|Roselle plant at Wave Hill, Bronx, New York, 2014, showing leaf, flower, bud and dark red calyces|
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Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus probably native to West Africa, 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. The leaves are deeply three- to five-lobed, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long, arranged alternately on the stems.
The flowers are 8–10 cm (3–4 in) in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) wide, enlarging to 3–3.5 cm (1.2–1.4 in), fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. They take about six months to mature.
The roselle is known as the rosella or rosella fruit in Australia. It is known as 'Belchanda' among Nepalese, Tengamora among Assamese, "mwitha" among Bodo tribals in Assam, "mesta tenga" among Rabha tribe, "hanserong" among Karbi tribals in Assam, চুকর Chukor in Bengali, Anthuk or Sougri in Manipur, గోంగూర Gongura in Telugu, also called as ఆంధ్రమాత "Andhra Matha" or "Andhra Sakhambari Varapradasadam" in Telugu, "புளிச்சைக் கீரை" in Tamil, ಪುಂಡಿ in Kannada, Ambadi in Marathi, LalChatni or Kutrum in Mithila Mathipuli in Kerala, ချဉ်ပေါင် chin baung in Burma, กระเจี๊ยบ krajiab, กระเจี๊ยบแดง krajiab daeng, or กระเจี๊ยบเปรี้ยว krajiab priaw in Thailand, sobolo in Ghana, ສົ້ມພໍດີ som phor dee in Lao PDR, ស្លឹកជូរ /slɜk cuː/, សណ្តាន់ទេស /sɑndan tẹːh/ or ម្ជូរបារាំង /məcuː baraŋ/ in Cambodia, bissap in Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, Réunion, the Congo and France, dah or dah bleni in other parts of Mali, wonjo in the Gambia, zobo in western Nigeria (the Yorubas in Nigeria call the white variety Isapa (pronounced Ishapa)), Zoborodo in northern Nigeria, karkanji in Chad, foléré in Cameroon, Chaye-Torosh in Iran, karkade (كركديه; Arabic pronunciation: [ˈkarkade]) in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, omutete in Namibia, sorrel in the Caribbean and in Latin America, Sjuru (or Sjoeroe) in Suriname, Flor de Jamaica in Mexico, Saril in Panama, grosella in Paraguay and vinagreira, caruru-azedo or quiabo-roxo in Brazil, Rosela in Indonesia, asam belanda in Malaysia. In Mandarin Chinese it is 玫瑰茄 (méi guī qié)or 洛神花（luò shén huā）. In Zambia the plant is called lumanda in ciBemba, Sindambi in Silozi, katolo in kiKaonde, or wusi in chiLunda. In Garo Hills, Meghalaya it is known 'galda'. In the Philippines, Rizal province, it is known as "Guragod", in Panay- and mainly Ilonggo-speaking parts of Mindanao, as "Labug or Labog". It is "ချဉ်ပေါင်" (Chin-pown) in Myanmar.
The plant is primarily cultivated for the production of bast fibre from the stem. The fibre may be used as a substitute for jute in making burlap. Hibiscus, specifically roselle, has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic and mild laxative.
The red calyces of the plant are increasingly exported to the United States and Europe, particularly Germany, where they are used as food colourings. It can be found in markets (as flowers or syrup) in places, such as France, where there are Senegalese immigrant communities. The green leaves are used like a spicy version of spinach. They give flavour to the Senegalese fish and rice dish thieboudienne. Proper records are not kept, but the Senegalese government estimates national production and consumption at 700 t (770 short tons) per year.  In Burma their green leaves are the main ingredient in chin baung kyaw curry.
Brazilians attribute stomachic, emollient, and resolutive properties to the bitter roots.
In Andhra cuisine, roselle is called gongura and is extensively used. The leaves are steamed with lentils and cooked with dal. Another unique dish is prepared by mixing fried leaves with spices and made into a gongura pacchadi, the most famous dish of Andhra cuisine that is often described as king of all Andhra foods.
In Burmese cuisine, called chin baung ywet (lit. sour leaf), the roselle is widely used and considered affordable. It is perhaps the most widely eaten and popular vegetable in Burma. The leaves are fried with garlic, dried or fresh prawns and green chili or cooked with fish. A light soup made from roselle leaves and dried prawn stock is also a popular dish.
Among the Paites tribe of the Manipur hibiscus sabdariffa and hibiscus cannabinus locally known as 'anthuk' are cooked along with chicken, fish, crab or pork or any meat, and cooked as a soup as one of their traditional cuisines.
