Roselle benefits: Hibiscus is a botanical genus that consists of some 200 species, many of these being used as ornamental plants in gardens and parks because of their beautiful flowers. From a medicinal point of view, the most used species of this genus are, apart from roselle (species sabdarifa), abelmosk (Hibiscus abelmoschus L.), rose of China (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.), and corkwood (Hibiscus tiliaceus L.).
Roselle Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name –Hibiscus sabdariffa L.
- Other Names – Jamaica sorrel, guinea sorrel.
- French – Karkadé.
- Spanish – Hibisco.
- Environment – Native to Sudan, it is cultivated in Egypt, Sri Lanka, and tropical areas of Mexico.
- Description – Shrub of the Malvaceae family, which grows up to two meters high. Its leaves have from three to five lobules and yellow or reddish flowers.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The flowers with their calyx.
The sepals of roselle flowers contain hibiscus acid, a mixture of organic acids (malic, citric, and tartaric), and a red coloring substance with the following properties:
- Invigorating and digestive – Because of their content in organic acids, roselle infusion has a stimulant effect on the digestive function and a stimulating effect on the whole body.
- Mildly laxative – The emollient (soothing) properties of roselle on the digestive mucous membrane causes an easing of the intestinal evacuation.
- Diuretic – The roselle flowers have a mild, however practical, diuretic effect, thus being recommended for people suffering from obesity and heart disorders.
- Natural sedative – The mild acid flavor of roselle and the red coloring its flowers give to other substances are two reasons these flowers are used as a natural additive to enhance the appearance and taste of medicinal herbs or prepared meals.
Corkwood (Hibiscus tiliaceus L.) grows in tropical America, where it is known by many local names. The fibers of its bark are used for rope and sack making, and its leaves as fodder. Both the flowers and the bark of the corkwood root have emollient (alleviate the inflammation of the mucous membranes) and laxative properties on the digestive ways.
How to use Roselle
- Infusion with a handful of flowers (with their calyx) per liter of water. Sweeten and take it cold as any soft drink.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 363. Print. [roselle benefits]