A herbaceous plant that grows in tropical regions and cultivated up to the fringe of the deserts, carcade is native to Guinea. As time went by, it spread widely throughout West Africa (more specifically Togo, Niger, Senegal, southern Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Ivory Coast); from there, it went on to further regions of the African continent, and is now cultivated in Central African Republic, Egypt, Congo and Botswana.
This plant has many different names, and for example in Niger is called bisspa, in Autralia it is called rosella, and in the United States it is often called jamaica. It is most often drunk in the form of syrup that is extracted from its red flowers. It is also known in Southeast Asia, Mexico and the French West Indies.
It belongs to the mallow family, and is the topic of much fascinating research in the medical field thanks to its positive impact on health. What are its therapeutic properties? What is the best advice and precautions to benefit from it in the most appropriate manner?
Carcade, a short story
Carcade belongs to the hibiscus genus. The manner in which the word is constructed shows that the word “Hibiscus”, from the greek “hibiskos”, designated the word marshmallow.
This plant has been brought over and planted in the New World during the slave trade by African natives who turned it into a staple item in their culinary habits. In Africa, some say that carcade is a magical plant that has the power to open the mind to reading the future, provoke love and give rise to sexual desire.
Building on this belief, during courting and love-related rituals, flower buds are burned and braided into wreaths worn around the neck during marriage ceremonies.
Carcade health benefits and therapeutic properties
This taproot shrub has leaves that taste of sorrel. Its yellow colored flowers are mottled with red-brown spots and form a long red or green calyx (depending on the variety). The flower boasts all kinds of merits.
But what about the therapeutic properties and health benefits?
Also called “pink tea”, “Empire tea”, “hibiscus” or “Guinea red sorrel”, carcade is a mucilage-rich plant, which bears fruits that have a high vitamin C and citric acid content.
As for its properties, carcade demonstrates effective anti-inflammatory, antiasthenic, antioxidant, diuretic and antispasmodic (gastro-intestinal and uterine) properties, and is also known for its revitalizing, invigorating and slimming properties!
Recommended to lower blood pressure, Empire tea is also used for:
– fighting drowsiness,
– lowering arterial hypertension,
– soothing respiratory tract inflammations,
– reducing gastro-intestinal spasms,
– favoring weight gain
– reducing incidence of cardio-vascular diseases.
Its flowers, used externally (dressings dipped in hibiscus infusions) have a positive effect on wound healing for abscesses, dermatosis, edema and weeping eczema.
How to use carcade
How to treat oneself with carcade?
A refreshing drink can easily be prepared from carcade. In a pot, add 4 fluid ounces (12 cl) of natural cane sugar and ½ cup of chopped carcade calyces in 1 quart (1 liter) boiling water.
Cover and let steep for ¼ hour. Filter, then add ¾ quarts (¾ liter) of cold water and sliced oranges or honey. Drink hot or cold.
In capsule form, swallow 1000 mg dried carcade 2 or 3 times a day.
As a tincture, drink 1 teaspoon twice a day.
As an infusion, add 2 teaspoons of chopped carcade in 8 fluid ounces (25 cl) boiling water. Let steep for 15 minutes. Filter. Add sugar. Drink.
Good to know about carcade
Carcade is not recommended for expectant or nursing mothers. Ask your doctor about taking this herb.