In the Philippines, the leaves and flowers are used to add sourness to chicken dish "Tinola" (chicken stew).
In Vietnam, the young leaves, stems and fruits are used for cooking soups with fish or eel.
In Mali, the dried and grind leaves, also called Djissima, are commonly used in Songhaï cuisine, in the regions of Timbuktu, Gao and their surroundings. It is the main ingredient in at least two dishes, one called Djissima-Gounday, where rice is slowly cooked in a broth containing the leaves and lamb, and the other dish is called Djissima-Mafé, where the leaves are cooked in a tomato sauce, also including lamb. Note that Djissima-Gounday is also considered an affordable dish.
- See also Hibiscus tea
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||205 kJ (49 kcal)|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
In the Caribbean, sorrel drink is made from sepals of the roselle. In Mexico, 'agua de Flor de Jamaica' (water flavored with roselle) frequently called "agua de Jamaica" is most often homemade. It is prepared by boiling dried sepals and calyces of the sorrel/flower of Jamaica plant in water for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the water turns red), then adding sugar. It is often served chilled. This is also done in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago where it is called 'sorrel'. (In Jamaica, it was introduced by Akan slaves in the late 1600s.) The drink is one of several inexpensive beverages (aguas frescas) commonly consumed in Mexico and Central America; they are typically made from fresh fruits, juices or extracts. Something similar is done in Jamaica but flavor is added by brewing the tea with ginger and adding rum, making a popular drink at Christmas time. It is also very popular in Trinidad and Tobago where cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves are preferred to ginger.
In Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, Burkina Faso and Benin calyces are used to prepare cold, sweet drinks popular in social events, often mixed with mint leaves, dissolved menthol candy, and/or fruit flavors.
The Middle Eastern and Sudanese "Karkade" (كركديه) is a cold drink made by soaking the dried Karkade 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 used in Nigeria to make a refreshing drink known as Zobo and natural fruit juices of pineapple and watermelon are added. Ginger is also sometimes added to the refreshing drink. 
With the advent in the U.S. of interest in south-of-the-border cuisine, the calyces are sold in bags usually labeled "Flor de Jamaica" and have long been available in health food stores in the U.S. for making tea. In addition to being a popular homemade drink, Jarritos, a popular brand of Mexican soft drinks, makes a Flor de Jamaica flavored carbonated beverage. Imported Jarritos can be readily found in the U.S.
In the UK, the dried calyces and ready-made sorrel syrup are widely and cheaply available in Caribbean and Asian grocers. The fresh calyces are imported mainly during December and January to make Christmas and New Year infusions, which are often made into cocktails with rum. They are very perishable, rapidly developing fungal rot, and need to be used soon after purchase — unlike the dried product, which has a long shelf-life.
In Africa, especially the Sahel, roselle is commonly used to make a sugary herbal tea that is sold on the street. The dried flowers can be found in every market. Roselle tea is quite common in Italy where it spread during the first decades of the 20th century as a typical product of the Italian colonies. The Carib Brewery Trinidad Limited, a Trinidad and Tobago brewery, produces a 'Shandy Sorrel' in which the tea is combined with beer.
In Thailand, roselle is generally drunk as a cool drink, and it can be made into a wine.
Hibiscus flowers are commonly found in commercial herbal teas, especially teas advertised as berry-flavoured, as they give a bright red colouring to the drink.
Rosella flowers are sold as Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup in Australia as a gourmet product. Recipes include filling them with goats cheese; serving them on baguette slices baked with brie; and placing one plus a little syrup in a champagne flute before adding the champagne — the bubbles cause the flower to open.
Jam and preserves
In Nigeria, rosella jam has been made since colonial times and is still sold regularly at community fetes and charity stalls. It is similar in flavour to plum jam, although more acidic. It differs from other jams in that the pectin is obtained from boiling the interior buds of the rosella flowers. It is thus possible to make rosella jam with nothing but rosella buds and sugar.
In Burma, the buds of the roselle are made into 'preserved fruits' or jams. Depending on the method and the preference, the seeds are removed or included. The jams, made from roselle buds and sugar, are red and tangy.
"Sorrel jelly" is manufactured in Trinidad.
A meta-analysis conducted by the Cochrane hypertension group found there was insufficient evidence of a demonstrable benefit from roselle in reducing blood pressure for hypertensive patients. Other reviews have made similar conclusions.
