Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) is a species of Hibiscus probably native to West Africa, and now widely naturalized in tropical and subtropical regions of the world particularly in India and Southeast Asia. China and Thailand are the leading producers and dominate much of the world supply. Roselle is used for the production of bast fibre and as an infusion, in which it may be known as carcade. It is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2-2.5 m (7-8 ft) tall.
Apart from their delightful taste, Roselle is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 57 gram of roselle offers 123 mg of Calcium, 0.84 mg of Iron, 6.8 mg of Vitamin C, 29 mg of Magnesium, 6.45 g of Carbohydrate, 21 mg of Phosphorus, 119 mg of Potassium, 0.016 mg of Vitamin B2 and 8 g of Vitamin A.
A large variety of compounds have been isolated from the hibiscus plant. As expected from their vivid color, hibiscus flowers contain various polyphenols, including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonols, and other pigments. Oxalic, malic, citric, stearic, and tartaric acids have been identified and are, along with 15% to 28% of hibiscic or hibiscus acid (lactone of hydroxycitric acid), most likely contribute to the tartness of the herb and its teas.
The leaves and calyces have been used as food and the flowers steeped for tea. Hibiscus has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative, as well as in treating cancer and cardiac and nerve diseases. Although information is limited, the potential for hibiscus use in treating hypertension and cancer, as well as for its lipid-lowering and renal effects, are being investigated.
Roselle has been used as a therapeutic plant for centuries. Traditionally, extracts treat toothaches, urinary tract infections, colds, and even hangovers. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Roselle.