Did you know that the sorrel plant is also cultivated for the production of bast fiber from its stem? The fiber can be used in making cordage for burlap.
In India, it is primarily cultivated for its bast fibers. But has also been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative. The leaves are mixed with green chillies, salt and some garlic to prepare a chutney which is served with sorghum or millet made as a flat bread. This is eaten by farmers as breakfast to start their day. The leaves are also steamed with lentils and cooked with dal. Another unique dish is prepared by mixing fried leaves with spices. The bright red petal of the fruit is also used for chutney which is sweet and sour in taste. Roselle is also commonly made into a type of pickle. In northeast India almost every household has this plant in their homes.
In Burmese cuisine, the Roselle is widely used. It is perhaps the most widely eaten and popular vegetable in Myanmar. The leaves are fried with garlic, prawns and green chili or cooked with fish. A light soup made from Roselle leaves and dried prawn stock is also a popular dish. In Burma, the buds of the Roselle are made into preserved fruits or jams.
In the Philippines, the leaves and flowers are used to add sourness to one of their iconic chicken dishes. In Vietnam, the young leaves, stems and fruits are used for cooking soups with fish or eel.
In Mali, it is the main ingredient in at least two dishes, one where rice is slowly cooked in a broth containing the leaves and lamb, and the other dish where the leaves are cooked in a tomato sauce, also including lamb. In the central African nations of Congo and Gabon the leaves are used puréed, or in a sauce, often with fish and/or aubergines.
The red calyces of the plant are increasingly exported to the United States and Europe, particularly Germany, where they are used as food coloring. Thanks to a Senegalese community in France, it can be found in French markets as syrup. The green leaves are used like a spicy version of spinach. They give flavour to the Senegalese typical dish of fish and rice.
Brazilians attribute an increase of appetite properties to the bitter roots.
In the Caribbean, a drink is made from the Roselle fruit. It is prepared by boiling fresh, frozen or dried Roselle fruit in water for 8 to 10 minutes, then adding sugar. Bay leaves and clover may also be added during boiling. It is often served chilled. This drink is also commonly consumed in Mexico and Central America.
In Africa calyces are used to prepare cold, sweet drinks popular in social events, often mixed with mint leaves, dissolved menthol candy, and/or fruit flavors. In the Middle East it is consumed as a cold drink made by soaking the dried calyces in cold water overnight in a refrigerator with sugar and some lemon or lime juice added. It is then consumed with or without ice cubes after the flowers have been strained. In Lebanon, toasted pine nuts are sometimes added.
Roselle is also used in Nigeria to make a refreshing drink with natural fruit juices of pineapple and watermelon added. But also it is used to make rosella jam, which has been made since colonial times.
But there still so much more to say about this humble plant. The entire plant is edible!. Roselle has been used as a therapeutic plant for centuries. It provides relief from cramps and menstrual pain and helps in restoring hormonal balance. Fresh or dried flowers of Roselle contain high quantities of Vitamin C, which boosts immune system. It is also anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial properties. It helps to calm down the nervous system and helps to reduce anxiety and depression. The seed capsule in the Roselle fruit is known for its diuretic and tonic properties, it increases both urination and bowel movements, treats constipation and prevents colorectal cancer.
Roselle or Sorrel is also rich in phosphorus. Phosphorus along with calcium is essential to the formation and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. It also contains Potassium, which helps to control electrical activity of muscles including the heart and regulation of our body fluids. Other health benefits include relief from high blood pressure, stroke and other heart disorders as well as regulation of blood sugar levels. Potassium also supports kidney functions.
This humble plant helps your body to break down your food and decrease absorption of carbohydrates assisting in keeping the weight stable or improving the journey of weight loss.