The roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus native to the Old World tropics, used for the production of bast fibre and as an infusion. It is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2–2.5 m (7–8 ft) tall. The leaves are deeply three- to five-lobed, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long, arranged alternately on the stems.
The flowers are 8–10 cm (3–4 in) in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) wide, enlarging to 3–3.5 cm (1.2–1.4 in), fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. It takes about six months to mature.
In Africa, especially the Sahel, roselle is commonly used to make a sugary herbal tea that is commonly sold on the street. The dried flowers can be found in every market. The Carib Brewery Trinidad Limited, a Trinidad and Tobago brewery, produces a Shandy Sorrel in which the tea is combined with beer.
In Thailand, Roselle is drunk as a tea, believed to also reduce cholesterol. It can also be made into a wine - Hibiscus flowers are commonly found in commercial herbal teas, especially teas advertised as berry-flavoured, as they give a bright red colouring to the drink.
In the Caribbean sorrel drink is made from calyces of the roselle. In Malaysia, roselle calyces are harvested fresh to produce pro-health drink due to high contents of vitamin C and anthocyanins. In Mexico, 'agua de Flor de Jamaica' (water flavored with roselle) frequently called "agua de Jamaica" is most often homemade. Also, since many untrained consumers mistake the calyces of the plant to be dried flowers, it is widely, but erroneously, believed that the drink is made from the flowers of the non-existent "Jamaica plant". It is prepared by boiling dried calyces of the Flower of Jamaica plant in water for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the water turns red), then adding sugar. It is often served chilled. This is also done in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago where it is called 'sorrel'. The drink is one of several inexpensive beverages (aguas frescas) commonly consumed in Mexico and Central America, and they are typically made from fresh fruits, juices or extracts. A similar thing is done in Jamaica but additional flavor is added by using ginger and rum, it is a popular drink of the country at Christmas time. It is also very popular in Trinidad & Tobago but the ginger is substituted for cinnamon and cloves for added flavour. In Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, Burkina Faso and Benin calyces are used to prepare cold, sweet drinks popular in social events, often mixed with mint leaves, dissolved menthol candy, and/or various fruit flavors.
With the advent in the U.S. of interest in south-of-the-border cuisine, the calyces are sold in bags usually labeled "Flor de Jamaica" and have long been available in health food stores in the U.S. for making a tea that is high in vitamin C. This drink is particularly good for people who have a tendency, temporary or otherwise, toward water retention: it is a mild diuretic.
In addition to being a popular homemade drink, Jarritos, a popular brand of Mexican soft drinks, makes a Flor de Jamaica flavored carbonated beverage. Imported Jarritos can be readily found in the U.S.
In the UK the dried calyces and ready-made sorrel syrup are widely and cheaply available in Caribbean and Asian grocers. The fresh calyces are imported mainly during December and January in order to make Christmas and New Year infusions, which are often made into cocktails with additional rum. They are very perishable, rapidly developing fungal rot, and need to be used soon after purchase – unlike the dried product, which has a long shelf-life.
In Australia, rosella jam has been made since Colonial times and is still sold regularly at community fetes and charity stalls. It is similar in flavour to plum jam, although more acidic.
Many parts of the plant are also claimed to have various medicinal values. They have been used for such purposes ranging from Mexico through Africa and India to Thailand. Roselle is associated with traditional medicine and is reported to be used as treatment for several diseases such as hypertension and urinary tract infections.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roselle_%28plant%29
See Also : Delivery Flowers, Flower Chelsea, Order Flowers Delivery