Effect of zobo drink on some haemoglobin, packed cell volume and Red blood cell


Hibiscus sabdariffa is a shrub belonging to the family malvacae, originally native to tropical Africa,hibiscus sabdariffa is grown in the subtropics and tropics worldwide and has become naturalized in tropical America and Asia (Mahadevan andShivali, 2009).It is an interesting and beautiful plant in the home landscape.

In Nigeria two botanical varieties are recognized hibiscus sabdariffa with red calyces as well as hibiscus rosasinesis with green calyces (Babalola, 2000). The dried calyces of hibiscus sabdariffa with red calyces have gained wide acceptance as a medicinal herb and raw material for the production of a local soft drink commonly called zobo in Nigeria (Usoh, Akpan, Etim and Farombi, 2005). It is also used to make juices, sauces, jellies, wines and pies.

Hibiscus sabdariffa is a robust many branched shrub like annual plant that gets 4-7ft (1.2-2.1m)tall. The dark green leaves are about 6inch (15cm)across and deeply dissected into 5 narrow lobes. The stems, branches, leaf veins and petioles (leaf stems) are reddish purple. At the bottom of each flower, enclosing the bases of the five petals is a fleshly bright red cup-like structure called a calyx, the calyx is about 1inch (2.5cm) in diameter.

Hibiscus sabdariffa grows well in most soils that are well drained. The flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by insects. It requires a monthly rainfall ranging from 130 to 260mm in the first three to four months of growth.

According to (El-sheriff and Sarwat,2007) hibiscuss sabdariffa is susceptible to root knot, nematodes and beetles so you may not be able to grow it in the same place year after year.

Medicinally extracts of hibiscus sabdariffa are used in the treatment of variety of ailments including high blood pressure, liver diseases and fever (Wang, Wang, Lin, Chin, Chou and Tseng,2000, Ross, 2003). It is also used to arrest bleeding, as an antiseptic, refrigerant, demulcent, digestive, diuretic and tonic. Hibiscus flowers contain active compound anthocyanins which are believed to be active anti-hypertensive compound acting as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Roselle (hibiscus sabdariffa L.) belongs to the family Malvaceae, locally called karkade, is an important annual crop grown successfully in tropical and sub tropical climates. The commercially important part of the plant is the fleshly calyx (sepals) surrounding the fruit (capsules). The whole plant can be used as beverage, or the dried calyces can be soaked in water to prepare a colorful cold drink, or may be boiled in water and taken as hot drink. It also has some medicinal properties. The seed contains 17.8-21% non-edible oil and 20% protein, and are sometimes used for animal feed. Roselle is a flexible plant with a number of uses. It is intercropped with crop staples such as sorghum and sesame, or planted along field margins. It requires little care. Its leaves, seeds, capsules and stems are used in traditional medicines. (McClintock, 2004).

Roselle (hibiscus sabdariffa L.) is known in different countries by various common names, including roselle, razelle, sorrel, red sorrel, Jamaican sorrel, Indian sorrel, guinea sorrel, sour-sour and Queensland jelly plant. In English speaking countries it is known as Roselle, Jamaican Sorrel, Red Sorrel, Indian Sorrel, Rozelle Hemp, Natal Sorrel and Rosella. The Japanese name is Rohzelu; also Sabdriqa or Lalambari in Urdu; and Lal-ambari, Patwa or Laalambaar in Hindi.In French, Roselle also is the word for the redwinged thrush. In Switzerland, the Edible Calyx is called Karkade. The Roselle fiber is called India Rosella Hemp, Rosella fiber, Rosella hemp or Pusa hemp. Vernacular names for Roselle include Rozelle, Jelly okra, Lemon bush andFlorida Cranberry. (El-Sheriff and Sarwat, 2007).

Hibiscus Sabdariffais a multi-used plant, whose outer leaves (calyx), also known as natal sorrel, is frequently used in the production of jelly, jam, juice, wine, syrup, gelatin, pudding, cake, ice cream and flavoring. Its brilliant red color and unique flavor make it a valuable food product. Roselle is an annual crop used in food, animal feed, Nutraceuticals, Cosmeceuticals and Pharmaceuticals. The calyces, stems and leaves are acid in flavor. The juice from the calyces is claimed to be a health-enhancing drink due to its high content of vitamin C, Anthocyanins and other Antioxidants. In Sudan, the dry calyx is used to produce a flavorsome and healthy drink and dried calyces are used for tea, jelly, marmalade, ice cream, sorbets,butter, pies, sauces,tarts and other desserts. The seeds have also been used as an aphrodisiac coffee substitute. (Mohammed, Fernadez,Pineda and Aguilar, 2007).

