Hibiscus sabdariffa

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There is something special about growing plants from the Caribbean. I sense my ancestors approval as I connect deeper to their heritage, feel their joy and pains and resonate in the plant’s beauty and offerings. There are numerous varieties of hibiscus - one that I am growing is Hibiscus Sabdariffa. This plant is native to West and East Africa. In the Caribbean, specifically Jamaica, the calyces are used to make a popular drink, sorrel. I remember as a child having a love-hate relationship with sorrel. The beverage can be sour or tangy, due to the sour quality of the hibiscus plant. To me, sorrel was not an herbal remedy it was simply a beverage made for pleasure, especially in the summer.

Hibiscus is a cooling and moistening. Since it is high in mucilage, it is a great herb to make a tea to combat the heat with dryness. This herb is high in antioxidants, and also contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron and calcium. Traditionally, it has been used to support healthy iron levels.

One of my favorite ways to use hibiscus in the summer time is to make hibiscus lemonade. It’s a fun way to get some nutrients while enjoying a beautiful summer day with friends.