Chicha de Saril / Hibiscus Tea

At this time of the year the Saril plant is flowering and ready to make Chica de Saril, which is a a popular drink in Panamanian households. It is made from the Hibiscus Sabdarifa flower, which is locally know as, Saril. Saril is also known as Abisina rose or Jamaica flower. It is native to tropical Africa and was introduced to Panama by Jamaican immigrants. My mother makes this drink in the dry season, when the saril plant is in season. It is very refreshing on hot days and also has many health benefits. It is very high in Vitamin C and contains a lot of antioxidants. For people who tend to retain water in their bodies, this drink also has diuretic properties. It is also known to reduce high blood pressure, aid digestion, and sooth coughs.


The following recipe makes a lot of Chicha de Saril.


- 3 gallons of water
- 1 gallon of saril petals. The part of the Saril that is used is the red petals that encompass the seed pod. Do not use the flower or the petals of the flower.
- 10 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 pound of crushed ginger
- 1 table spoon of cloves


- Put water to boil with the ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Boil for about half an hour before - adding the Saril. Continue boiling until the leaves lose their color and the water is red. - Once done, let the infusion cool down before straining the liquid.

Add sugar to taste and serve cold.