Zobo, as commonly called in Nigeria and most African countries, is a drink gotten from the calyces of Hibiscus sabdariffa (a.k.a. roselle).
Other names of zobo are sorrel tea, roselle tea, zoborodo, karkade, hibiscus tea, and so many others. Many people consume zobo unaware of its nutritional benefits.
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a plant well known for its nutritional and medicinal components. This can, however, be affected by the preparation of the drink. Adding artificial flavours to it reduces the percentage of nutrients we get from it.
A study by Akujobi et al (2019) showed that the highest percentage of nutrients is obtained when prepared with natural ingredients such as pineapple fruits, orange fruits, watermelon, ginger, garlic, cloves, etc.
Nutritionally, zobo is infused with vitamin C (in high percentage), vitamin B components (Riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, folic acid), macro elements (iron, magnesium, calcium), and flavonoids.
In this article, I’ll explain the benefits of zobo to the body and the conditions when it shouldn’t be taken.
Benefits of zobo drink
Lowers blood pressure
Research conducted by Nwankwo et al (2015), showed that zobo reduces angiotensin-converting enzyme and plasma aldosterone which are some factors responsible for increasing peripheral blood pressure.
It relaxes the blood vessel walls thereby reducing blood pressure.
Because of its high content of vitamins especially vitamin C, zobo boosts the immune system which is essential in fighting off infections.
Controls blood sugar
Zobo has a hypoglycemic effect which is beneficial for diabetic people. It helps in controlling blood sugar levels.
Taking a glass of zobo drink after meals aids in digestion because of the percentage of vitamins in it.
Boosts blood production
The iron content of zobo plays a role in facilitating blood production.
Tackles some menstrual problems
Zobo has been shown to have a soothing effect during menstruation. It helps reduce menstrual cramps experienced by many females. It also induces menstruation and can be beneficial to people having irregular menstrual cycles.
When Not to take Zobo
Zobo induces menstruation and such can cause miscarriage and loss of pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid taking it, especially in the first trimester.
There’s limited research on the safety of zobo in breastfeeding. To be on the safer side, it should be avoided during breastfeeding.
Low blood pressure
Due to its reducing effect on blood pressure, people with low blood pressure should avoid taking it to avoid severe complications of hypotension (low blood pressure).
People taking antihypertensive drugs and hypoglycemic drugs (drugs for diabetes).
People taking these drugs should reduce their intake of zobo because of the hypoglycemic and antihypertensive effects of zobo.
This is to avoid extremely low levels of blood sugar and blood pressure. Regular monitoring of your sugar level and blood pressure is advised.
With Anti-malarial drugs
The high content of vitamin C reduces the effectiveness of antimalarial drugs, it should be avoided while on antimalarial treatment
With all these benefits, you can see that zobo is far better than the carbonated drinks you take every day. You should also have it in mind that the nutritional benefits are higher when prepared with natural ingredients than artificial flavours. So it’s best to be prepared by you.
You should also avoid it if you fall under the above-mentioned categories. If you’re confused if your condition fits taking it, consult your health practitioner.
- Akujobi, I.C., Obicheozo, G., & Nwokorie, C.U. (2019) – Nutrient composition, phytochemical and sensory properties of zobo (Hibiscus sabdariffa) drinks substituted with pineapple (Ananas comosus) and orange (Citrus sinensis) juices.
- Nwachukwu, D.C., Aneke, E.I., Obika, L.F., & Nwachukwu, N.K. (2015). Effects of aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system of Nigerians with mild to moderate essential hypertension: A comparative study with lisinopril.