Zobo consumption and its nutritional health benefits


According  Ogiehor (2008) zobo or zoborodo is a Nigerian beverages made from dried hibiscus plant flower zobo scientific name is called hibiscus sabdariffa which non-alcoholic local beverages made from different varieties of petal (dried) acid succulent calyces of the flower, hibiscus sabdariffa is an annual erect, bushy herbaceous sub-syrup with smooth or nearly smooth, cylindrical and typically red stem which has names in various Nigerian local dialect and outside countries. Zobo in western Nigeria (the Yoruba’s call it Isapa (pronounced Isapa). Zobo in northern Nigeria, sobolo in Ghana, some in the Caribbean, bicep in some central and western African countries, Aguade Jamaica in Mexico rosella in Indonesia, rosella in Australia and so on.

The leaves are used as vegetable in soup and stew while the flower (calyces / sepals) are used to make a very refreshing beverage. There are two varieties red and white both cultivate for their leaves and flower (calyces/sepal). According to Funke (2014) it was introduce in the early 1990s by Dr. Mallik.

Varieties of zobo

The varieties of hibiscus sabdaiffa are:

  • Red hibiscus
  • Wine hibiscus
  • Bright red hibiscus

The nutritional quality of the varieties of zobo

Samples Ash Ph(%) Protein Ca Mg Na K
Dark red 15.5 2.53 0.0875 4.00 5.75 35.78 220
Bright red 14.0 2.50 0.0875 2.00 13.25 25.11 219
Wine 12.0 2.67 0.04375 2.67 7.88 50.67 235


Nutrient composition of zobo

Nutritive value                        per 100g

Energy                                      205kg                          4gkcal

Protein                                      0.96g

Fat                                            11.3g

Vitamin A                                  15g                              (2%)

Thiamin vit B1                          0.011mg                     (1%)

Niacin vit B2                             0.028mg                     (2%)

Vitamin C                                 12mg                           (14%)

Calcium                                    215mg                        (22)

Iron                                           1.48mg                       (11%)

Magnesium                              51mg                           (14%)

Phosphorus                             37mg                           (5%)

Potassium                                208mg                        (4%)

Sodium                                     6mg                                      (0%)

Health benefits of zobo              

  1. Hibiscus to have anti-hypertensive properties which reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol level as caffeine, free and has 100pc vitamin C. extract of the flower is alkaline in nature and contains cleansing it maintain the body ph to balance (without white sugar)
  2. It reduces bloodiness, can be used as mild laxative, it decrease the occurrence of urinary tract infection.
  3. act like a natural electrolyte the body with substitute mineral sweated out while playing sport or rigorous exercise decrease the ability to absorb alcohol (to prevent hangovers)
  4. Boost skin health and suppress skin aging..
  5. Increases skin softness and elasticity
  6. Helpful in treating some cancer due to very high level of anti-oxidants (Kolosho, 2014)
  7. Weight loss
  8. Zobo tea maybe used to support weight loss. The theory is that the body produces an enzyme known as amylase which breaks down complex sugar and starch molecule in food. Some scientistshave determined that hibiscus contain a substance (hydroxycitric acid (HCA) that can inhibit the production of amylase so regular drinking prevent too much digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and consequently not gain excess weight.
  9. Cough and cold: According to the Book of Healing Herbal Teas (2014) fresh hibiscus flower contain around 6.7mg of ascorbic acid which is one of the more essential nutrient needed by the body. Along with this significantly benefit properties. Thus hibiscus tea is often used as a supplement to help treat cough and cold because of its cooling effect. It reduce the discomfort of fever that may accomplished such ailments
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Uses of zobo

