Roselle is usually sold in dry form in the market. Therefore, when these fresh lovely maroon fruits caught my eyes during my trip to Singkawang, West Kalimantan, I just cannot resist bringing them home.
You can make roselle tea by steeping parts of the plant in boiling water, particularly the calyx. It has a distinct maroon color along with sweet and tart flavor similar to that of cranberries. You can enjoy the tea both hot and cold depending on your preferences like most other teas.
Other name(s) : Abelmoschus Cruentus, Agua de Jamaica, Ambashthaki, Bissap, Erragogu, Flor de Jamaica, Florida cranberry, Furcaria Sabdariffa, Gongura, Groseille de Guinée, Guinea Sorrel, Hibisco, Hibiscus Calyx, Hibiscus Cruentus, Hibiscus Fraternus, Hibiscus Palmatilobus, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Jamaica Sorrel, Karkade, Karkadé, Lo Shen, Oseille de Guinée, Oseille Rouge, Pulicha Keerai, Red Sorrel, Red Tea, Rosa de Jamaica, Rosella, Roselle, Sabdariffa Rubra Sour Tea, Sudanese Tea, Te de Jamaica, Thé Rose d’Abyssinie, Thé Rouge, Zobo, Zobo Tea.
Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus that grows in a tropical climate. The plant reaches to about two meters in height, has beautiful bright white to pale yellow flowers and a stout fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. Roselle is famous for producing edible calyx that can be used in beverages. The calyx is the red colored pointed pods found on the hibiscus that protect and support the hibiscus plant. It tastes sweet and should be picked 10 to 15 days after they lose its blooms, or else it will taste more tart.
Health Benefits of Roselle Tea
Research has uncovered some health benefits linked to drinking roselle tea.
1. Control blood pressure
A study suggests that roselle tea has antihypertensive and cardioprotective properties, which can be beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, it has diuretic properties that increase urination and simultaneously lower blood pressure.
2. Aid in weight loss
Roselle contains a substance that can inhibit the production of amylase, an enzyme in the body that functions to break down complex sugar and starch molecules in food. Drinking roselle tea regularly can thus prevent too much absorption of carbohydrates and aid in weight loss.
3. Combat cough cold
Roselle contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat cough and cold. Given that roselle is a great source of vitamins C and antioxidants, it is an ideal boost to the immune system, helping to relieve cold and flu symptoms quickly.
4. Prevent constipation
Magnesium in the roselle provides quick relief from constipation. It helps in relaxing the intestinal muscles, thus helping to establish a smoother rhythm while passing bowels.
Side Effects of Roselle Tea
Just like anything you consume, drinking roselle tea in moderation is the key. Consuming high doses of roselle extract can lead to dizziness and faintness. Those with low blood sugars should not consume much. Since roselle tea induces menstruation, pregnant women should avoid drinking thyme tea, for fear of possible miscarriages. Most importantly, individuals who drink herbal tea should let their doctors know to avoid complications and side effects.
Drying roselle is an easy way to preserve it for year-round use. The petal-like calyces are the edible parts of fresh roselle. You can easily peel calyces off from the center of the roselle. If the weather is sunny and warm, dry roselle in direct sunlight on a dry surface for about 1-2 days. At dusk, bring it inside to prevent it from getting damp. It is ready to store when they are completely dry and crumble when crushed. Meanwhile, if the weather is bad, use a dehydrator or oven on it’s lowest setting. When your roselle is completely dried, transfer it to an airtight lid and store in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. They will last for several months.
If you do not have fresh roselle around, you can get dried roselle online at Amazon.
- 25 fresh roselles
- 8 cups filtered water
- honey or sugar (optional)
Peel calyces and discard the seed pods. Rinse the calyces.
Add calyces into boiling water and boil for 5-10 minutes.
Strain and discard the calyces. Add honey or sugar to sweeten. Serve warm or chilled or with ice cubes.