Jamaica, roselle, karkade.

Date: Sun, 30 Jul 1995 19:18:58 -0400
From: "Claudette A. Aras" <Carras.AOL.COM>
Subject: Hibiscus sabdariffa

can anyone out there tell me anything about Hisbiscus sabdarifa? My understanding is this is the variety I've found & bought in Mexico which is so frequently used in commercial herbal teas. From my inquiries in Mexican markets I learned it's called "jamaica." No one seemed to be able to give me any further facts. I've dried dozens of flowering hibiscus and found them totally useless either for flavor or color whereas the hibiscus blossom I'm trying to find out about produces deep rich ruby color and a sharp, acidic flavor when infused.

Thanks in advance for any help.

From: Rick Remington <r.remington.HAUSER.COM>

>can anyone out there tell me anything about Hisbiscus sabdarifa?

You are correct in your suspicion of this species being used in herbal teas. Origin probably Angola, but imported from Egypt, Sudan, Mexico, China and Thailand for tea source. H. sabdariffa L.; usual var. ruber. (Malvaceae) Red sorrel flower, Karkade (Fr), Roselle (English), Jamaican sorrel.

The main compounds responsible for the pretty ruby color are the antho-cyan(idin)s. The hue of these pigments are pH dependent. Higher pH will turn anthocyans darker.
Acids include; citric, hibiscus (=(+)hydroxycitric acid lactone), malic and tartaric acids.

Quite a bit of mucilage polysaccharides and pectins.

From: Henriette Kress <HeK.HETTA.PP.FI>

>can anyone out there tell me anything about Hisbiscus sabdarifa?

Hibiscus sabdariffa is indeed the plant you are looking for; the dried flowers (actually, calyxes - a part of the fruit) are sold under the name kardade here and there, and under the name rosehip tea in Finland (try to find some rosehip in those teabags - watch me grin - and try to make rosehip tea without karkade - watch me grin again, it doesn't taste like anything and it doesn't have any color you could name either).

I can't say if your H.s. 'Jamaica' would taste the same as the parent plant, but you should try it and tell us - I'd be curious for one.

(They only grow indoors over here, and the one I had sadly died of too many bugs last winter. It wasn't any variety, just H.s.)