The Gumamela is one of my favorite flowers because of its aesthetic appeal. Seeing this flower also brings about images of being near the beach, with sunny skies and warm weather. The state flower of Hawaii, it is also widely cultivated in the Philippines for ornamental purposes.
The utility and medicinal properties of the Gumamela's flower, leaves and roots have been known since ancient times. It is also known as Shoeflower, because in the olden days the juice of its flower would be used to shine shoes.
Not only does it possess much ornamental and aesthetic value, but once you find out how you can benefit from its medicinal properties, you just might consider growing this shrub in your home garden. You never know when you might run out of Bisolvon. And, knock on wood, if you ever get *un*lucky and get (gasp!)... gonnorhea!
A decoction of the flowers and/or leaves can be used to treat bronchitis, cough, fever, urinary and bladder infections, high blood pressure, constipation, menstrual pain, and as an aphrodisiac.
A poultice can be applied to treat mumps, headaches, swellings, boils, and carbuncles.
Decoctions of the roots of the red and white flowers, in particular, can be used to treat venereal diseases, and as an antidote to poison.
And for those who need (or want) to stimulate hair growth (on your head, where else?!): mix equal portions the juice of the flowers and olive oil, boil until the water has evaporated, and apply.