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Zobo Drink (Hibiscus Tea): Health Benefits, Side Effects, Nutritional Content & Preparation

Zobo (Hibiscus tea), a common local drink in Nigeria and Sudan is derived from the leaves and calyces of Hibiscus Sabdariffa (Yakuwa, Hausa or Kwisi, Bogghom).

This article is going to discuss the health benefits, side effects, nutritional content, and how to prepare sweet zobo drink.


Other names drink known as Karkade or Zoborodo (Hausa), amukan (Yoruba) and okworo ozo (Igbo). In Mexico, this drink is called Jamaica or agua de Jamaica’ or té de Jamaica.


Health benefits of zobo

Zoborobo has numerous health benefits and has been widely used in local medicines.

1. In India, Africa and Mexico, zobo is traditionally used for their diuretic, cholerectic (anti-cholera properties), febrifugal (fighting parasites) and hypotensive effects (lowers blood pressure), decreasing the viscosity of the blood ( increases blood flow) and stimulating intestinal peristalsis.

2. In Egypt, the drink have been used to treat cardiac and nerve diseases and also to increase the production of urine (diuresis).

3. In Egypt and Sudan, an infusion of Karkade or Zobo calyces is also used to help lower body temperature.

4. In Guatemala, it is used for treating drunkenness and alcoholic dependence

5. In North Africa, karkade prepared from leaves and clauses is used to treat sore throats and coughs, as well as genital problems, while the emollient leaf pulp is used for treating external wounds and abscesses.

6. In India, a decoction from zoborobo tree is used to relieve pain in urination and indigestion.

7. In Brazil, zoborobo is believed to have stomachic and emollient properties.

8. In Chinese folk medicine, it is used to treat liver disorders and high blood pressure.

9. In Iran, sour hibiscus tea or Zobo is reportedly a traditional treatment for hypertension.

10. In Nigeria the decoction of the seeds of zobo tree is traditionally used to enhance or induce lactation in cases of poor milk production, poor letdown and maternal diseases.

11. It stimulates menstrual flow.

12. It is believed to boost blood production and increase blood especially among Nigerians

14. It reduces blood sugar and good for persons with diabetes.

15. Zobo is used to reduce blood cholesterol

16. It helps in weight loss especially when combined with exercises.

17. Used to treat constipation in some cultures.

18. Contrary to many beliefs, zobo DOES NOT cause black stool.


Nutritional content of zobo drink

In terms of minerals, the most prevalent is potassium (1329 ± 1.47 mg/100 g), followed by sodium (659 ± 1.58 mg/100 g), calcium (647 ± 1.21 mg/100 g), phosphorus (510 ± 1.58 mg/100 g) and magnesium (442.8 ± 1.80 mg/100 g).

The major saturated fatty acids identified in the seed oil are palmitic (20.84%) and stearic (5.88%) acids and the main unsaturated fatty acids are linoleic (39.31%) and oleic acid (32.06%).

Yakuwa has many bioactive compounds, which are beneficial in the prevention of and management of diseases, both communicable and non-communicable ones.



Zobo drink is a veritable source of vitamin A. Health researchers recently confirmed that it cures diarrhoea and pneumonia. According to them, it is also good for a hypertensive patient.


– Dried Zobo leaves
– Ginger (grounded)
– Garlic (optional)
– Lime or lemon juice (optional)
– Pineapple peels or juice
– Sugar or Sweeteners
– Flavours (Any..Strawberry, apple, pineapple e.t.c)



1. Wash the zobo leaves properly with an ordinary water to get rid of sand.
2. Put the washed zobo leaves in a cooking pot. Add moderate amount of water and allow to boil for about 30 minutes.
3. Add the grounded ginger and garlic, the pineapple peels and the lime or lemon rinds and allow to boil for about 25 more minutes.
4. Remove from heat, allow it to cool and sieve into a big bowl to remove residue.
5. Remember to add sugar or any other sweetener when it is still hot and stir properly to taste.
6. At this point, add any flavours of your choice. Any other baking flavour can also be used.
7. Pour into bottles or cans and chill immediately to prevent fermentation. Enjoy your drink.

Diagrams of the ingredients you need to prepare a natural zobo drink below 👇

Side effects

1. There are some studies that showed that zobo affects fertility negatively. Some women of reproductive age for take zobo drink have complained of their inability to get pregnant.

2. Pregnant women should not take zobo. Medical experts believes it has the propensity to cause miscarriage and/or congenital birth defects in pregnancy.

3. It lowers blood pressure and can cause vascular shock in some persons

4. Zobo should not be taken with blood pressure drugs since they both lower blood pressure.. It can cause shock or vascular collapse.

5. Taking zobo drink can make you dizzy and slowed down…. Some persons with active jobs like drivers should not take karkada before driving

6. It can cause some form of hallucinations.

7. Zobo reduces estrogen production in women

8. Women on birth control pills should avoid zobo.

9. Some persons are allergic to zobo. They develop itchy eyes, rashes and hay fever after a cup of zoborobo.

10. Since zobo lowers blood sugar, be careful in taking it especially when your are on anti-diabetic medications. Your dosage needs to be adjusted by your doctor. This is because the drink can trigger hypoglycemia.


CAVEAT: This article is for your education and not a substitute to seeing a doctor.

Udomoh Eshemokha

I am a practicing medical doctor, a philosopher, critical thinker, a globalist, a patriot, SEO expert and a patient blogger.

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Udomoh Eshemokha