Scientific name: Hibiscus Sabdariffa
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a hibiscus of the mallow family, originating from Tropical Africa, from Egypt and Sudan to Senegal, although, due to its medicinal properties or its infused flavor, it is cultivated throughout the world as Southeast Asia, including southern China. It is highly cultivated in Mexico. It is known by the common names of Guinea red sorrel, Jamaican rose, Abyssinian rose, Jamaican flower, rosella, in Cuba as sour Guinea or hallelujah and in Panama as saril.
In this species two types of cultivars are distinguished by their bearing: one with highly branched stems and a succulent calyx; another of straight stems without branches, often with thorns, which include fiber cultivars.4 It is typical of dry subtropical, mountainous, thorny scrub climates. The leaves, tri or pentalobed, are about 15 cm long, alternate on the stem, and the flowers, red at the base and paler at the ends, are 8 to 10 cm in diameter, although the most notable of the plant is the calyx, fleshy and with an intense red color, rich in malic acid.
The flower has a high content of organic acids, including citric, malic and tartaric.The infusion of Jamaican flowers is wine red, due to its anthocyanin content.
Initially, this plant was cultivated to obtain the fiber that was extracted from its hard stems, used as a substitute for jute used to make burlap.
Later, the calyces of the plant were used as food coloring, especially in Germany, but they are easy to find in the markets of France, used by the Senegalese community as flowers or syrup. Green leaves are used as a kind of spicy spinach that Senegalese sometimes add to rice and their country's national dish, the tiéboudienne, of rice with fish.
The chalices are harvested when they acquire a wine-like hue, and are allowed to dry for use primarily in the preparation of caffeine-free soft drinks or jams. Due to its organoleptic characteristics, the extract is frequently used as a flavor corrector for other beverages or medications.
Jamaica rose is attributed with diuretic, antihypertensive, antiparasitic and slightly laxative properties. The effectiveness of an aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa in the treatment of mild to moderate arterial hypertension was confirmed in a clinical study involving 39 patients.