Zobo Drink: Preparation & Health Benefits

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Zobo (Zoborodo) is a Nigerian beverage made from dried Roselle plant  flowers. The drink is also known as Roselle drink,Hibiscus tea,Karkade, Sour tea, Red tea, and called Sorrel drink in the Carribean. Hibiscus is a flowering plant that grows only in tropical and subtropical regions. Which produces edible fruit and leaves. The dried flower of the hibiscus is the core ingredient in making the hibiscus tea. Both the seeds and flower of the hibiscus can also serve as medicinal properties. Rosalle, popularly known as Hibiscus can be used to make a red tea (generally called Zobo in Nigeria). The botanical name of Hibiscus is  sabdariffa. The herb from the red calyces is what is used in preparing zobo drink.

The edible parts used to make the “juice” or tea are often dried-up to be reused again. Rosalle are not flowers nor fruits but calyces. The calyx is packed with high content of niacin, riboflavin, iron, calcium, Vitamin C, while having no caffeine content in it. Zobo drink” is a sweetened water extract of the dried calyx of hibiscus sabdariffa. It is a beverage enjoyed by a large part of the Nigerian population. The drink which has a purplish appearance has a slightly sweet-pungent taste that is highly appealing. While majority obtain zobo from hawkers or traders in plastic cans, some prefer theirs home made.

Ingredients for Nigerian Zobo drink

Zobo has a sour taste so it can clash with sugars. That is why it is advisable to keep the Zobo drink as natural as possible. Hence, use only natural ingredients when preparing the drink. You may add artificial flavours and sweeteners such as Nutri-C and sugar if you wish. The following can be used to make 5 litres of Zobo drink. You can get more with the same quantity of ingredients depending on the concentration you want. If you will be using artificial flavours, you need to add more water.

  • 2 De Rica cups of dry Zobo leaves; In Nigeria, when we use up the tomato paste in the 850g tin of any brand of tomato paste, we wash the tin and use it for measuring food items and ingredients. This measuring cup is fondly called De Rica cup
  • 1 glove of garlic
  • 1 big piece of ginger
  • 1 big very ripe pineapple
  • Enough water
  • Garnish with sliced citrus of your choice ( optional)
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Before you make the Zobo drink

  1. Wash the dry Zobo leaves repeatedly in cold water. Zobo leaves are usually very dusty so make sure you wash off all the dust. It may seem like all the flavours/colour of the zobo are being washed off but don’t worry, while boiling it you will see that the dry zobo leaves still have a lot of the colour intact.
  2. Wash, peel and cut the pineapple into thin slices. You can add the peel of the pineapple when making the zobo drink but be sure to wash it properly because of the hidden dirt and sand on the peels of the pineapple.
  3. Peel and cut the ginger and garlic into tiny pieces.

How to Prepare  Zobo drink

  1. Put the washed zobo leaves into a deep pot.
  2. Add the pineapples and pour enough water to cover the contents of the pot.
  3. Start cooking at medium to high heat and let it boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger and the garlic, add more water and keep boiling for at least 30 minutes. This is the time it will take for the zobo leaves to be completely soft and the pineapples tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool down completely.
  6. When cool, wringe out the juice from the pineapples and zobo leaves, leaving only the zobo juice in the pot.
  7. Pour the juice through a sieve to take out the remaining large particles then pour it through a chiffon cloth to remove the tiniest particles.
  8. Add any artificial flavours of your choice at this time if you wish and stir.
  9. Pour into bottles and refrigerate.
  10. Serve with ice and sliced fruits. Enjoy it on a hot sunny day with any Nigerian snack.
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Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea (Zobo)

Zobo drink is one of the most common drink often used in entertaining family and friends, thereby contributing to the healthy state of your family and friends. Zobo drink comes with lots of nutritional benefits.

Hibiscus Tea (Zobo) & Pregnancy:

The bright pink flowers of the hibiscus plant got that colour from the plant’s very high level of antioxidants. These antioxidants provide some benefits for pregnant women, but don’t consume hibiscus tea during your first trimester due to the hormonal activity the plant can influence.

Hibiscus Tea (Zobo) For Traditional Use:

Traditional uses of hibiscus tea ranges from the treatment of various digestive disorders or cancer. An immersion of hibiscus flowers may help fight several infectious organisms and cleanses the blood. In some cases, it may help resolve coughs, high blood pressure, heart problems and scurvy.

Hibiscus Tea For Cough:

The Hibiscus tea is used by traditional experts to cure cough because of the extremely high amount of the Vitamin C. The tea also helps boost your immune system and help cure the cough. The hot steam from the boiled Hibiscus also helps open airways and loosen congestion.

Other Health Benefits of Zobo Drink

  • Increasing our stamina and immunity system.
  • Detoxify toxin in our body.
  • Decreases blood pressure, cholesterol and uric acid.
  • Resolving mouth ulcer and sore throat.
  • Reducing the pain because of migraine.
  • Smoothing our skin and reducing wrinkles.
  • Reducing our weight.
  • Promoting the growth of our DHA.
  • Prevents urinary tract inflammation and kidney inflammation.
  • Fixing body metabolism and slowing down menopause.
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Side Effects of Excessive intake of Zobo drink

Most people do not know how zobo affects the body, especially with heavy consumption.
Just like most drinks, there are both cons and pros of zobo.

  1.  Recent studies have shown that zobo contains certain agents which have the ability to reduce blood pressure significantly. With this in mind, people suffering from low blood pressure should stay away from Zobo drink.
  2. Zobo drink can cause Hallucinations/ Drowsiness, it is advisable if you want to take a rest.
  3. Zobo drink can cause slight intoxication to some people after drinking, this is because zobo possesses certain mild hallucinogenic agents.
  4. Zobo drink reduces O estrogen levels in women, and this majorly has to do with women who have issues with their menstrual cycles.
  5.  Zobo drink also prevents pregnancy, since
  6. it has been scientifically proven that zobo is harmful to oestrogen levels, it can also apparently prevent women from getting pregnant. This does not mean it should be used as a reliable contraceptive.