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Hibiscus sabdariffa - L.
Common Name Roselle
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Disturbed ground[238].
Range Tropics.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full sun


Hibiscus sabdariffa Roselle

Hibiscus sabdariffa Roselle
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a ANNUAL/PERENNIAL growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Oil;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Oil;  Oil;  Pectin.

The fresh calyx (the outer whorl of the flower) is eaten raw in salads, is cooked and used as a flavouring in cakes etc and is also used in making jellies, soups, sauces, pickles, puddings etc[74, 171, 183, 269]. The calyx is rich in citric acid and pectin and so is useful for making jams, jellies etc[240, 269]. It is also used to add a red colour and to flavour to herb teas[238, 269], and can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute[183]. A refreshing and very popular beverage can be made by boiling the calyx, sweetening it with sugar and adding ginger[183]. Tender young leaves and stems - raw or cooked[177, 269, 272]. Used in salads, as a potherb and as a seasoning in curries, they have an acid, rhubarb-like flavour[183, 238, 269]. Seed - roasted and ground into a powder then used in oily soups and sauces[177, 183]. The roasted seeds have been used as a coffee substitute that is said to have aphrodisiac properties[269]. Root - it is edible but very fibrousy[144]. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour[144]. The seed yields 20% oil[74]. (This is probably edible[K]).
Medicinal Uses

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Antiscorbutic;  Appetizer;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Stomachic.

Roselle is an aromatic, astringent, cooling herb that is much used in the Tropics. It is said to have diuretic effects, to help lower fevers and is antiscorbutic[74, 238]. The leaves are antiscorbutic, emollient, diuretic, refrigerant, and sedative[269]. The leaves are very mucilaginous and are used as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy. They are used externally as a poultice on abscesses[269]. The fruits are antiscorbutic[269]. The flowers contain gossypetin, anthocyanin, and the glycoside hibiscin[269]. These may have diuretic and choleretic effects, decreasing the viscosity of the blood, reducing blood pressure and stimulating intestinal peristalsis[269]. The leaves and flowers are used internally as a tonic tea for digestive and kidney functions[74, 238]. Experimentally, an infusion decreases the viscosity of the blood, reduces blood pressure and stimulates intestinal peristalsis[240]. The ripe calyces are diuretic and antiscorbutic[269]. The succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in the treatment of bilious attacks[269]. The seeds are diuretic, laxative and tonic[269]. They are used in the treatment of debility[269]. The bitter root is aperitif and tonic[269]. The plant is also reported to be antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, purgative and resolvent[269]. It is used as a folk remedy in the treatment of abscesses, bilious conditions, cancer, cough, debility, dyspepsia, dysuria, fever, hangover, heart ailments, hypertension, neurosis, scurvy, and strangury[269]. One report says that the plant has been shown to be of value in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and as an intestinal antiseptic, though it does not say which part of the plant is used[269]. Simulated ingestion of the plant extract decreased the rate of absorption of alcohol, lessening the intensity of alcohol effects in chickens[269].
Other Uses
Dye;  Fibre;  Oil;  Oil;  Pectin.

