Sorrel- A Cultural Postpartum Holiday

Sorrel is the common name given to the sepals of a hibiscus plant called Roselle or Hibiscus sabdariffa. It’s important to note that there is a leafy green herb that is also called sorrel, but it is unrelated to this plant.

Roselle is the fleshy young calyces (the outer floral envelope) surrounding the immature fruits. It also comes in dried form.

sorrel | orange peel | cinnamon stick

Jamaican sorrel is very acidic and resembles cranberry in colour and acidity. It is used to flavour drinks, jams, jellies, wine, and sauces in the Caribbean, Mexico, West Africa, and Egypt. Roselle is used fresh in salads, especially fruit salads, with cooked vegetables, and in sauces, stews, and pies or tarts.

Cold steeping dried sorrel


Jamaican sorrel is high in vitamins and minerals with powerful antioxidant properties. It helps lower elevated blood pressure, bad cholesterol and detoxifies the entire body. Research proves the ability of sorrel tea to control hypertension. It is said to have diuretic and antidepressant properties.

Drinking Jamaican sorrel has proven to be heart-friendly. However, research is ongoing to study the precise mechanism of cardio protection by sorrel.

Having about 150ml of sorrel tea three times a day for four weeks can improve insulin sensitivity. Hence, this tea is suggested to be beneficial, particularly for those with diabetes.

Sorrel tea can inhibit pathogenic avian influenza viruses and several drug-resistant viruses. In laboratory experiments, among 11 tea varieties, this tea showed the most potent antiviral property, followed by black tea.

Another bonus is the vitamin C content. Abundant ascorbic acid (vitamin C) boosts your immunity.

The flavonoids in sorrel have antidepressant effects. Extracts of these flowers have shown antidepressant-like activity on post-partum disorders. Post-partum depression in mothers has a significant effect on the cognitive and emotional development of children. However, not much is written about how sorrel would work on depression and anxiety.

The polyphenols in sorrel flowers are proven antioxidants. Polyphenols are a category of plant compounds that offer various health benefits. Regularly consuming polyphenols is thought to boost digestion and brain health, as well as protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancer. However, further research is needed to identify the compounds that possess such anti-cancer properties.

While traditionally, Jamaican sorrel has been associated with Christmas, in recent times, it has become available year-round and is dried for retail.

This postpartum healing tradition is offered in my services. Nothing like making a SWEET warm drink for families enjoy during their postpartum time. Not only for its delicious taste but also because of its many health benefits.

Special shout out to my elder friend Mrs. Beth for making this for our family during the early part of our postpartum journey.

Join my membership program to get access to SWEET holistic, cultural, and traditional postpartum care.

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