Hibiscus plants are known for being large and colourful flowers. These blossoms have medical uses. The flowers and leaves can be made into tea and liquid extract that can help treat variety of conditions such as stomach upset, high blood pressure, bacterial infection, fever and so on.

Hibiscus flowers come in many colours. They can be red, yellow, white, or peach and can be as big as 6 inches wide. The reddish parts of the flowers are most commonly cultivated for medical purposes, and are available as dietary supplements. Hibiscus has been used by different cultures as a remedy for several conditions. Egyptians used hibiscus tea to lower body temperature, treat heart and nerve diseases, and as a diuretic to increase urine production.

In West Africa, hibiscus tea is use to treat constipation, cancer, liver disease and cold. Pulp made from the leaves is applied to the skin to heal wounds.

In Iran, drinking sour tea is still a common treatment for high blood pressure. In Nigeria hibiscus is popularly known as zobo/sobo. Hibiscus drink is prepared with dried hibiscus boiled with ginger and cloves mixed with sugar and served chilled.

 What you don’t know about sobo/zobo drink.

  • Sobo/zobo helps in reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol levels as well as blood and sugar levels.
  • High consumption of the drink as a remedy for blood pressure reduction can result to low blood pressure results, increasing the risk of dizziness, fainting, falls and in extreme cases, shock.
  • A study published in the African journal of alternative and complementary medicine revealed that consuming zobo drink during pregnancy increases the possibility of giving birth to babies with low birth weight (LBW).
  • Over consuming zobo/sobo drink while nursing could delay the onset of Puberty for female babies and was also shown to increase post natal weight.

Now, that we are becoming aware of its implications on human health, zobo/sobo even though natural should be reduced to its minimum by pregnant and nursing mothers due to its effect on maternal and child health.

Salamatu Muhammad


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