Leaves are for animals, you say, but humans are animals too! The fact is that nature has something for everyone. Sometimes, something amazing comes from unexpected sources—like leaves!
Sorrel (RumexAcetosa) is a perennial herb, which is also known as sheep sorrel, spinach dock, sour grabs and sour grass because of its sharp, tart and sour taste (1). The herb is often confused with spinach and hibiscus. It is native to Europe and North Asia. It has spade-shaped leaves, reddish-green flowers, which turn purple after full bloom. Its seeds are brown in color. Sorrel leaves are commonly used both as fresh and dried herb in cooking and in preparation of hot and cold teas. But do you know the medicinal benefits of this herb? I am sure you have no idea about how good sorrel leaves can be for our health! Well, if you are wondering about what is so great about these leaves, read on!
- Sorrel is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2 and B9.
- It has high amounts of Vitamin C.
- It contains Oxalic acid, which causes its sour taste.
- Rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorous, sodium and iron.
- Though it contains a high amount of proteins and carbohydrates, it has negligible quantity of fats.
- Rich in flavonoids.
Health Benefits Of Sorrel Leaves:
Full of nutrients, sorrel leaves give our bodies a punch of health. Some of the sorrel leaves health benefits are:
1. Improves Eyesight:
2. Helps In Weight Loss:
Sorrel leaves are rich in many vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. But these leaves contain a negligible amount of fat and are low in calories. Therefore, sorrel leaves are a good option for health-conscious dieters who want to lose weight.
[ Read: Power Yoga Help In Weight Loss ]
3. Purgative And Diuretic Properties:
Sorrel contains flavonoids and other antioxidants, which lead to its diuretic and purgative effect. This helps in flushing out and removal of harmful toxins from the body. Sorrel leaves contains protocatechuic acid. This also aids in the detoxification of the body. Sorrel tea and sorrel-infused water are often used for detoxification of the body. It also helps in relieving bloating (4).
4. Prevents Cancer And Tumor:
The oxalic acid present in the fresh sorrel leaves act as a preventive measure for cancers and tumors. But it should not be taken in high amounts as that can be harmful (5).
5. Prevents Breast Cancer:
Sorrel leaves contain chlorophyll and carotenoids along with many vitamins and minerals, which help in fighting, preventing and treating breast cancer (6).
[ Read: Healthy Foods To Prevent Cancer ]
6. Lowers Blood Pressure Level:
Sorrel leaves are rich in antioxidants, which help in lowering down the bad cholesterol levels as well as triglyceride levels in the body. This results in lower blood pressure levels (7).
7. Reduces Cold Sores And Fever Blisters:
It also contains flavonoids, oligomeric and polymeric proanthocyanidins, which have proven to be helpful in treating cold sores and fever blisters.
8. Cures Skin Diseases:
Sorrel is rich in Vitamin C. In fact, a bowl of sorrel soup can provide up to 53% of the daily intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in the treatment of many skin problems and diseases (8). Dried sorrel leaves are used to treat itching and ringworms. Sorrel leaves, used as a face pack, prevents wrinkles and tightens the skin. They also have anti-microbial and anti-allergic properties.
9. Helpful In Reducing Milk Flow:
Sorrel is considered very good for women as it helps to prevent breast cancer, but doctors suggest against consumption of sorrel during pregnancy and after. It can be due to the fact that sorrel does have some side effects and can harm the baby, and also because sorrel reduces the production of breast milk. But this same effect becomes useful at the time of weaning when the aim is to reduce and lessen the flow of milk.
10. Prevents Scurvy:
Scurvy is a disease, which is caused by the deficiency of Vitamin C, and Sorrel being rich in Vitamin C prevents and cures this painful disease (9).
11. Treats Insomnia And Hypertension:
Sorrel leaves are used for treating insomnia and hypertension (10). They also prevent premature aging. Sorrel tea is prepared with spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger for this purpose. Another remedy is heating the sorrel leaves with castor oil and consume it.
12. Beneficial For Hair:
Sorrel is rich in Vitamin A, B and C. All these vitamins are amazing for dry and damaged hair. They also prevent and cure hair fall. It is also used to treat baldness.
13. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Sorrel leaves effectively treats ulcers, boils, swelling and scorbutic diseases. They can be used as an antidote for scorpion poison too (11)!
14. Bone Health:
Sorrel leaves are rich in calcium, which helps in strengthening the bones. It is especially beneficial for women as their bones become weak when they reach the middle age.
[ Read: Mustard Oil Beneficial For Hair ]
Sorrel is a good source of iron, sodium and phosphorous and also contains the green leafy content chlorophyll. It helps in increasing the hemoglobin level in the body and is beneficial for anemic people.
16. Helpful In Treating Urinary Tract Infection, Gonorrhea And Hemorrhages:
The diuretic properties of sorrel help in the treatment of UTI (12).
How To Use:
Sorrel is most commonly used to prepare sauces and soups. Sorrel soup is a famous dish made with eggs, chicken stock and cream, and its pureed sauce is served with fish. Young, fresh sorrel leaves are also mixed in salads because of its lemon-like taste. In Jamaica, sorrel leaves and flowers are used to make tea, which is served both hot and chilled. It is also mixed with buttermilk or used to prepare smoothies and juices.
A Word of Caution:
Like all other herbs, sorrel leaves too can cause some adverse affects.
- Sorrel contains a good amount of oxalic acid, which decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium, allowing the formation of kidney stones. Older sorrel has higher amount of oxalic acid, so it is better to use young and fresh sorrel leaves.
- Because of the presence of oxalic acid, sorrel must not be cooked in aluminum or iron cookware as the acid reaction with the metal makes it toxic and inedible.
- Consuming high amounts of sorrel can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and even lead to liver diseases.
- People suffering from skin diseases or asthma should avoid sorrel.
The hardcore carnivore may still be hesitant to eat ‘leaves’ but the fact remains that these herbs are a great way to stay healthy, naturally. Come on, give them a try!
Do you use herbs of any kind for health reasons? Have you faced any adverse reaction? Share with us in the comments section below.
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