Health Benefits of Sorrel Roselle
Sorrell Roselle, also known as Jamaica sorrel is a member of the hibiscus family, crammed with a multitude of vitamins, minerals, calcium and falvonoids
Sorrel Roselle helps to reduce the viscosity of blood and lowers blood pressure
Sorrel Roselle is a member of the hibiscus family of which there are three hundred different species world wide.
Sorrel Roselle belongs to the hibiscus family and is also known in various parts of the world as Jamaica sorrel, India sorrel, Guinea sorrel, Florida Cranberry amongst others. The Jamaica sorrel variety is the commonest type, native to the region stretching from Malaysia to India. However, it is also grown in many other parts of the globe including Mexico, Thailand and parts of Africa, with the Chinese being the most prolific cultivators.
Extensive research has been undertaken by the Scientific Research Council (SRC) and the University of the West Indies, in an effort to find scientific evidence to underpin long established notions surrounding folklore claims of its health benefits and alleged significant medicinal value. Researchers have so far been able to establish that Sorrel Roselle contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, Niacin, riboflavin and flavonoids.
It is believed to contain gossypetin, anthocyanins and glycoside hibiscin, which are known to be effective diuretic able to stimulate the production of urine in cases where urine retention is an issue. It is believed to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, help to reduce the viscosity (thickness) of blood and stimulate peristaltic movements in the intestines. Also effective at relieving coughs, stimulating the production of bile in the liver, it helps to suppress the appetite and is said to be effective as a mild laxative. In some parts of Africa the leaves are also used as a poultice to extract pus from boils, ulcers and infected wounds, whilst in the Philippines it is used as an aperitif and health giving tonic.
Sorrel can be used in many ways. The commonest way is to infuse in water and drink. It can also be eaten raw in salads, cooked in the same way as greens and eaten as a vegetable, added to curries as a flavour enhancing seasoning and in Queensland, Australia it is made into jam and exported to Europe where there is a very vibrant market. In many of the Caribbean islands it is made into a very popular traditional Christmas drink where the festivities are considered incomplete if sorrel was not part of the celebrations.
The drink is prepared by first thoroughly washing the sorrel and placing it in a saucepan filled with water. In the water a few heads of cloves, a few sticks of cinnamon, and a small piece of ginger are also placed then boil for twenty minutes. It is then allowed to thoroughly cool, after which a few drops of vanilla essence is added, sugar to taste and a dash of Angostura bitters which gives it its Caribbean edge. The brew is then bottled and refrigerate. Alcohol is frequently added to compliment and enhance the flavour, making it an altogether delicious and refreshing drink that is truly and deliciously Caribbean.