Can you eat Jamaica flowers?
Jamaica flower is part of many trees, shrubs, and grasses of the Malvaceae family, plants that come from temperate and tropical regions.
They are trumpet-shaped and have many colors. They are also known as hibiscus in some countries in South America or the Caribbean. The most commonly cultivated type is Hibiscus sabdariffa, a shrub marked by red stems and wide flowers that turn red and pink.
In this brief guide, we will address the question, "Can you eat the Jamaican flower?". We will also look at the health benefits and risks associated with eating Jamaican flowers.
You can eat Jamaican flowers by either cooking, raw, pickling, as a spice, or as food dye. Most people in the Nile valley of Africa and in Asia use it to make tea.
What are the uses of the Jamaican flower?
Water is boiled on a stove or a kettle and then the Jamaican flower petals whether fresh or dried are put into the boiled water and allowed to infuse for about 4 minutes. You then strain the water, sweeten it and now it's ready for drinking.
Jamaican flower is used in the manufacturing of vitamin pills which act as supplements for people with certain deficiencies.
Jamaican flowers due to their colorful appearance are used in banquet rooms and weddings to make them colorful and also for their sweet smell. The different colors of the flowers can be mixed according to a particular occasion.
Jamaican flower in traditional and folk times was used to lower blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol and also induce diuretic effects due to its bioactive compounds.
In some parts of China, the Jamaican flower is used as food and food flavoring too. The young tender leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach and sometimes the soft ones are added raw in salad making.
What nutrients are found in the Jamaican flowers?
Raw Jamaican flowers have vitamins, carbohydrates, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The above components tend to be low in Jamaican flower tea.
Jamaican flower also contains anthocyanins, which makes it attractive for its red color. It also contains flavones, phenolic acids, and organic acids that act as antioxidants.
Antioxidants are elements used in the body to reduce free radicals which cause oxidative stress and can cause cell damage if not acted upon.
What are the health benefits of eating Jamaican flowers?
Lower blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to serious problems like stroke, heart failure, and kidney diseases. Clinical trials have found out that drinking Jamaican flower tea could help reduce blood pressure but more trials are recommended.
Inflammation plays a role in the development of chronic diseases such as asthma, cancer, and heart diseases. Jamaican flowers have been shown to have components that can reduce inflammation in clinical trials.
Due to its antioxidant and anti-cancer active components, the Jamaican flower is believed to have an effect against bacteria that cause symptoms like cramping, gas, and diarrhea.
Support weight loss
Several studies have suggested that Jamaican flower extracts can be used to reduce weight and also prevent obesity but more studies are required. Drinking Jamaican tea can help reduce weight loss as studies suggest.
High cholesterol may lead to health problems like stroke and heart attack, consumption of Jamaican flower extracts and tea has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol in our blood.
Help prevent cancer
Jamaican flowers contain antioxidants which help reduce free radicals in our body. The free radicals if not reduced can cause cell mutation and hence cause cancer development. Consumption of Jamaican flower tea and extracts has been found to reduce the risk of cancer development.
Are there side effects of consuming the Jamaican flower?
If taken orally, the Jamaican flower can cause stomach upset, gas and constipation.
The Jamaican flower has many health benefits and so one should incorporate it into their diet once in a while.