Health benefits of zobo drink and possible side effects

People seek natural ways to improve their health and lose some weight. Enjoying a glass of zobo drink is one such way, as many health benefits are attributed to this drink.

Zobo drink, a popular Nigerian drink for treating hypertension and other health conditions

Key takeaways:

  • The health benefits of zobo (Hibiscus tea) include reducing blood pressure, aiding weight loss, and preventing kidney stones.
  • Despite its numerous benefits, zobo drink also has some possible side effects, such as drug interactions and interactions with estrogen, a female hormone.
  • Zobo drink may be most beneficial if taken without sugar because sugar can spike blood glucose levels. One benefit of Zobo drinks without sugar is a reduced risk of diabetes.
  • For safety purposes, pregnant people should not take Zobo drinks unless their medical provider says it's okay to. Any adverse effects noticed after taking this drink should be reported to a healthcare provider.

The popular Zobo drink is made from dried roselle, scientifically called Hibiscus sabdariffa. Zobo drink tastes good, is easy to find, and has a refreshing taste. It also has many health benefits. For instance, zobo drink may have anti-cancer properties and may also help decrease blood pressure.

Zobo is consumed in all regions of Nigeria—at parties, at home, in markets, in offices, and in restaurants. This drink not only tastes good but is also refreshing. Another good thing about the Zobo drink is that it is easy to prepare and has a simple recipe. In this article, we will discuss the various health benefits of the Zobo drink and some of its known side effects.

8 health benefits of zobo drink

Zobo drink contains high amounts of water and other nutrients like folate, iron, niacin, and potassium, making it suitable for many people, including children.

The health benefits of zobo drink include:

1. It may help regulate blood pressure

One of the health benefits of zobo drink is that it can help stabilize blood pressure. Several studies suggest that Zobo drink reduces blood pressure very effectively, even in people with health problems that increase their hypertension risk.

For instance, a study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology and Research found that zobo has cardioprotective and antihypertensive properties.

2. Zobo may help counter oxidative stress

There are a lot of antioxidants in Zobo drinks. Antioxidants help fight against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Zobo's antioxidant effect is due to the presence of anthocyanins, the natural pigments that make its flowers red, which are antioxidants.

Also, a study in the Cancer Letters found that zobo (Hibiscus sabdariffa) contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid. Hibiscus protocatechuic acid has anti-tumor and antioxidant properties.

The oxidative effect of Zobo drink means it may help prevent certain cancerous diseases by inducing cell death.

3. It may help prevent the formation of kidney stones

Since zobo drink is a diuretic, it is studied in connection with the renal system and the urinary system. A study indicated that zobo drinks may reduce the occurrence of compounds involved in forming kidney stones.

4. Zobo may help lower cholesterol level

One of the fantastic zobo benefits is its potential to reduce cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance needed by the body to build healthy cells, produce hormones, and make vitamins. However, there are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

HDL is known as the good cholesterol, while LDL is the bad cholesterol. Too much LDL in the blood has been associated with cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and coronary heart disease.

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that zobo drink could help lower LDL cholesterol, thus protecting the heart and blood vessels from damage. This zobo benefit may help people with existing medical conditions like diabetes manage their blood cholesterol levels.

5. Zobo may boost fertility

Another touted benefit of the Zobo drink is that it can help boost fertility by helping regulate menstrual flow in people assigned to females at birth. Zobo may also help improve sperm count and sperm motility in males.

6. Zobo may promote weight loss

Weight loss is another possible zobo benefit. Zobo may reduce the accumulation of lipids in the body. According to a study in the Molecules journal, the hibiscus, which is the flower used for making zobo drink, may reduce lipid accumulation and lower the formation of fatty tissues in the body.

7. It may have antidepressant effects

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is a common global illness, with about 3.8% of the population affected. Medications like tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) have been effective in treating this condition. The good news is that plants like Hibiscus sabdariffa can help treat depression.

A study by CNPc and CAPES in Brazil supports this zobo benefit. The study shows that consumption of zobo drinks may help calm the nervous system, reducing anxiety and depression.

