The karkade (Hibiscus sabdariffa) belongs to the Malvaceae family. Genre Hibiscus counts around 200 species of shrubs and evergreen trees of annuals, annuals and herbaceous perennials mainly from tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions. Their decorative flowers constitute their ornamental strength as also confirmed by this species which also has therapeutic virtues.
Karkadé, a delicious drink
Hibiscus sabdariffakarkadé, Guinea sorrel, roselle, bissap, Abyssinian rose tea, country gooseberry or even hibiscus okra, depending on the country, is therefore a non-hardy annual plant (0°C), subtropical, of rapid growth, whose origin is probably in Africa where it is worn at weddings since it is considered to have magical powers capable of causing love, sexual desire and divination.
With its vigorous green or reddish stems, which can reach up to 1.5 to 2m, the karkadé bears deciduous, alternate, lanceolate, trilobed or simple leaves, with a long petiole.
The solitary flowers bloom from July to October, in the axils of the leaves, in the form of a corolla of 5 yellow to pink petals, with a dark red or green calyx and calyx depending on the variety.
After the flower petals dry up, a fruit capsule is born containing dark brown seeds.
Karkadé is rich in mucilages and pectins, in vitamin C and other organic acids, in phenolic compounds including flavonoids (gossypetin) and especially anthocyanosides which are at the origin of this beautiful carmine red color given to the infusions.
The medicinal properties of passionflower
In herbal medicine, the delicately smelling dried chalices and calyxes of karkadé are useful for lowering the blood pressure of people suffering from hypertension, which limits the risk of cardiovascular accidents.
In the event of a cold snap impacting the upper respiratory tract, the anti-inflammatory, analgesic and tonic properties of Guinea sorrel can be effective.
Women prone to cystitis will appreciate the diuretic and antibacterial effect of karkadé, in particular due to gossypetine.
Its cholagogue properties make karkadé a light laxative but above all a good drainer promoting elimination and leading to lower cholesterol levels.
In external use, the emollient power of the mucilages helps to calm the itching due to various dermatoses.
The karkadé can be grown in gardens with mild, frost-free winters, or in large pots that will be overwintered in a frost-free winter. You can harvest the dry flowers in the fall, if the plant has received enough sun and heat.
Otherwise, dried karkadé flowers (calyx and calyx) can be purchased from pharmacies, herbalists or exotic or natural stores. The plant is presented and used in different ways:
- infusion: 1 to 2 dried flowers / 25 cl (2 to 3 cups maximum / day), to infuse for 10 minutes,
- in capsules, as directed by the pharmacist
- as a poultice from the infusion: apply the compresses to the irritated parts of the skin.
Karkadé, a very popular drink
Above all, it is the tangy and refreshing flavor of the dark red dried chalices and calyxes that makes karkadé famous in all the tropical regions where it is grown (West and Central Africa, Asia). This red colored drink, called karkadé or bissap, prepared from an infusion can be consumed hot or cold, to cool down, adding a little lemon, ginger or mint according to taste, but it is not need to sweeten it more.
The plant in the kitchen
In tropical countries where Guinea sorrel grows easily, the roasted and then ground seeds are used to make flour. As for the calyxes, leaves and young shoots, once cooked, they are eaten like vegetables. Some make jam from this hibiscus.
The use of plants for treatment must be done by first seeking advice from a doctor, pharmacist or herbalist. Pregnant women, people with chronic and serious illnesses or taking medication should consult a doctor before self-medication which may cause adverse effects, including drug interactions.
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Karkadé or Guinea sorrel: hypotensive
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