Our family first found out about cranberry hibiscus during a eco-tour at ECHO Global farms in North Fort Myers, Florida where we were given a proper introduction to the plant including its many health benefits.
Although the plants is very ornamental as its beauty and color contrasts really nice with all shades of green, the plant is also edible. We started growing cranberry hibiscus in our own yard to create a hallway effect in the pathway to our garden shed and because we wanted a plant that was beautiful but also edible, the fake roselle as it is also known, was perfect for the job.
The plant grows rather quickly and can reach up to 7 feet tall. A tip to get your cranberry hibiscus to grow tall is to make sure you prune the bottom so instead of growing horizontally they will grow vertically.
Apart from growing very easily and needing almost no care besides a lot of sun and water, the fake roselle also has many valuable nutrients such as vitamin B13, B2, A and C as well as protein, antioxidants and anthocyanin which is known to help fight cancer, improve the functioning of liver and lower cholesterol levels.
The younger leaves have a stronger taste and just like cranberry, the plants is a bit tart and bittersweet.
Consuming cranberry hibiscus has many health benefits including the following:
- Helps boost immune system because of its vitamin C and A properties as well as antioxidants which helps protect the body against free radicals.
- Improves digestion because it has diuretic properties which improves bowel and bladder functions.
- Reduce high blood pressure with the help of the micronutrients known as polyphenols that helps fight cardiovascular and many other diseases.
- Help improve skin conditions because it is packed with vitamin A and C, hence why the cranberry hibiscus can help fight acne, scars, eczema, sunburn and even skin allergies.
- Offers liver protection - Anthocyanin along with polyphenols helps with liver protection and fighting inflammation.
But how do you add the cranberry hibiscus to your diet and take advantage of all the benefits it provides? Well, the plant is pretty versatile and can be used in many ways. Here are a few of them:
Cranberry hibiscus tea - In a teapot put a few young leaves and add boiling water. Cover and brew for 5 - 10 minutes. Pour it through a sieve and enjoy with or without raw local honey.
Boiled eggs cranberry Hibiscus salad - Mix cut up boiled eggs, cranberry hibiscus, queso fresco or queijo minas (Brazilian white cheese), olive oil or avocado oil and walnuts. This salad is a huge success in my house.
Stews and Soups - Add the young leaves to your soups and stews at the last 5/10 minutes left of cooking.
Finally, the cranberry hibiscus is very easy to propagate and will easily grow from a cutting so if you know someone who has the plant ask them for a cutting and place it in fresh, clean water until you see the roots growing. Once the roots are about a couple centimeters long, you can then transplant them into a pot or plant them on the ground.