#Know your herb: Roselle

Updated: Feb 4


Next in the #knowyourherb series, we will be talking about Roselle flower and how it can benefit you. This plant is one of the most commonly used Traditional Chinese Medicine herb in the world!

Roselle is most commonly served as a beverage

Roselle is a species of the Hibiscus family, well known for its bright red colour, fleshy calyces and sour flavour. This versatile flower is commonly used all over the world. For example, in Europe, it is used as food colouring; in India and Southeast Asia, the green leaves of the roselle plant is cooked into a dish; in Africa and US, it is served as a refreshing beverage and in jams; in Chinese culture, it is served as a herbal tea.


Benefits

The roselle flower has plenty of nutrients packed within its fleshy calyces, such as vitamin C, calcium, iron, niacin and riboflavin. It is also a source of antioxidants, anthocyanins which act as free radical scavengers and inhibit lipid per-oxidation. Studies also showed that Roselle flower is able to lower blood pressure and blood lipids.



Traditional Chinese Medicine

Dried Roselle flowers used to make tea

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the roselle plant is categorised as cooling in nature and sour in taste. Its TCM properties include clearing excess heat, replenishing fluids, quenching thirst and improving digestion. It is particularly useful during hot seasons, for people with excess heat that causes dry throat and mouth. That is why in tropical countries such as Singapore, roselle plants is commonly brewed, sometimes together with hawthorn (find out how hawthorn tea benefits you here) and/or dried rose, and sold as a cooling herbal beverage. If you love the taste of Ribena, then you should love the roselle tea as it tastes exactly the same!


Who is unsuitable to drink?

Do note that if you have the following conditions below, you should refrain from drinking roselle tea. Always speak to your Chinese Medicine Physician before consuming any TCM herbs.


- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD or acid reflux)

- Hypotension (low blood pressure)

- Weak and cold body constitution

This article is summarised by Physician Derrick Soh

Place of practice: Richlife Chinese Medicine Centre (Hougang) Singapore.


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