African Botanical Extracts – Volume 3 ~ (Article 3 of 6)

African Botanical Extracts – Volume 3 ~ (Article 3 of 6)

by Dr. Marli Botha

Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle is a tropical plant thought to be native to Africa.  With the increasing summer heat, the obsession for refreshing herbal beverages grows right alongside it. There’s nothing quite like a cooling drink like hibiscus syrup, which can be combined with fizzy water.

Here are 5 more interesting facts about Hibiscus sabdariffa:

  1. It’s important to know what you are using. There are many plants that are commonly called hibiscus; however they are not interchangeable with Hibiscus sabdariffa.
  2. Its rural red tea has a fresh distinct floral cranberry-like flavour which is naturally caffeine free. The tea is rich in the polyphenolic colourant, anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is known to be a rich source of antioxidants. Therefore Hibiscus is widely used for beauty and immune system supporting products.
  3. Fleshy red calyxes of Roselle are commonly used for the production of soft drinks, tonic waters, juice, jam, jelly, syrup and also dried and brewed into spice. These are rich in carotene, riboflavin, anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, niacin, calcium, iron and vitamin C.
  4. Other major identified phenolic compounds include neochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, cryptochlorogenic acid, caffeoylshikimic acid and flavonoid compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol and their derivatives. 
  5. Roselle is used in many folk medicines. It is valued for its relief during hot weather and treatment of cracks in the heels of feet.

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