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Nevertheless, in earlier research (Olatunji , Adebayor, Oguntoye, Olatunde, Olatunji and Soladoye,2005) reported that the aqueous extract of hibiscus sabdariffa petals significantly decreased the red blood cell count, haematocrit and Haemoglobin concentrations as well as Platelet count while the white blood cell count, percentage of Neutrophils and Lymphocytes were not significantly affected. It was also the opinion of (Olatunji et al.,2005) that the consumption of the aqueous extract of hibiscus Sabdariffa may lead to some level of Anaemia, despite its beneficial effects. According to (Ejere, 2013), he carried out a research on experimental animals using the aqueous extract of hibiscus Sabdariffa, he observe a significant elevation in the levels of Packed cell volume, Haemoglobin, Red blood cell, Mean cell Haemoglobin, and Mean cell volume which clearly indicate that the extract has Haematocrit properties that ultimately result in increased blood volume. That is, the extract has the potential to stimulate erythropoietin release in the kidney, which is the Humoral regulator of RBC production (Polenakovic and Sikole, 1996; Sanchez-Elsner, Ramirez, Radriguez-Sanz, Varela, Bernabew and Botella, 2004). This corroborated with earlier finding of (Ashafa , Sonmonu andAfolayan,2011) that the Packed cell volume, Haemoglobin content and RBC count are associated with the total population of red blood cells and that the steady increase observed in the serum levels of Packed cell volume and Haemoglobin is indicative of the fact that oxygen uptake and transfer was very adequate in experimental animals ( Carpenter, 1975; Ots, Murumagi and Horak,1998).

From the study of (Emelike andDapper, 2013), the administration of aqueous extract of hibiscus Sabdariffa resulted in the significant increase in Packed cell volume, Haemoglobin, White blood cell and differential. This is in agreement with the report of (Adigun, et al., 2006) where it was reported that hibiscus Sabdariffa is used in the management of Anaemia.

Phytochemical content

Roselle is rich in Anthocyanins and Protocatechuic acid. The dried calyces contain the Flavonoids  Gossypetine, Hibiscetine andSabdaretine. The major pigment formerly reported as Hibiscetine, has been identified as Daphniphylline.Small amounts of Myritillin (Delphinidin 3-Monoglucoside), Chrysanthenin (cyaniding 3-glucoside), and Delphinidin are also present. Roselle seeds are a good source of lipid soluble antioxidants, particularly Y-tocopherol (Mohammed,et. al., 2007).


Haemoglobin is the iron containing oxygen transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates (with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae) as well as tissues of some invertebrates. Haemoglobin in the blood carries Oxygen from the respiratory organs (lungs or gills) to the rest of the body (i.e the tissues). There it releases the oxygen to permit aerobic respiration to provide energy to power the function of the organism in the process called metabolism (Addass, David, Edward, Zira and Midau, 2012).

In mammals, the protein makes up about 96% of the red blood cells dry content (by weight), and around 35% of the total content (including water). Haemoglobin has an oxygen binding capacity of 1.34ml O2 per gram, which increases the total blood oxygen capacity seventy-fold compared to dissolved oxygen in blood. The mammalian Haemoglobin molecule can bind up to four oxygen molecules. Haemoglobin is involved in the transport of other gases. It carries some of the body’s respiratory Carbon dioxide   as Carbamino Haemoglobin in which CO2 is bound to the globins protein. The molecule also carries the important regulatory molecule nitric oxide bound to a Globin protein Thiol group, releasing it at the same time as oxygen (Zira and Midau,2012).

According to (Adass P.A., 2012), Haemoglobin is also found outside red blood cells and their progenitor lines. Other cells that contain Haemoglobin include the A9Dopaminergic neurons in the substantial Nigra,macrophages, Alveoli cells and Messangial cells in the kidney. In these tissues,Haemoglobin has a Non-oxygen carrying function as an antioxidant and a regulator of iron metabolism. Haemoglobin and haemoglobin like molecules are also found in many invertebrate, fungi and plants. In these organisms, Haemoglobin may carry oxygen, or they may act to transport and regulate other things such as carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide and sulfide. A variant of the molecule, called leg Haemoglobin is used to scavengeoxygen away from anaerobic systems, such as the nitrogen fixing nodules of leguminous plants, before the oxygen can poison the system.

Haemoglobin is a large complex protein molecule with a molecular weight of 64,458 consisting of four polypeptide chains linked together. An iron containing porphyrin called haem is attached to each polypeptide chain and it is this part of the molecule which is principally responsible for its oxygen carrying properties. If the ferrous (Fe2+) ion of haem is oxidized to the ferric (Fe3+) form, then the oxygen carrying capacity of the haemoglobin is lost. Haemoglobin also plays a part in the transport of carbon dioxide to the lungs. Carbon dioxide is not bound to the Haemoglobin in the same way as oxygen, but is carried in the erythrocyte in the form of bicarbonate. About 90% of the carbon dioxide is removed from the tissues in this way, the remainder being carried as bicarbonate in the plasma.

