I don’t know if you have heard of sorrel leaves before. But I bet you would have heard that green leaves are chock-full of nutrients and all the other healthy stuff. But that’s not the reason I am talking about sorrel leaves. There’s more.
It’s the taste. Seriously. Nutrition and healthfulness are common to all green leafy vegetables. But it is the distinct and flavorful taste that sets sorrel leaves apart. And hey, the mind-blowing benefits too. Want to know more, don’t you? Just keep reading.
Sorrel – A Brief
Scientific Name – Rumex acetosa
Native – Europe and North Asia
Sorrel is a perennial herb, also known as sheep sorrel, spinach dock, sour grabs and grass because of its sharp, tart and sour taste (1). The herb is often confused with spinach and hibiscus. Sorrel has spade-shaped leaves and reddish-green flowers that turn purple after full bloom, which denotes their acidic nature. Its seeds are brown in color.
Remember the special Essiac tea? Sorrel leaf is one of the key ingredients in this beverage.
- Sorrel is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, and B9.
- It has high amounts of vitamin C.
- It contains oxalic acid, which causes its sour taste.
- Rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and iron.
- Though it is rich in proteins and carbohydrates, it has a negligible quantity of fats.
- Rich in flavonoids.
Now, let’s take a look at the different health benefits these green leaves have to offer.
Benefits Of Sorrel Leaves
- Improve Eyesight
- Help In Weight Loss
- Detoxify Your Body
- Prevent Cancer And Tumor
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Reduce Cold Sores And Fever Blisters
- Cure Skin Diseases
- Helpful In Reducing Milk Flow
- Prevent Scurvy
- Treat Insomnia And Hypertension
- Make Your Hair Healthy
- Heal Wounds
- Strengthen Bones
- Treat Anemia
- Helpful In Treating Urinary Tract Infection, Gonorrhea And Hemorrhages
- Enhance Your Digestive Health
- Boost Energy
- Strengthen Immunity
- Help Maintain Renal Health
Health Benefits Of Sorrel Leaves
1. Improve Eyesight
If you have been experiencing vision problems lately, it’s time you add these leaves to your diet.
2. Help In Weight Loss
Looking forward to shed a few pounds to fit into your sexy little black dress for that dinner date? Why don’t you go for sorrel leaves?
Sorrel leaves are rich in many vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates. They contain a negligible amount of fat and are low in calories. Therefore, sorrel leaves are a good option for health conscious people who want to lose weight.
[ Read: Power Yoga Help In Weight Loss ]
3. Detoxify Your Body
Sorrel contains flavonoids and other antioxidants that make it a good diuretic and purgative. This helps in flushing out harmful toxins from the body. Sorrel leaves contain protocatechuic acid that aids in body detox. Sorrel tea and sorrel-infused water are often used for detoxification of the body. It also relieves bloating (4).
4. Prevent Cancer And Tumor
Did you know sorrel leaves are also used in herbal cancer treatment?
The oxalic acid present in the fresh sorrel leaves acts as a preventive measure for cancers and tumors. But remember to limit your intake as excessive consumption can be harmful (5). Sorrel leaves contain chlorophyll and carotenoids along with many vitamins and minerals that help in fighting, preventing, and treating breast cancer (6).
5. Lower Blood Pressure
In today’s day and age, we see a lot of people falling victim to hypertension due to stress. Sorrel leaves can help keep your blood pressure under control.
Sorrel leaves are rich in antioxidants that help in lowering the bad cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels in the body. This results in lower blood pressure levels (7).
6. Reduce Cold Sores And Fever Blisters
Cold sores and fever blisters usually occur around the lips and the mouth and the skin around them is sore and painful.
Sorrel leaves are rich in flavonoids and oligomeric and polymeric proanthocyanidins that have proven to be helpful in treating cold sores and fever blisters.
7. Cure Skin Diseasess
Sorrel leaves are like an elixir for our skin, fighting all types of skin diseases like eczema, ringworm, etc.
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, which helps in the treatment of many skin issues and diseases (8). Dried sorrel leaves are used to treat itching and ringworms. Sorrel leaves, when used as a face pack, prevent wrinkles and tighten the skin. They also have antimicrobial and anti-allergic properties.
8. Helpful In Reducing Milk Flow
Sorrel is considered safe for women as it helps prevent breast cancer. But doctors advise against the consumption of sorrel during and post pregnancy. It can be because sorrel has some side effects and can harm the baby, and also because sorrel reduces the production of breastmilk. However, this effect becomes useful at the time of weaning when the aim is to reduce and lessen the flow of milk.
9. Prevent Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease caused by the deficiency of vitamin C. Sorrel, being rich in vitamin C, prevents and cures this painful condition (9).
10. Treat Insomnia And Hypertension
Hypertension can lead to sleepless nights. And you know how important it is to have a sound sleep. If you are sleep deprived and are looking for a remedy to solve your problem, here’s help. Drink a glass of sorrel tea or add a few herbs to your salad. Trust me, it works!
11. Make Your Hair Healthy
Sorrel leaves are an excellent tonic for your mane. They can make your hair healthy, strong, and lustrous.
Sorrel is rich in vitamins A, B, and C. All these vitamins are amazing for dry and damaged hair. They also prevent and stop hair fall and treat baldness.
12. Heal Wounds
The anti-inflammatory properties of sorrel leaves come in handy when you want to treat any wounds.
