By: Ishraga Abbas
Sudan is famed as one of the major producers of hibiscus, locally known with its rhythmic name “karkade” .
Hibiscus is a tropical plant whose fruit is widely used as a beverage, medicine and a food complement.
The crop can be grown everywhere in the Sudan, but it flourishes best in the central plains of the mid-west and Western Sudan at large.
Karkade’, or rather hibiscus , is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family ‘malvaceae’.
The genus is quite large, comprising several hundred species that are native to temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the World.
Member species are renowned for their large, showy flowers and are often known as rose mallow.
The Karkade’ plant can grow up one meter high with alternate leaves, ovate to lanceolate, often with a toothed or lobed margin. The flowers are large, conspicuous , trumpet- shaped with five or more petals .
Karkade’ flowers can be red, white, pink, yellow or orange. The fruit is a dry five-lobed capsule, containing several seeds in each lobe.
As a refresher, Karkade’ can be taken cold or hot . It is widely taken to fight colds. It is also known as a blood pressure moderator: In case of high blood pressure, it is advised to be taken cold and in case of low blood pressure it is advised to be taken hot. It is also used as a treatment for malaria, in which case it is advised to be mixed with aradaib( fruit of the acacia tree ‘Tamarindus indica’) and carnation.
It is also used as an additive substance to a lot of fruits and drinks, thanks to its bright-red color and its pleasant flavor.
The karkade’ seeds contain fatty oils. The ear contains organic acids such as malic acid, tartaric acid and glucoside., in addition to a number of coloring substances.
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