A strong fibre obtained from the stem (called rosella hemp) is used for various household purposes including making sackcloth, twine and cord[74, 171, 238, 272]. A yellow dye is obtained from the petals[240]. It is used in medicines etc[74]. The seed yields 20% oil[74].
Cultivation details
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun[200]. Roselle requires a permeable soil, a friable sandy loam with humus being preferable; however, it will adapt to a variety of soils[269]. It is not shade tolerant and must be kept weed-free[269]. It will tolerate floods, heavy winds or stagnant water[269]. Roselle is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 64 to 429cm, an annual temperature in the range of 12.5 to 27.5°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.0[269]. This species is not hardy in Britain, but it can be grown as a half-hardy annual, flowering in its first year from seed[200]. Plants are sensitive to the length of daylight and do not flower if there are more than 13 hours of light in the day[169]. Roselle is widely cultivated in the Tropical and Sub-tropical zones for its fibre and edible calyx, there are some named varieties[183]. Roselle is best suited to tropical climates with a well-distributed rainfall of 1500 - 2000 mm yearly, from sea-level to about 600 m altitude[269]. It tolerates a warmer and more humid climate than kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), but is more susceptible to damage from frost and fog[269]. Plants exhibit marked photoperiodism, not flowering at shortening days of 13.5 hours, but flowering at 11 hours. In the United States plants do not flower until short days of late fall or early winter. Since flowering is not necessary for fibre production, long light days for 3 - 4 months is the critical factor[269]. There are two main forms of the plant:- var. sabdariffa has red or pale yellow inflated edible calyces but a poor quality fibre; var. altissima is grown for its fibre but has inedible calyces[269]. Plants have a deep penetrating taproot[269].
Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing them as annuals, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. If hoping to grow them as perennials, then it is better to grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year and to plant them out in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Hibiscus acetosellaFalse Roselle, African rosemallow, Cranberry Hibiscus20
Hibiscus cannabinusKenaf, Brown Indianhemp22
Hibiscus diversifoliusSwamp Hibiscus21
Hibiscus heterophyllusNative Rosella20
Hibiscus moscheutosSwamp Rose Mallow, Crimsoneyed rosemallow, Wild Cotton, Common Rosemallow, Eastern Rosemallow, Swamp12
Hibiscus mutabilisCotton Rose, Dixie rosemallow22
Hibiscus rosa-sinensisChinese Hibiscus, Shoeblackplant, Hawaiian Hibiscus, Tropical Hibiscus, China Rose, Rose-of-China, S33
Hibiscus sinosyriacusRose Of Sharon42
Hibiscus syriacusRose Of Sharon, Althaea, Shrub Althea, Hardy Hibiscus42
Hibiscus trionumFlower Of An Hour21
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Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
victor pellizzer Sat Oct 23 01:08:46 2004
por favor necesito informacion sobre hibiscus sabdarifa ( zona de orige , cultivares propiedades productos

Link: victorpellizzer@ yahoo.com.ar

Elizabeth H.
Allaaeddin El Salabi Fri Jan 4 2008
I studied the antibacterial activities from Calyx, leaves and stems of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. since 2001 and i found that this plant has antibacterial activities against human pathogenic bacteria which are E.coli, Bacillus cerus,Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The most significant and active part was the Calyx which known to contain Flavonoides.
Elizabeth H.
ks Thu Jul 8 02:54:35 2004
may i know wat is the details of the method if i want to do biochemistry of roselle seeds for lipid and cabohydrate?by using HPLC method for lipid,n GCMS method for carbohydrate?
Elizabeth H.
Olatubosun Dare Benjamin Thu May 18 2006
My wife has been preparing a drink for about 5years with this plant. I strongly believe in this drink and I knoe there is more to it than meets the eye. Anytime I take it, there is this cleansing effect it has on me. I believe strongly that this plant can profer solutions to all the health hazzards the world is experiencing. Please I need a well researched write-up to this effect.
Elizabeth H.
Neil D. Banda Wed May 31 2006
There is something in this herb that makes it so special. I have been taking it for the past two years and my health has improved greatly. At the age of 62 I feel I am only fourty. I grow it and am currently introducing it to my country forks.Even the products from it ie;-tea,jam,juice and wine they are all a speciality. Try it you will agree with.
Elizabeth H.
richard uchenna Mon Aug 7 2006
please a lot of people have been taking the extracts of the calyx of this plant just as a drink,maybe appetizer.please i want to know the carbohydrate and ascorbic acid content of extracts from the plant's calyx.i need methodology of determining these two parameters.Their RDAs and any other information.please contact me on ucherichy2002@yahoo.com.Thanking you in anticipation
Elizabeth H.
erzsike Fri Sep 29 2006
This is a plant of the tropics, I grow it in Venezuela, everything i harvest sells, people just love it. any questions write flordejamaica@yahoo.com
Elizabeth H.
Raoul SIE Tue Sep 25 2007
I would know if - someone works on somatic embryogenesis of Hibiscus sabdariffa - There is a difference between H. sabdariffa var. altissima and H. cannabinus
Elizabeth H.
Jumoke Olatubosun Thu May 18 2006
Please I will appreciate it if detailed pieces of information about this plant e.g the medical implication can be sant to me. I am doing a work on it.please I can be contacted at: glitterspackaging@yahoo.com
Elizabeth H.
Mon Aug 7 2006
please i need methodology for determining carbohydrate and ascorbic acid content of hibiscus sabdariffa
Elizabeth H.
Wed Aug 23 2006
There is a company called Shalai Limited who have developed and produced a totally natural soft drink from Hibiscus and it tastes wonderful. Have a look at their website www.shalai.com.
Elizabeth H.
MARX AYIGBEDE Thu Sep 21 2006