China and Thailand are the largest producers and control much of the world supply. Thailand invested heavily in roselle production, and their product is of superior quality. China's product, with less stringent quality control practices, is less reliable and reputable. The world's best roselle comes from the Sudan, but the quantity is low and poor processing hampers quality. Mexico, Egypt, Senegal, Tanzania, Mali and Jamaica are also important suppliers but production is mostly used domestically.
In the Indian subcontinent (especially in the Ganges Delta region), roselle is cultivated for vegetable fibres. Roselle is called meśta (or meshta, the ś indicating an sh sound) in the region. Most of its fibres are locally consumed. However, the fibre (as well as cuttings or butts) from the roselle plant has great demand in natural fibre using industries.
Roselle is a relatively new crop to create an industry in Malaysia. It was introduced in the early 1990s and its commercial planting was first promoted in 1993 by the Department of Agriculture in Terengganu. The planted acreage was 12.8 ha (30 acres) in 1993 and steadily increased to peak at 506 ha (1,000 acres) by 2000. The planted area is now less than 150 ha (400 acres) annually, planted with two main varieties. Terengganu state used to be the first and the largest producer, but now the production has spread more to other states. Despite the dwindling hectarage over the past decade or so, roselle is becoming increasingly known to the general population as an important pro-health drink. To a small extent, the calyces are also processed into sweet pickle, jelly and jam.
In the initial years, limited research work was conducted by University Malaya and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI). Research work at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was initiated in 1999. In many respects, the amount of research work is considered[by whom?] meagre in supporting a growing roselle industry in Malaysia.
Crop genetic resources and improvement
Genetic variation is important for plant breeders to increase crop productivity. Being an introduced species in Malaysia, there is a very limited number of germplasm accessions available for breeding.
UKM maintains a working germplasm collection and conducts agronomic research and crop improvement.
Conventional hybridization is difficult to carry out in roselle due to its cleistogamous nature of reproduction. Because of this, a mutation breeding programme was initiated to generate new genetic variability. The use of induced mutations for its improvement was initiated in 1999 in cooperation with MINT (now called Malaysian Nuclear Agency) and has produced some promising breeding lines. Roselle is a tetraploid species; thus, segregating populations require longer time to achieve fixation as compared to diploid species. In April 2009, UKM launched three new varieties named UKMR-1, UKMR-2 and UKMR-3. These new varieties were developed using Arab as the parent variety in a mutation breeding programme which started in 2006.
Natural outcrossing under local conditions
A study was conducted to estimate the amount of outcrossing under local conditions in Malaysia. It was found that outcrossing occurred at a very low rate of about 0.02%. However, this rate is much lower in comparison to estimates of natural cross-pollination of between 0.20% and 0.68% as reported in Jamaica.
The Hibiscus leaves are a good source of polyphenolic compounds. The major identified compounds include neochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, cryptochlorogenic acid, caffeoylshikimic acid and flavonoid compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol and their derivatives. The flowers are rich in anthocyanins, as well as protocatechuic acid. The dried calyces contain the flavonoids gossypetin, hibiscetine and sabdaretine. The major pigment, formerly reported as hibiscin, has been identified as daphniphylline. Small amounts of myrtillin (delphinidin 3-monoglucoside), chrysanthenin (cyanidin 3-monoglucoside), and delphinidin are present. Roselle seeds are a good source of lipid-soluble antioxidants, particularly gamma-tocopherol.
A popular roselle variety planted in Malaysia: Terengganu. Roselle fruits are harvested fresh, and their calyces are made into a drink rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins.
Dried roselle calyces can be obtained in two ways. One way is to harvest the fruits fresh, decore them, and then dry the calyces; the other is to leave the fruits to dry on the plants to some extent, harvest the dried fruits, dry them further if necessary, and then separate the calyces from the capsules
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- How to eat hibiscus like the Burmese
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Randomized controlled studies identified in this review do not provide reliable evidence to support recommending Hibiscus sabdariffa for the treatment of primary hypertension in adults
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More high quality animal and human studies informed by actual therapeutic practices are needed to provide recommendations for use that have the potential for widespread public health benefit
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|Look up roselle in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Roselle (plant).|
- Roselle on Encyclopædia Britannica
- Roselle at NewCROPTM, Center for New Crops & Plant Products, at Purdue University
- Roselle at the University of Florida
- Jus de Bissap ("Roselle juice")