Sorrel is a fascinating and festive perennial herb growing in Cricket Square’s edible gardens as we head towards Christmas.
It’s used all around the world and is cultivated for a wide variety of uses, although primarily as food with its sharp, tangy taste reminiscent of wild strawberries or kiwi thanks to the oxalic acid component found in the leaves.
The health benefits of sorrel include its ability to boost eyesight, reduce certain skin infections, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, build strong bones, increase circulation, increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, increase appetite, protect against diabetes, strengthen heart health and improve the kidney health.
The high content of dietary fibre that can be found in most varieties of sorrel allows food to move through the digestive system, improving your gastrointestinal health and reducing conditions like constipation, diarrhea, bloating and cramping, as well as gastrointestinal issues. Dietary fibre can also help to reduce total cholesterol in the body, thereby protecting heart health.
Sorrel is rich in potassium, which is an essential mineral for human health. Potassium is a vasodilator, as well as is instrumental in maintaining fluid balance throughout the body. This means that potassium reduces the stress on the cardiovascular system by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries. Lowered blood pressure reduces the chances of dangerous blood clotting and excessive strain on the heart that can lead to coronary heart disease and other complications.
Although the studies looking into the antioxidant components of sorrel are still ongoing, there is a good evidence that it contains polyphenolic compounds, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, all of which function as antioxidants in the human body. The wealth of antioxidants that sorrel contains means that it is very effective at seeking out free radicals in the body and neutralising them.
Vitamin A, another of the essential vitamins found in sorrel, can improve eyesight and reduce macular degeneration and cataracts. Beta-carotene, which is a derivative of vitamin A, acts as an antioxidant, and combined with the other important antioxidant compounds in the body, it can greatly boost eye health and prevent age-related degradation.
Significant iron levels in sorrel mean that it boosts the red blood cell production and prevents anemia (iron deficiency). Increased circulation boosts oxygen levels throughout the body in the vital organs, boosts hair growth, increases energy levels, and speeds up the healing process (in conjunction with the protein content of sorrel).
Sorrel’s vitamin C content is impressive and can stimulate the immune system and increase the white blood cell count in the body, which is the first line of defense against pathogens and other foreign invaders in the body.
Our Sorrel Martini is available at The Brasserie, so now you have every reason to enjoy this festive drink.