Sorrel leaves treat ulcers, boils, swelling, and scorbutic diseases effectively. They can be used as an antidote for scorpion poison too (11).
13. Strengthen Bones
You know that these leaves are rich in calcium, so why not strengthen your bones by including them in your diet? They are
especially beneficial for women as their bones become weak once they reach their 30s.
14. Treat Anemia
Most women become anemic due to lack of nutrition, heavy bleeding during periods or post pregnancy.
Sorrel is a good source of iron, sodium, and phosphorus and also contains chlorophyll. It helps in increasing the hemoglobin level in the body and is hence beneficial for people with anemia.
15. Helpful In Treating Urinary Tract Infection, Gonorrhea And Hemorrhages
Sorrel leaves can help treat various conditions like Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), gonorrhea, and hemorrhage.
The diuretic properties of sorrel help in the treatment of UTI (12).
16. Enhance Your Digestive Health
You can improve your digestive health by adding this wonder leaf to your drinks, soups, and salads to prevent various conditions like constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and many other gastrointestinal disorders.
Sorrel leaves are full of dietary fiber that adds bulk to the stools, which makes bowel movements easy. It also helps in reducing the cholesterol levels in the body (13).
17. Boost Energy
Feeling tired after a long day at work? Consuming sorrel can help revive your lost energy levels. Here’s how.
Sorrel is high in iron that boosts the production of RBCs. This increases blood circulation in the body. This, along with the increase in oxygen supply in the body, helps boost the energy levels (14).
18. Strengthen Immunity
Regular consumption of sorrel leaves can protect your body from toxins and harmful elements.
The vitamin C content in sorrel helps to optimize and strengthen your immunity. The ascorbic acid also increases the WBC count and antibodies, thus protecting your body from foreign invasion (15).
19. Help Maintain Renal Health
Sorrel leaves are perfect for your kidneys.
The diuretic properties of sorrel help in maintaining kidney health. It stimulates the flow of urine, thereby ensuring detoxification of the kidneys.
How To Use Sorrel Leaves
Sorrel is most commonly used to prepare sauces and soups. Sorrel soup is a famous dish made with eggs, chicken stock, and cream. Its pureed sauce is served with fish. Young, fresh sorrel leaves are also mixed in salads because of their 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.
Let’s take a look at a few recipes now.
1. Sorrel Leaves Tea
Let’s begin with the humble tea.
What You Need
- A handful of sorrel leaves
- Cinnamon stick
- 2-3 cloves
- 1 cup hot water
- Sweetener of your choice (sugar syrup or honey)
How To Make
- Boil water and transfer it to a pitcher. Add dried sorrel leaves and spices to the pitcher.
- Strain the mixed water after five minutes into a cup and add sweetener. Your hot tea is ready to be served.
Note: You can make iced sorrel tea too. For that, you will have to keep the spices and sorrel overnight in the fridge.
2. Sorrel Leaf Drink – Caribbean Style
Why not give your boring drink a Caribbean twist?
What You Need
- 2 cups dried sorrel leaves
- 1 tbsp white rice (uncooked)
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- A pinch of ground cinnamon
- 8 allspice berries
- 6 cloves
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 cup sugar
How To Make
- Add sugar, spices, juice, rice, ginger, and four cups of water in a saucepan and let it boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the dried sorrel leaves. Cover the mix and let it set for a day.
- Strain the mix and refrigerate. Serve chilled.
3. Sorrel Soup
Sorrel is an excellent ingredient for soups. Here’s how you can make lip-smacking soup.
What You Need
- 3 cups sorrel leaves, washed and dried
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 chopped sweet onion
- 5 to 6 small potatoes (cut into chunks)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (your choice)
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
Garnishing with an ingredient of your choice (coriander, yogurt or cucumber slices)
How To Make
- Cut the sorrel leaves in ribbons and place them aside.
- Heat the butter on medium flame in a large saucepan.
- Add onions and cook until they turn brown.
- Add sorrel and potatoes to the pan. Add enough broth to cover the potatoes.
- Bring the mix to a boil. Lower the heat and cook till the potatoes are soft and well cooked. This will take you another 15 minutes.
- Now, blend half the content into a smooth puree. Repeat until all the content gets pureed.
- Transfer it back into the pan and whisk the eggs with a portion of the soup.
- Add the egg to the pan and cook till the mix thickens.
- Your soup is ready! Add salt and pepper, and garnish with ingredients of your choice.
In addition to these recipes, you can use dried or full sorrel leaves in a variety of dishes. Here are a few interesting ones:
- Sorrel sauce works well with fishes.
- Add them to your omelet mix.
- Use them as a stuffing for meat.
- Can be used in mashed potatoes.
- Use with hummus and pasta.
- Make sorrel pesto and use it on pizzas.
A Word Of Caution
Like all other herbs, sorrel leaves too can have some adverse effects.
- Sorrel contains a good amount of oxalic acid. It decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium, leading to the formation of kidney stones. Sorrel leaves that have passed their tender age have a higher amount of oxalic acid. So, it is better to use the tender ones.
- Due to 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 liver diseases.
- People suffering from skin diseases or asthma should avoid sorrel.
While a hardcore non-vegetarian may be hesitant to eat ‘leaves,’ the fact remains that these herbs are an excellent and natural way to stay healthy. Go ahead, 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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