Dallas, TX (PressExposure) June 09, 2009 -- Remember the days in which we used to play in the streets, playing tumbang-preso and mataya-taya with our friends, drinking from straight from the hose or the faucet when we get thirsty. And do you remember that red-pinkish flower, with an antenna sort-of-thing protruding from the center that we used to put into the water and produce bubbles with it? Well did you know that that flower is one of the Philippines' unique species of flower? That's right, the Gumamela.
The Gumamela flowers Philippines, or also known to other countries as Hibiscus, rosemallow or Jamaica, is one of the most familiar flowers in the Philippines, as it is a favorite ornamental plant in many Filipino gardens. A native of the Old World, it is now pantropic in distribution and is widely cultivated in the country.
The gumamela flowers Philippines are also used for other things. One species of Hibiscus, known as Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is extensively used in paper making. Another, roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable and to make herbal teas and jams (especially in the Caribbean).
Other than here in the Philippines, the gumamela flower is also popular in other countries such as in Mexico which is considered as a health drink. The drink is known as agua de Jamaica and is quite popular for its color, tanginess and mild flavor; once sugar is added, it tastes somewhat like cranberry juice. Dieters or persons with kidney problems often take it without adding sugar for its beneficial properties and as a natural diuretic. It is made by boiling the dehydrated flowers in water; once it is boiled, it is allowed to cool and drunk with ice. The flowers also also used to add flavor to the end of year punch, along with many other plants as cinnamon, guava and sugar cane.
In the Philippines, the gumamela (local name for hibiscus) is used by children as part of a bubble-making pastime. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky juices come out. Hollow papaya stalks are then dipped into this and used as straws for blowing bubbles. The flower has also been used as a poultice to boils, cancerous swellings and mumps. A decoction of the roots is used as internal medicine for venereal diseases and fevers, while the leaves are used as a lotion for fevers and headache.