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One of the most unmistakable signs of Christmas time in Jamaica is the abundance of Jamaican Sorrel for sale in the markets and on the streets. When you grow Sorrel like we do here we make sure that we do not ever run out and drink it year round.



HIBISCUS SABDARIFFA L., or sorrel as we know it in Jamaica, originated from Angola. Sorrel can be prepared in a number of ways. The red tart petals are made into jams, chutneys, wine and the favourite Christmas and New Year's sorrel drink. It is customary to be greeted during this holiday period with a refreshing, ice-cold glass of sorrel accompanied by a slice of fruit cake. Given the volumes by which we consume this drink in Jamaica, it is interesting to note that research now shows that this refreshing beverage has health benefits. imagesCAXS5S2Vsorrel

Recent advances in medicine and a greater understanding of human nutrition have led researchers here and abroad to recognise the existence of a number of naturally occurring plant substances, known as nutraceuticals, (food or part of a food that provides health benefits) which can enhance human health. There is now an acceptance of the link between diet and health, and this link has evolved into the concept of nutraceuticals and functional foods.

Nutraceuticals have been associated with the prevention and or treatment of at least four life-threatening diseases - cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. It is believed that the Flavonoids present in sorrel may be a useful deterrent against certain types of cancers and help to enhance the body's immune system in general. Sorrel tea is consumed in many countries such as the Sudan, Senegal and Egypt on a daily basis, and research in Mexico has reported a significant reduction in the triglyceride levels of persons who consume sorrel. Elevated levels of triglycerides are associated with heart disease and diabetes.



Scientists from the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) proved that 'sorrel water' significantly decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and contributes to protection against heart diseases. The daily consumption of 'sorrel water' acts as a preventative measure against heart disease. It is suggested by scientists at IMSS that sorrel helps to prevent the clogging of arteries resulting from excessive levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Sorrel has also been recognised for its diuretic properties and as an aid to weight loss.

The Sorrel Chutney and Sorrel Squashes, and several other new exotic sorrel products are delicious, nutritious and convenient ways of enjoying the many benefits of sorrel. These products, rich in vitamin C, are currently available at leading supermarkets and gift shops throughout Jamaica.




1 pound sorrel

2-4 oz. ginger

2 quarts water


wine (optional)

8-12 pimento grains


1. Wash sorrel thoroughly, using the fingers to lift it from the water.

2. Put into a stainless steel container.

3. Scrape and wash ginger. Grate and add to the sorrel. Add pimento grains.

4. Boil water and pour over sorrel.

5. Allow to stand four to six hours. Strain.

6. Sweeten to taste and add rum to taste.

7. Add optional wine.

8. Serve with ice cubes.




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