Why Roselle is popular in Manipur - Know the amazing benefits of 'Sillo Sougri'

Roselle is mainly cultivated to produce bast fibres which are extracted from the stem and are used as substitute to jute.


(Representational Image: Unsplash)

Roselle, which scientific name is Hibiscus sabdariffa, is a shrub and a member of Malvaceae family, a genus of Hibiscus and locally called Sillo Sougri in Manipuri language.

Popularly used in Manipur in traditional dishes of several communities in the state, Roselle is native to West and East Africa and South-East Asia, including Northeastern India. It is widely naturalized in tropical and subtropical regions of the world particularly in India and Southeast Asia. It is easy to grow and reaches tall heights.

Roselle is mainly cultivated to produce bast fibres which are extracted from the stem and are used as substitute to jute. In southern Asia, Hibiscus cannabinus is commonly cultivated for fibre extraction purposes.

Drinks made of Roselle is becoming increasingly known to the general population as an important pro-health drink. Roselle is known as sour tea in Iran and Red Sorrel in English-speaking Countries. The calyces of the roselle plants are also processed into sweet pickle, jelly and jam.

Roselle tea is a herbal tea made as an infusion from crimson or deep magenta colored calyces of the roselle flower. It has tart and cranberry like flavour and is consumed both hot and cold.

China and Thailand are the largest producers and control much of the world supply of Roselle. The world's best roselle comes from Sudan and Nigeria.

Here are the eight amazing health benefits of Roselle-

1. Hibiscus tea is rich in ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required by our body to boost and stimulate the activity of your immune system. Fresh or dried flowers of roselle contain high quantities of Vitamin C helping to boost the immune system by preventing cold and flu, act as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and also help to treat discomfort caused by fever due to its cooling effect.

2. Hibiscus provides relief from cramps and menstrual pain and also helps in restoring hormonal balance which can reduce other symptoms of menstruation like mood swings, depression, and overeating.

3. The seed capsule in the roselle fruit is known for its diuretic and tonic properties. Hence, it increases both urination and bowel movements (due to its diuretic properties), treats constipation and prevents colorectal cancer.

4. Hibiscus herbal tea is also beneficial for losing weight. If you consume food that is rich in carbohydrates, that means that it contains sugar and starch, so you are likely to gain weight. However, research studies have suggested that hibiscus extract lowers the absorption of starch and glucose and may help with weight loss. Hibiscus inhibits the production of amylase, which helps in the absorption of carbohydrates and starch, so drinking hibiscus tea prevents that absorption from occurring. Therefore, hibiscus tea is found in many weight loss products.

5. Hibiscus herbal tea contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid which has anti-tumour and antioxidant properties. A study conducted by the Department and Institute of Biochemistry at the Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, in Taichung, Taiwan suggests that hibiscus slows down the growth of cancerous cells by inducing apoptosis, commonly known as programmed cell death.

6. A report from the AHA (American Heart Association) that was published in November of 2008 states that consuming hibiscus tea lowers the blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. It also states that 1/3 of adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension. A study conducted by Odigie IP suggests that it has anti-hypertensive and cardio-protective properties that can be beneficial to people suffering from hypertension and those at high risks of various cardiovascular diseases.

7. In the Journal of Hypertension meta-survey (2015) suggests a typical reduction in blood pressure of around 7.5/3.5 units (systolic/diastolic).

8. Roselle consists of Phosphorus that has the ability to remove minor health problems like muscle weakness, numbness, fatigue and other similar ailments. Normal levels of phosphorus in the body are a great way to remain fit and active. A normal amount can be around 1200 mg for adults, according to experts and from suggestions of various health practitioners.

In Manipur, sougri is popularly used as an ingrediant in a main dish and in salad and are grown easily in gardens.

First Published:Feb. 11, 2021, 2:31 p.m.

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