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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Red Sorrel (Gongura Leaves)

Red Sorrel (Gongura Leaves)

Its commonly known as red sorrel leaves , but also known as Roselle

The botanical name is : Hibiscus Cannabinus

In Tamil it is known as Pulichya keerai

In Telegu it is known as Gongura

In Hindi it is known as Ambada and in some places as Ambadi

The Gongura leaves have a very sour taste. It is generally found in pastures where the soil contains iron. I think, we could easily say that it is most popular in Andhra Pradesh.They have been employed from the most distant time as a salad in the Western countries and also to make sauces and as a marinade for their meats.

How do we identify the Gongura (Sorrel) leaves -The leaves are oblong, the lower ones 3 to 6 inches in length, slightly arrow-shaped at the base, with very long petioles. The upper ones are sessile. They frequently become a beautiful crimson.

Constituents: The leaves contain a considerable quantity of binoxalate of potash, which gives them their acid flavour and medicinal and dietetic properties.

The sour taste of Sorrel is due to the acid oxalate of potash it contains; tartaric and tannic acids are also present.

Medicinal Properties :

Sorrel sharpens the appetite,

It assuages heat.

Red Sorrel has some health benefits too and is useful in relieving symptoms of fever. Sorrel is prevalent in all hot diseases, to cool any inflammation and heat of blood in agues pestilential or choleric, or sickness or fainting, arising from heat, and to refresh the overspent spirits with the violence of furious or fiery fits of agues: to quench thirst, and procure an appetite in fainting or decaying stomachs: For it resists the putrefaction of the blood, kills worms, and is a cordial to the heart, which the seed doth more effectually, being more drying and binding.

Fresh leaves of the plant are useful in stimulating the stomach and aiding its action.

The medicinal action of Sorrel is refrigerant and diuretic, and it is employed as a cooling drink in all febrile disorders.

It cools the liver. A decoction of the flowers, made with wine, was said to cure jaundice and ulcerated bowels, the root in decoction or powder being also employed for jaundice, and gravel and stone in the kidneys. In India, a tablespoon of fresh red sorrel juice mixed with butter-milk (made from cow's milk) is recommended once daily in the treatment of jaundice.

It Strengthens the heart

It is an antiscorbutic, resisting putrefaction and in the making of sallets imparts a grateful quickness to the rest as supplying the want of oranges and lemons. Together with salt, it gives both the name and the relish to sallets from the sapidity, which renders not plants and herbs only, but men themselves pleasant and agreeable.

The leaves, wrappped in a colewort leaf and roasted in the embers, and applied to a large imposthume, botch boil, or plague-sore, doth both ripen and break it.

A syrup made with the juice of Fumitory and Sorrel had the reputation of curing the itch, and the juice, with a little vinegar, was considered a cure for ringworm, and recommended as a gargle for sore throat.
It is corrective of scrofulous deposits: for cutaneous tumours, a preparation compounded of burnt alum, citric acid, and juice of Sorrel, applied as a paint, has been employed with success.

The leaves of this herb are useful in the prevention and treatment of scurvy which is a deficiency caused by lack of vitamin C.

Both the root and the seed were formerly esteemed for their astringent properties, and were employed to stem haemorrhage.

Both roots and seeds, as well as the herb, are held powerful to resist the poison of the scorpion.

Imagine, the benefits of this humble herb, so why not add it to our recipes in some form or the other.

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