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The haemoglobin concentration in health is determined by age and sex, the reference ranges for adult males, menstruating females and neonates are 13.5-17.5g/dl, 12.0-16.0g/dl and 13.6-19.6g/dl respectively. The Haemoglobin concentration in neonates falls quite rapidly in the first few weeks of life to around 15.0g/dl, falls more slowly to about 11.0g/dl during the next year and then slowly increases throughout childhood, reaching adults levels at about 15years of age.(Baker, Silverton and Pallister, 1998).

Packed cell volume

The term Haematocrit comes from the ancient Greek words, haima (blood) and krites (judge). Together Haematocrit means “to separate”. It was coined by Magnus Blix at Uppsala in 1891 as Haematokrit, molded after Lactokrit, which was used in dairy farming (Aderemi, 2004).

The Haematocrit also known as packed cell volume (PCV) or erythrocyte volume fraction (EVF), is the volume percentage of red blood cells in the blood. It is normally 45% for men and 40% forwomen. It is considered an integral part of a person’s complete blood count results, along with Haemoglobin concentration, white blood cell count and platelet count.(John, Lippincott and Wilkins, 2009).

Because the purpose of red blood cell is to transfer oxygen from the lungs to body tissues, a blood sample’s Haematocrit (the red blood cell volume percentage) can become a point of reference of its capability of delivering oxygen. Additionally, the measure of a subject’s blood sample’s Hematocrit levels may expose possible diseases in the subject. Anaemia refers to an abnormally low Hematocrit, as opposed to polycythemia, which refers to an abnormally high Hematocrit. For a condition such as Anaemia that goes unnoticed, one way it can be diagnosed is by measuring the Hematocrit levels in the blood. Both are potentially life threatening disorders. (Zubieta-Calleja, Poulev and Zubieta-Castillo, 2007).

Red blood cells

Red blood cells (RBCs), also called erythrocytes, are the most common type of blood cells and the vertebrate organism’s principal means of delivering oxygen (O2) to the body tissues via blood flow through the circulatory system. RBCs take up oxygen in the lungs or gills and release it into tissues while squeezing through the body’s capillaries. The cytoplasm of erythrocytes is rich in Haemoglobin, an iron containing bio-molecule that can bind oxygen and is responsible for the red color of the cell. The cell membrane is composed of proteins and lipids, and this structure provides properties essential for physiological cell function such as deformability and stability while traversing the circulatory system and specifically the capillary network (Pierige, Serafini, Ross and Magnani, 2008).

In humans, mature red blood cells are flexible and oval biconcave disks. They lack a cell nucleus and most organelles, in order to accommodate maximum space for Haemoglobin. Approximately 2.4 million new erythrocytes are produced per seconds in human adults. The cells develop in the bone marrow and circulate for about 100-120 days in the body before their components are recycled by macrophages. Each circulation takes about 20 seconds. Approximately a quarter of the cells in the human body are red blood cells. Red blood cells are also known as red cells, red blood corpuscles (an archaic term), Haematids, Erythroid cells or Erythrocytes. Packed red blood cells are red blood cells that have been collected from a patient and processed (Vinay, Abul, Nelson and Richard, 2007).

Preparation of zobo drink


4-5 cups of dried zobo leaves

Ginger (2-3 fingers);it constitute of the following:

Energy                    1404Kj

Carbohydrate          71.62g

Sugars                     3.39g

Dietary fiber            14.1g

Fat                           4.24g

Protein                     8.89g

Vitamin B1                        0.046mg

Vitamin B2              0.17mg

Vitamin B3              9.62mg

Vitamin B5              0.477mg

Vitamin B6                        0.626mg

Vitamin B8                       13ug

Vitamin C              0.7mg

Vitamin E               0.0mg

Calcium                  114mg

Iron                         19.8mg

Magnesium              214mg

Manganese               33.3mg

Phosphorus             168mg


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Sodium                     27mg

Zinc                          3.64mg

2 sachets of joccy`s pineapple flavor and

4-5 litres of water.

Standard zobo drink can be made with just three ingredients- the zobo leaves, choice of flavor and ginger but most people choose to add few cubes of sugar.


  1. Hand-pick every unwanted substance from the zobo leaves and start cooking with about 4 litres of water.
  2. Cook to boil before adding ginger, you can chop them into tiny bit or grind with a kitchen blender.
  3. Cook for another 10-15 minutes before you taste the zobo, if it does taste alright then filter and refrigerate.



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Adigun, M.O., Ogundipe, O.D., Anetor, J.J., and Odetunde, A.O. (2004). Dose dependent changes in some haematological parameters during short term administration of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyx aqueous extract (zobo) in wistar albino rats. African journal of medicinal sciences, 35; 73-77.

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Usoh,  I.F., Akpan,  E.J., Etim, E.O, and Farombi, E.O. (2005).  Anti-oxidiant action of dried flowers extracts of Hibiscus Sabdariffa L .on sodium arsenite-induced oxidative stress in rats. Pakistan journal of nutrition, 4(3):135-151.

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