FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS

Sharon’s rose: an ancient gem with a new hype

Sharon’s rose is a beautiful trumpet-like flower found in a variety of colours and known by a multitude of names. In West Africa, she is known as Bissap or Zobo. In the Caribbean, she is known as Sorrel. In Egypt, Karkadé. In India, Orhul. She is the Queen of Tropical Flowers; we call her Hibiscus. Hibiscus originated in North Africa and Southeast Asia but can grow in any tropical or subtropical climate. She is found in 84 countries around the world and exists in over 200 species.
b
Although undergoing a recent glow up, Sharon’s rose has been used for thousands of years and for a multitude of things. She is used for food, medicine, papermaking, ropemaking, clothe dyeing, landscaping, hair care, skin care and even spiritual worship in Bengal, India. She is smart and a good dancer. Daily, she moves in a circadian rhythmic nastic state called Nyctinasty, opening her leaflets during the day and closing them at night to protect herself from adverse conditions.
b
At Setovilla, we recognise the health benefits of this beautiful flower and have made it the primary ingredient of our food and drink products. Our version of Hibiscus, sourced from the Northern part of Nigeria, has a reddish-purple hue, a beautifully refreshing tart flavour and is rich in Vitamin C. We have infused the Hibiscus with botanical extracts to create our healthy and incredibly refreshing ọkọ̀, an alternative to mainstream fruit beverages on the market today.
b
But, here at Setovilla, Hibiscus is more than just an ingredient, it’s a loving memory and reminder of my childhood. Growing up in Nigeria, I would spend my lunch money on hawkers who stood outside of the school gates selling homemade Hibiscus infusions in wheelbarrows. Creating their own, unique recipes at home, they would sell them proudly to my friends and I in used plastic bottles. For the hawkers, selling their concoctions in pre-used plastic bottles must have been an economical choice, however, now I consider them to be innovative recycling champions. For us kids, we were not bothered by fancy brands or pretty aesthetics, we were just excited to enjoy each refreshing mouthful in the cool shade after a busy day at school.
b
Living in the UK, I channelled the creative energy of the wheelbarrow Hibiscus hawkers into making something which is good for the body and good for the soul. I tried to bring as much authenticity to the brand as possible, reminiscing on childhood memories and delicious flavours. ọkọ̀ is a botanical Hibiscus infusion which is very lightly sweetened with unrefined cane sugar and can be served hot or cold, on its own or as a mixer with your favourite alcoholic beverage.
b
The best thing about ọkọ̀ is that it exists so that you can do good whilst feeling good. Each bottle you drink contributes to helping a child living in education poverty. We help each child create their own success by providing better education, improved opportunities and a love for school. Education and opportunities have always been important themes throughout this project, especially during the creation of ọkọ̀, when I was so often reminded of my own school days, sat with friends, enjoying our hawker drinks.
b
So, whilst the hype around Sharon’s rose is a seemingly new craze for most people, for us at Setovilla it is something far more important than that.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published