Elizabeth H.
inalegwu enyi Mon Sep 25 2006
inalegwu enyi mon sept 2006 multifunctional plant.i am interested in buyers of this wonderfull herb.grown naturally.please contact me.inaenyi@yahoo.com.thank u
Elizabeth H.
pat Sun Nov 12 2006
does it has any influence in increasing the haemoglobin content
Elizabeth H.
Rowan Al_Srouji Mon Jan 1 2007
how do we use the Karkade` to increase blood pressure and how do we use it to decrease blood pressure? I have an idea that if we boil Hebiscus with water ,or boiling water then addind Hebiscus has another medical way for blood pressure! please answer me! Im a biochmist
Elizabeth H.
evert Tue May 29 2007
im doing my research in faculty of dentistry in indonesia... my question is there any possible benefit of rosella as antiplauqe? can i have the biochemical contents of rosella...
Elizabeth H.
khidir hussain nassar Tue Jun 19 2007
I need to know if there is any machine use to harvest hibiscus? I see if you grow good species of hibiscus will produce 2 types bad and good species but if you grow bad will give only bad
Elizabeth H.
bobbin holley Fri Jun 22 2007
I am trying to decrease my carbon footprint. Love the herb, want to grow it, that way I won't be importing the stuff, and I will know that it is truly organic. I live in central California, where the summers are hot, and the winters are mild. I can grow most tropicals without much winter loss. Thanks for your help. Yellohnymp@yahoo.com
Elizabeth H.
jamlerose Mon Jul 16 2007
after reading all of these information about H.sabdariffa,i became more interested to study about its capabilities and benefits to the people...does it possess an antimicrobial effecet also??? plsease answer my question...thanks!!!!
Elizabeth H.
Diego González Ugalde Thu Oct 25 2007
Por favor necesito un método de HPLC adecuado para aislar las antocianinas presentes en Hibiscus sabdariffa
Elizabeth H.
Keanu Thu Dec 13 2007
Hi, I am currently doing a study on Roselle. Focus and documentation of its uses, study and benefits is on its calyx and flower. How about its stem and leaves aside from it's a good source of fiber? I will appreciate if someone can provide me related/additinal information.
Elizabeth H.
Allaaeddin El Salabi Tue Jan 15 2008
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram negative bacterium known to cause Hospital aquiered Infections and it is isolated from many patients suffering from antibiotic resistant bacteria. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Calyx extracts were effective against hospital isolated P.aeruginosa
Elizabeth H.
Greenpark21 Sat Jan 12 2008
Dear Allaaeddin El Salabi: I am interested your finding that antibacterial activities from Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Would you tell me where can find the article? Thank you in advance.

