Roselle flower buds

Chinese: 玫瑰茄

Pinyin: Méi Gui Qié

Parts used: Dried flower buds

TCM category: Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Sour

Meridian affinity: Kidney

Scientific name: Hibiscus sabdariffa

Other names: Belchanda, Tengamora, Gal-da, Amile, Hanserong, Sougri, Dachang, Datchang, Gongura, Saril, Flor de Jamaica, Jamaica sorrel or Luo Shen Hua.

Use of roselle flower buds (Mei Gui Qie) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitionner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Take the flower buds together with the fruit and let it dry for 1 day. After the water is shrunk, take out the flower buds and put them on a clean straw mat or bamboo stalk.

Dosage: 9-15 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Eases hypertension and hangover. Eases coughing due to Lung Qi deficiency.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which roselle flower buds may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Hypertension Coughing Hangover

Key TCM concepts behind roselle flower buds (Mei Gui Qie)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), roselle flower buds are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing' category. In TCM Phlegm is a condition of Stagnation of Fluids which tends to start in the Spleen and then goes to the Lungs. If this overly accumulates it thickens and becomes pathological Phlegm. Phlegm, being a form of Stagnation, often starts as being Cool and transforms to Hot as the condition progresses. Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing treat branch symptoms of this Stagnation and tend to have antitussive, expectorant, diuretic or laxative properties.

Furthermore roselle flower buds are plants that are Cool in nature. This means that roselle flower buds tend to help people who have too much "heat" in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much heat in their body are said to either have a Yang excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition roselle flower buds can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Roselle flower buds also taste Sour. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sour ingredients like roselle flower buds help with digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of fluids from the body, such as diarrhea or heavy sweating.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such roselle flower buds are thought to target the Kidney. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body.

Research on roselle flower buds (Mei Gui Qie)

A meta-survey on the effect of Roselle on hypertension suggests a typical reduction in blood pressure of around 7.5/3.5 units (systolic/diastolic).1

Sources:

1. Serban C, Sahebkar A, Ursoniu S, Andrica F, Banach M (2015). "Effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) on arterial hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Journal of Hypertension (33.6). doi:10.1097/HJH.0000000000000585.