History of Jamaican Sorrel
Jamaican Sorrel drink is a natural refreshing drink which is made from the leaves of the sorrel plant. The sorrel plant germinates from seed planted in the ground. The seed grows into roots and into a plant with flowers and red sorrel buds on the limbs. The sorrel plant flowers are yellow and look like hibiscus flowers. The sorrel plant is annual and dies after each harvest. The Jamaican sorrel plant was discovered in West Africa. The plant grows to a height of five to six feet tall.
Over the years, sorrel was discovered to have great health benefits. The sorrel plant is widely grown and use in the Caribbean as well as many other countries around the world. Sorrel is from the Hibiscus plant family and it is also know as Hibiscus Sabdariffa. Many countries have their own name for sorrel. Some of the names in which sorrel is known as: Jamaican Sorrel, Red Sorrel, Indian Sorrel, Rosella, Cabitutu, Rosa de Jamaica, Maleate, Vinuela, Jamaica Sorrel, Vinagreira and Aced era de Guinea and more. The great news is that the health benefits remain the same regardless of the many names.
People use sorrel to help to lower cholesterol which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Sorrel also helps to lower blood pressure, helps to prevent the clogging of arteries, helps to fuel the production bile by the liver and it helps to keep your body strong and so much more. It’s also suggested that sorrel can help to fight certain kind of cancer.
Further studies reveal that red sorrel calyx contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These vitamins include calcium (for strong bones), niacin (B vitamin-used to increase HDL “the good cholesterol”), vitamin C, riboflavin and a group of compounds. With the huge health benefits which hibiscus sabdariffa (sorrel) has to offer, many people use their imagination and cooking skills to take full advantage of the plant. For example, sorrel can be used to make sorrel soup, sorrel tea and naturally, sorrel drink. People who are aware of the health benefits in sorrel get very creative.
Please what ever you do, do not get too excited and think sorrel horse is a drink. Sorrel Horse is not a drink, “No its not.” So don’t go into any store and order a sorrel horse drink. Sorrel horse is the real animal. Horses with reddish to reddish brown color are known as sorrel horse.
Whereas, Sheep Sorrel (Rumex Acetosella) is the plant which has been used for centuries for Vitamin deficiency, Antioxidant, Antibacterial agent and immune system booster, Diuretic, Anti-inflammatory agent, Anti-cancer therapy and Food preparation. Just as with the Jamaican red sorrel plant, the leaves of the sheep sorrel plant is used when making the sorrel drinks and food preparation. So, while the leaves are used to make sorrel drink which offers great health benefits, when combine with the whole plant which includes the roots, the health benefits for medicinal purposes increase. For centuries, the entire plant including the roots is boiled in order to make Essiac Tea. As in many other herbal tea, there are so many people that will swear for it’s effectiveness in treating chronic illness, as well as using it as a natural cleanser for the body. So, even though Sheep Sorrel is not United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved and everyone should speak with their health provider before taking any kind of herbal supplement, studies shows Sheep Sorrel help to alleviates or prevent many diseases.
In the past, Jamaicans mostly drank sorrel drink during the Christmas holidays. During the holiday seasons, visitors would stop by your home and they would expect to be offered some sorrel drink and a slice of Jamaican fruit cake. If you did not offer your guests some sorrel drinks, they may just say, “Wey yu a sey, yu nuh a nuh sorrel?” (What’s going on, don’t you have any sorrel?). Jamaican Sorrel Drink is truly apart of the Jamaican Culture as some folks say, “Jamaica is sorrel and rum cake.” The Jamaican elders have always known that sorrel offers many health benefits. However, now that Sorrel drink is recognized and documented as having lots of the health benefits, it has become the tropical thrust quencher drink of choice. These days sorrel drinks are made with other fruits/plants to create other healthy drinks such as sorrel ginger drink, sorrel carrots drink, sorrel apple drink and more. Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe is listed on this website.
In most parts of North America, wood sorrel plant can be found. The plant leaves has the shape of a heart and the colors are mainly yellow or white even though they are sometimes violet or pink. Wood Sorrel also known as sour grass is part of the Oxalis plant family. Oxalic acid can be found in wood sorrel just as in spinach and broccoli. However, even though oxalic acid is considered toxic if too much is eaten it’s also rich in Vitamin C and contains other health benefits. The wood sorrel is similar to sheep sorrel. These days, more and more people are discovering Jamaican Sorrel, wood sorrel and sheep sorrel drink. Because of the health benefits of sorrel drinks and the fact that it taste great; the whole family will fall in love with this natural juice.
Look under Jamaican Cuisine for Sorrel Recipie, Jamaican style.