Elizabeth H.
Liliana Sartor Sun Jan 13 2008
I have been trying to find Karkadé tea in England for many a year (my parents used it on a daily basis in Italy and as well as liking the taste I find its medicinal properties very interesting). I would be very grateful if anyone could suggest were I could buy this tea here in England.
Elizabeth H.
ibnyasseen Tue Feb 5 2008
Hello, I've heared from some health professionals that this plant increases blood pressure if infused in hot water but i have found no scientific evidences about this, can anyone help ??? Thanks To Allaaeddin, I expect that you have tested it in vitro, but there is thousands of herbal extracts that kills Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and we have, till now, no data about in vivo activities of karkade. So maybe you can test it if thing is possibel, it will not take a lot of time. Good chance
Elizabeth H.
Blittersdorff Sun Apr 20 2008
My Hibiscus sabdariffa grows very well at an altitude of 1860m above sea level, gives excelent results and a superb tea prepared from the calyxes. The field is located at Sumbawanga Rukwa Region in Tanzania. Robert
Elizabeth H.
anna mussa Wed Apr 23 2008
i would like to know nutritional content and if making jam how do imke it from H sabdariffa? im growing from this year january and it has alredy started to give out calyx Anna Mussa from Tanzania/Daresalaam
Elizabeth H.
scholastica Tue Jan 13 2009

wikepedia the free encyclopedia please l need details of the medicinal uses and the nutritional content of hibiscus sabdariffa, l need a reply fast please,i am doing my project work on this

Elizabeth H.
Pushpalata Thu Jan 29 2009
Distribution of this plant globally and in India.
Elizabeth H.
obbo jude Tue Feb 10 2009
iam a buyer of hibiscus sabdariffa dried flowers . i would like to buy volumes of hibiscus for exports if you are in tanzania , kenya or uganda please let me know if i can get to buy this products my conducts are +256712466657 or email obboj@yahoo.com best regards to all
Elizabeth H.
rudy soeyono Tue Mar 17 2009

palmtrikarya plant and sell of hibiscus sabdariffa

Elizabeth H.
Dennis Knaack Sun Mar 22 2009
would like to buy the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant, but where in the northeast united Staes
Elizabeth H.
massira sy Fri Mar 27 2009
i am doing a job about hibiscus sabdariffa'properties.please could you send me more details about your research?my e-mail is : syramsy@yahoo.fr.thanks a lot
Elizabeth H.
Rudy Mon Apr 6 2009

PALMTRIKARYA Plantation of Hibiscus Sabdariffa in Indonesia

Elizabeth H.
olufemi,ALABA Fri Apr 17 2009
have read some information about this Hibiscus sabdafiffa but nothing has been said about using it's extract as semen extender in reproductive physiology.Please if their is any information in this regard kindly forward it to my e-mail box;femialaba@gmail.com.currently i am a postgraduate student in the department of animal science university of ibadan,nigeria.I appreciate the good work you are doing.
Elizabeth H.
kefas shalbugau Tue Apr 21 2009
i am a student working on preparation of wine drink from hibiscus sabdaraffa calyx, i need relevant informations about this plant
Elizabeth H.
kefas shalbugau Tue Apr 21 2009
i am a student working on preparation of wine drink from hibiscus sabdaraffa calyx
Elizabeth H.
agnostophobe Sat Nov 28 2009
all i find is 'folk' remedies on 'hibiscus sabdariffa'. anything out there that is more substantive?
P E.
Oct 2 2014 12:00AM
Carlsen, Monica H et al 1910 Nutrition Journal 9:3 www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/3; the accompanying 138pp Antioxidant Foods Table lists ‘flor de jamaica’ tea at 6.99mmol/100g, a very respectable value for a beverage. In USA, Dr. Greger's website NutritionFacts.org praises this tea and gives a recipe for daily use, using Celestial Seasoning’s Red (and other) Zinger, which since 1972 has this plant as first ingredient. CS since 2000 is part of Hain, which unfortunately belongs to the Grocery Mfrs Assn, whose $$ helped defeat attempts to label genetically-modified foods in several states. The founder had retired, for the second time, in 2002.
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