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Zobo is a common beverage drink well known and loved by a lot of Nigerians. It is a cool refreshing drink that can serve as an everyday drink or as a refreshment drink at parties. It is made from the dried leaves of the Roselle plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa); called zoborodo in Hausa where it derived its name. This bright red drink is loaded with so many health benefits that make it a healthy choice for all.
Zobo drink is rich in vitamins B and C, antioxidants and phytochemicals such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, carotene etc. The benefits of zobo drink include:
  • Dried zobo leaves has anti-hypertensive properties and also prevents risks factors that cause hypertension such as high levels of cholesterol.
  • Due to its rich Vitamin C and phytochemicals content, zobo is very effective in boosting the body’s immune system. It also ensures healthy cellular and tissue growth and also repair.
  • Zobo drink has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties due to its high Vitamin C content. This helps fortify the body against diseases such as colds, cough and flu.
  • Zobo drink does not contain oxalic acids or uric acids; it also helps reduce the concentration of compounds such as uric acids, creatinine, sodium, phosphate, tartrate, citrate and potassium in the kidney. Accumulation of these compounds is responsible for the formation of kidney stones and other health implications that affect the kidneys.
  • Zobo drink is very rich in anthocyannins, an anti-cancer compound which helps boost the immune system and protect the body against cancer.
  • Recent studies suggest that zobo is very vital in increase of blood volume levels due to its rich iron content. It is recommended for people who are at risk of becoming anemic such as sickle cell patients, women with heavy menstrual flow, and also people who have lost much blood following surgery or an accident.
  • It is a very good source of carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A. vitamin A is very vital for healthy eyesight as it maintains a healthy ocular membrane, protects the eyes and prevents eye diseases related to ageing.
  • It is also rich in Vitamin B, a water soluble vitamin that produces energy, prevents fatigue, boosts a healthy nervous system and even prevents depression and other mental disorders. Zobo maintains a healthy cardiac function, boosts healthy metabolism. It prevents diabetes and lowers the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

How to make zobo

There are so many recipes for the zobo drink. One reason why I love this drink is the fact that I can combine a lot of different flavors and still enjoy the drink. Most times I match the flavors to my mood or even the ambience my surroundings present. To get the most of zobo’s health benefits, I advise that you skip the artificial sweeteners such as sugar and artificial flavors too. Instead go for natural sweeteners such as dates (locally called debino), bananas (my favorites) and yes of course Honey.

To make 5 liters of zobo, you’ll need:
Zobo leaves 3 cups/1 de Rica
Cloves (kanafuru) 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds (iyere) 1 teaspoon
Ginger (fresh) 2 fingers
Garlic (optional)


For flavors, you could use any of these alone or in combination. It’s cool, tasty and refreshing either way.
You could use pineapple, lemon, watermelon, cinnamon, lemongrass, cucumbers, apples, etc.
For this recipe I would be using pineapple (medium sized) and lemon (small sized).


  • Wash the pineapple fruit thoroughly and peel. Set aside the peel and blend the rest of the fruit. Sieve so as to extract the juice and put in the refrigerator (to preserve it). Wash the ginger and grate (or pound) and set aside.
  • Wash the cloves and cumin seeds and set aside. Wash the zobo leaves thoroughly to get rid of dirt and sand. Don’t worry about the water becoming colored; you’ll get as much essence from the leaves after boiling.
Put in a large pot the washed leaves, cumin seeds and cloves, pineapple peel, grated ginger, add water and boil for 30 mins.

  • Wash the lemon and cut into thin slices. Add a lemon slice and a little slice of garlic (optional) to the boiling leaves and continue boiling for another 15-30 mins over low heat this time.
  • After 15 mins (or 30), drain out the juice using a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Add fresh water and boil for another 30 mins.
  • Drain out the juice from the leaves (do this couple of times so as to avoid having particles in the drink); add the pineapple juice and any sweetener of your choice to taste.
  • Your zobo drink is ready; it can be taken warm as hibiscus tea or chilled. For a much better experience, zobo drink is best served chilled.

When using watermelon as flavor, use less quantity of water.
Usually I prepare my zobo drink late in the evening and let it soak in its juice overnight before adding sweeteners or the pineapple juice. I always add the pineapple last, it tastes better that way.
Get creative with your recipes; you could use any flavors, make a cocktail out of it or even a dessert, lol.
To serve in a glass, add ice cubes. Then add a slice of lemon to the edge of the glass and enjoy!!!
You can store it in bottles, store it in the fridge and take regularly. Remember to get the best out of zobo avoid artificial additives, use natural sweeteners and fruits for flavor.
This drink you have now is very healthy, refreshing and medicinal; thanks to all the herbs and fruits added which contains powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals and nutrients necessary for optimum function of the human body.


Kehinde is an avid reader who loves writing. A graduate of Anatomy, she writes to teach, inspire, encourage and amuse(sometimes). Asides from writing and reading, she loves teaching, eating (lol, yeah especially trying out new dishes and recipes) and traveling. She can be reached at [email protected].


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