Hibiscus, Roselle is a shrub-like tropical annual that is also known as red sorrel, Flor de Jamaica, Jamaican sorrel, sour-sour and Florida cranberry. Botanically named Hibiscus sabdariffa, it is a member of the Mallow family and exhibits the characteristic five petal, funnel-shaped flower. Although also edible, the pale-yellow petals are not the actual part of the flower that is consumed, but rather its calyx, which is the rubbery maroon colored base of the blossom. Roselle is used as a culinary ingredient, a natural food dye and a medicinal herb, specifically for heart health. The American Heart Association reports that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea a day can lower blood pressure by as much as 13.2 percent.
A sweet drink consumed cold or hot as tea. Kerkede is the name of the drink made from the Hibiscus Sabdariffa flower in South Sudan. The flower has a ruby red color and slightly sour taste, similar to, but milder, than cranberry. This drink is a refreshing cold drink appropriate for summer days. It contains no caffeine or carbonation. It has some medicinal properties. High in ascorbic acid, it acts as an antioxidant. It acts as antihypertensive because of its diuretic properties. It is reported to lower cholesterol. Our ancestors have used it to soothe colds and aching limbs.