Hibiscus sabdariffa or its product (zobo drink) must not be taken in place of medication. It should be consumed in moderation. Also, if you are on medication, it would be better to stay off zobo to avoid drug interaction.

8. It may help protect the liver

Zobo has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are natural molecules that fight harmful free radicals in the body, thus preventing cell damage. One example of an antioxidant contained in hibiscus is flavonoids. Another zobo benefit is to protect cells and organs of the body using the antioxidants it contains.

A study in the BMC Complementary Medicines and Therapies suggests that the flavonoids and other antioxidants contained in zobo drink (or hibiscus tea) may help treat liver diseases.

Potential harmful side effects of zobo drink

As stated earlier, zobo drink has proven to have many health benefits, but it still has some potentially harmful effects, especially when consumed without moderation.

Side effects of zobo drink may include the following:

1. Interacts with estrogen

Zobo drink contains phytoestrogen, plant-based compounds that are similar to human estrogen. Phytoestrogen is known to interact with estrogen (a major female hormone). This suggests that zobo drinks can disrupt the effectiveness of estrogen-based birth control pills.

2. Interacts with medications

Since zobo drink is an herb, it can interact with other medicines, which can cause more problems. The most concerning is the interaction with paracetamol.

There haven’t been enough studies to describe the risks fully, but it is common knowledge that medications, such as paracetamol, are processed in the liver. But so is your zobo drink. So, there are possibilities for interactions that can reduce the efficacy of the medication. Therefore, it is advisable not to mix paracetamol and zobo drinks.

Also, since zobo drink may cause a reduction in blood pressure, it may be best to avoid it when on medication for blood pressure or blood sugar. The combination of zobo drink and blood pressure medications can lower your blood pressure too much, leading to hypotension, which is another health problem.

Effects of zobo drink on pregnant women

There are concerns that zobo drinks can affect pregnancy and can cause miscarriage in pregnant people. For instance, an older 2013 study raises concern about this and advises cautious use of Hibiscus sabdarriffa tea during pregnancy.

Estrogen is one of the hormones that induce menstruation in women; as stated earlier, zobo drink can affect or interacts with estrogen, especially when overused.

Some studies have also shown that zobo drinks could cause a pregnant person’s period to return, leading to miscarriage. In addition, the safety of taking zobo drinks during breastfeeding is unknown, so it is best to avoid or limit their consumption during pregnancy.

Some facts about Zobo (Roselle leaves)

The origin of Hibiscus Sabdariffa can be traced back to Sudan. It is worth noting that the zobo drink was first used as a medical remedy in ancient Egypt. Hibiscus Sabdariffa is also native to tropical Africa and is quite common in the tropics. Nigerians love Zobo drink; it is one of the country's most common and easy-to-process drinks.

Zobo drinks are reasonably priced; a bottle of zobo drink can be purchased for as little as N100. This means both the rich and the poor can benefit from the numerous health benefits of Zobo drink.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is zobo healthy?

Since the major ingredient in zobo drink is the edible plant, Hibiscus sabdariffa, this drink is considered healthy. Zobo also contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese, and zinc.

What are the health benefits of zobo without sugar?

Drinking zobo without adding refined sugar has an even greater added benefit to health. One major health benefit of drinking zobo without sugar is that it reduces the risk of an increase in blood sugar levels and is particularly ideal for people with diabetes.

Instead of adding a lot of refined sugar to your zobo drink, consider adding healthier additives like ginger and natural sweeteners from whole fruits like pineapples and apples.

Is it okay to drink hibiscus tea every day?

Drinking moderate amounts of hibiscus tea every day may be safe for some people. Hibiscus is high in polyphenols and may have protective effects, including reducing cardiovascular disease risks.

Can zobo drink lower blood pressure?

Zobo has antihypertensive properties, meaning the drink may lower blood pressure in some people. However, this doesn't mean it is okay to take zobo drink in excess or in place of antihypertensive medications.

If you have high blood pressure, speak to your doctor about the right medications, lifestyle, and dietary modifications to manage your condition.