HIBISCUS CANNABINUS Linn.
Local names: Alas doce (Sp., Tag.); brown Indian hemp (Engl.).
Alas doce is occasionally planted for ornamental purposes but is scarcely naturalized. It has been found only in Bontoc and Pangasinan Provinces, and in Manila. It is a native of the Old World and is pantropic in cultivation.
This is a herb with smooth and prickly stems. The lower leaves are entire and heart-shaped and the upper ones are deeply palmately-lobed. The sepals are bristly, lanceolate, and connate below the middle, with a gland at the back of each leaves. The corolla is large, spreading and yellow with a crimson center. The capsules are rounded and bristly. The seeds are nearly smooth.
According to Dymock this is cultivated for its fiber, and the leaves are used as a pot-herb.
Wehmer records that the seeds yield 23.5 percent of fixed oil. The whole plant contains abundant polysaccharides, 9.7 percent; starch, dextrin; much pectin; tannin; phosphatide; protein; etc.
Nadkarni states that the leaves are purgative. Holland says that their infusion is used in Gambia as a remedy for coughs.
Chopra affirms that the flowers are used in biliousness and constipation.
According to Kirtikar and Basu and Nadkarni, the seeds yield an edible oil – the Habel-zalim of Persia —, which is used as an external application to pains and bruises; internally it is said to be aphrodisiac and fattening.