rat Hearts / Vinoth Kumar Megraj Khandelwal, R. Balaraman, Dezider Pancza, and Táňa Ravingerová / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011) /


Internal use of Gudhal is contraindicated in small children and pregnant or lactating women.

Toxicity studies:

Eating 10 flower buds daily cause abortion.

Do not use in pregnancy.
It can cause abortion.
Do not use while trying to have baby.
It reduces fertility in both males and females.
In males, it reduces sperm production.
In females, it reduces ovulation, prevents implantation and causes miscarriage.

Use in other system of medicine:

· In the Philippines, flower buds, beaten to a paste, applied as poultice to boils, cancerous swellings, and mumps.
·Poultice of leaves and flower buds applied externally to swellings; the same mixture, with the addition of lime, hastens the maturation of tumors.
· Mumps, infection of the urinary tract: use dried drug materials 15 to 30 gms, boil to decoction and drink.
· For abscesses, carbuncles and boils: crush fresh leaves and poultice the infected area. 
· Decoction of roots, barks, leaves and flowers used as an emollient.
· Decoction from roots of red and white-flowered plants is a Kelantan antidote for poison. Same decoction is drunk for venereal diseases and fevers.
· Decoction of roots also used for coughs.
· Decoction of flowers and or roots used as natural diuretic.
· Bark is an emmenagogue; also used to normalize menstruation.
· Malays uses a decoction of leaves as a lotion for fevers, and the roots for glands in the neck.
· Infusion or poultice of leaves used for headaches.
· Flowers and leaves used as antiseptic for boils and ulcers. Leaves used as poultice for abscess and ulcers.
· In China, leaves used as emollient, anodyne, and a gentle aperient.
· Decoction of root used as drops for sore eyes.
· Seeds used as a stimulant and for cramps.
· Decoction of leaves for fevers.
· For headaches, an infusion of leaves or poultice of leaves.
· Leaves are mildly laxative.
· Mucilage applied during labor.
· Juice of leaves, along with that of Vernonia cinerea, used by midwives to stimulate the expulsion of the placenta
· In the Dutch Indies the red flowers are used to regulate menstruation; also, considered somewhat purgative and sometimes said to cause abortion
· In Sind, flowers are fried in clarified butter and used for checking excessive menstruation
· Red flowers used for sprue.
· Infusion of flowers and leaves used as expectorant in bronchitis
· The Chinese and Annamites use the flowers for paralysis and dysmenorrhea.
· Infusion of flowers, exposed all night to the dew, used for gonorrhea.
· Flowers fried in ghee, given for menorrhagia. The dark red petals are used as a mucilaginous infusion for painful urination, strangury, cystitis, and other irritable genitourinary conditions
· Infusion used as a refrigerant drink for fevers and as demulcent for coughs.
· Red flowers are purgative; when taken with papaya seeds, may be abortive.
· Hair stimulant: oil made by mixing the juice of fresh petals and olive oil in equal proportions, and boiled till the water has evaporated, used for stimulating hair growth.
· Seeds, pounded to a pulp and mixed with water, used for gonorrhea. 
· In Costa Rica, used as a purgative.
· In Venezuela, used to treat tumors.
· In the Caribbean, used as analgesic, anti-inflammatory.
· In the Dominican Republic, used to treat hematomas.
· Dye / Coloring: In Ceylon, juice of flowers reported to serve as shoe-blackening. Chinese and Hindus use the juice of petals for blackening of their eyebrows. Flowers used as food coloring.
· Fibers: Bark contains strong bast fibers. 


Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, known colloquially as Chinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus, rose mallow and shoeblackplant, is a species of tropical hibiscus, a flowering plant in the Hibisceae tribe of the family Malvaceae. It is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, but is not known in the wild, so that its native distribution is uncertain An origin in some part of tropical Asia is likely.The flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are edible and are used in salads in the Pacific Islands. The flower is additionally used in hair care as a preparation. It is also used to shine shoes in certain parts of India. It can also be used as a pH indicator. 

Ayurvedic Formulations:

Common Ayurvedic Formulations of japa with their Indications
Lala Dawasaz Herbal Hair Oil
Rovaan Herbal Shampoo
Hairvit Oil

Photos of japa -

KEY WORDS: japa Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn.

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