  1. Vegetable: Sabdariffa leaves are used as vegetables in different part of the world. Among the Bodo tribal of bodo land, India the leaves of both hibiscus sabdariffa and connabinus are cooked along with chicken, fish, crab or pork as one of their meal. In the Philippines, the leaves and flower are used to add journeys to chicken dish stew zobo help to keep the body ph balance (without white sugar)
  2. Beverages: In the Caribbean, sorel drink is made from sepal of rosella. Roselle calyce are harvested to produce pro-health drink due to high content of vitamin C and anylocyanins.  In Africa, especially the south rosella is commonly used to make a surgery herbal tea that is commonly sold in the street, while in Thailand rosella is generally drunk as a cold drink but also as a tea.
  3. Jam and prescription: in Nigeria rosella jam has been made since colonial time and is still sold regularly at community and charity stalls. Rosella jam is also made in Queensland, Australia as a homemade on specialties product sold at fete.
  4. Herbal medicine: hibiscus has one of the highest level of antioxidant of any widely available food (Mayoy& Aragol, 2002). Hibiscus sabdariffa has shown in vitro anti microbial activity against ecoli a recent review stated that specific extract of H. sabdariffa exhibit against atherosclerosis disease, cancer, diabetes and outer metabolic syndromes (Clin & Wary, 2011).
  5. Psychochemical: the hibiscus leaves are good source of polypherudic compounds. The major identified compound include nechlorogenic acid, chlerogenic acid and falconoid compound such as uncertain, kampferol and their derivatives, hiscetine and sabdaretine (Zhen &Jing 2016). Production of hibiscus sabdariffa. Harvesting rosella plant on bam soil in China and Thailand are the largest produces and control much of the word supply. Rosella is largely produce in Sudan, India, Mexico, Egypt, Senegal, Mali and Jamaica.
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Health benefit of zobo        

The potential for hibiscus use in treating hypertension and cancer as well as for it lipid lowering and renal effects. Studies have shown that hibiscus sabdaraffa extract has the following health benefit.

  1. Potential anti-cancer effects: Research has shown that polyp lend-rich extracts of hibiscus extract of hibiscus induced cell death in human gastric carcinoma cell hibiscus extract has also induced cells death in human leukaemia
  2. Anti-oxidant benefits: Hibiscus extract enhance antioxidant potential and reduced oxidation stress in study.
  3. Kidney stress and liver protection: Researcher found out that hibiscus extract has anti-urolitiatic activity which means it help to reduce the formation of kidney stones. Hibiscus help to protect the liver against chemically induced in fish.
  4. Diabetes: Hibiscus extracts help in reduction of sugar level.

Metabolic syndrome

Hibiscus extracts help in preventing and treating metabolic syndrome as well as improvement in insulin resistance in people with metabolic syndrome. Hibiscus extracts cause improvement in glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride level.

Obesity/Abnormal fat and fatty liver

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Hibiscus reduces body weight, body mass index (BMI) body fat and hp ratio. Additionally taking hibiscus extract also help to improve liver steatosis (fatty liver)

High blood pressure 

The anti-hypertensive properties of hibiscus tea were noted by a study in which 70 people were involve half of them drank hibiscus tea daily and other half took 25mg of anti –hypertensive medicine twice daily. After a month, 79 percent of the tea drinkers experienced a ten point reduction in blood pressure, 84 percent of the one that took pharmaceutical medicine also experienced the same reduction in blood pressure hibiscus is an antioxidant

Effect of zobo

With its impressible nutritional profile zobo also contain high level of exalic acid which could cause rheumatism problem when drunk in large quantities for certain people. Also due to its laxative properties, too much is not advised moderation is the watch word. According (Kolosho, 2012) zobo is not recommended for pregnant women in their first trimester or those whose are undergoing fertility treatment because it can lower the levels of estrogen in the body and can prompt menstruation which could ultimately lead to miscarriage. Excessive intake could be harmful to the kidney (Afolabi, 2014).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          References

Rosella, N. (2004).Zobo lowers high blood pressure. New York: Academic Press.

Yinka,S. (2014 May 6th). Zobo nutritionist local drink. Daily Independent

Yinka, S. (2013). Zobo nutritious healthy local drink (roselle Sabdariffa) retrieved on 13th May, 2016 from http://www.dialyindedentnig.com

Oluwatomiwa,. A. (2014). Health benefit of zobo (roselle or hibiscus). Retrieved on 14th January 2016 from http://www.healthycase.blogspot.com

AOAC (1990).Official method of food analysis. (15th ed.)Association of Official Analytical Chemist

Bernie,R.(1991).The varieties of foods. New York: J.B Lippincort

Osueke, J.C.&Ehirim, F. N.(2004).Chemical nutritional and sensory analysis of zobo drink and selected soft drink,JAgric Food Sci,2, 21 – 24

Wong,P.K.(2002).Characteristics of roselle (hibiscus sabdariffa) Nutr. Food Sci., 23, 7-10

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