Bissap is a very refreshing drink with a sweet taste, obtained from the infusion of dried hibiscus flowers, which give a reddish color to the juice; with the leaves, on the other hand, condiments and sauces are prepared. Hibiscus has refreshing, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Bissap juice has been shown to regulate blood pressure and reduce hypertension. It also has high levels of vitamin C and therefore can be helpful in preventing the common cold and strengthening the immune system.
Bissap juice can be served with mint leaves. It can also be served with any flavor of your choice, sometimes with orange or ginger essence, pineapple juice, tea leaves, vanilla and other flavors. Typically in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal the juice is served cold, while in Egypt it is served hot.
The drink is also known as wonjo, foléré, dabileni, tsobo, zobo or sobolo in parts of West Africa, sorrel in the Caribbean and agua de Jamaica in Mexico.
In Senegal, bissap is considered as the “national drink of Senegal“. While in Egypt and Sudan, wedding celebrations are traditionally toasted with a glass of hibiscus tea.
In Italy, bissap, known as carcadè or karkadè (from the Arabic word كَرْكَديه [karkaˈdeː]), is usually eaten hot, often with the addition of sugar and lemon juice. It was first introduced from Eritrea and was widely used as a tea substitute when the country was hit by trade sanctions for the invasion of Abyssinia.