Hibiscus promotes detoxification

Natural Nigerian Hibiscus Zobo


Hibiscus calyx, which is commonly known in Nigeria as Zobo, is a rich source of nutrients that activate detoxification.  It literally contains thousands of health-promoting substances.  Of particular interest is a class of compounds called anthocyanins.  These compounds give hibiscus tea its characteristic red hue. Anthocyanins not only activate detoxification enzymes, but signal to cells to assemble more such machines.

Yes, hibiscus speaks to the body.  Nutrients are much more than just calories.  They carry information and instructions.  They initiate and inhibit numerous processes in the body.  The nutrients in Zobo initiate cleansing and regenerative processes.  Whereas the anti-nutrients in say soft drinks, initiate chronic inflammation and oxidative damage.

Hibiscus tea helps resolve metabolic syndrome 

Not surprisingly, hibiscus tea has been found to improve markers of metabolic syndrome.  What is metabolic syndrome?  It is a physiological state marked by the break down of insulin signaling.  This results in abnormally high levels of insulin that create disorder in the body.  Blood sugar and cholesterol levels spike.  Blood vessels harden and stiffen.  Chronic infections run wild as the immune system is subdued.  The liver becomes clogged with fat and cholesterol.  The brain fills up with non-functional, junk protein fibers.  And so on.

Metabolic syndrome is also a cluster of interrelated diseases.  That is, it is the root cause of a family of chronic diseases.  Many chronic diseases appear as if they have little in common.  What does type 2 diabetes have to do with heart disease?  Or kidney stones with cataracts?  Well, they have everything in common.  They are merely manifestations of an underlying disease process.  For example, hypertension, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, dementia, and kidney disease are all impacted by defective insulin signaling (metabolic syndrome).

One way in which hibiscus helps resolve metabolic syndrome is that it promotes the excretion of uric acid.  Metabolic syndrome is associated with excess uric acid in the body.  As the body gradually detoxifies this and other metabolic wastes, the defect in insulin signaling also resolves.  And by so doing, hibiscus calyx helps to resolve the biggest killer of the modern age.

How to prepare hibiscus tea


 Next week: We get an in-depth look at detoxification.

  1. C M Gurrola-Díaz, P M García-López, S Sánchez-Enríquez, R Troyo-Sanromán, I Andrade-González, J F Gómez-Leyva. “Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder and preventive treatment (diet) on the lipid profiles of patients with metabolic syndrome”. Phytomedicine. 2010. Web
  2. H Mozaffari-Khosravi, B-A Jalali-Khanabadi, M Afkhami-Ardekani, F Fatehi, M Noori-Shadkam. “The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes”. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2009. Web

Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.



I’m sorry to say the agua de jamaica recipe is so plain. I can’t make zobo without pineapples and apples, Sometimes I add spices too, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, even nutmeg.

Also I have to ask, does the sugar added to zobo take away from the nutritional value?

Ezenwa Onwugbenu

Hi cosmicyoruba, making zobo with fresh pineapple or apple is a great idea. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that is showing tremendous medicinal properties. You really cannot go wrong with fruits. The more the merrier. I also love the fact that you use medicinal spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. It all makes for a great cup of tea. I hope this practice has yielded good results for you.
Concerning sugar, it is all about moderation. We just have to be practical. Sugar makes things taste better and easier to drink. If you require some sweetness to get the goodness of Hibiscus & Co., then go for it! Your best bet is probably raw honey or stevia. As you might know, non-calorie sweeteners like splenda, aspartame, and saccharin are a no-go area. They are all extremely toxic.

ify kalu

Thank you for this wonderful piece. i have always wished someone will point out the health benefits of the refreshing drink.
i love to make it with pineapples and ginger (i do not add sweeteners) i sometimes include some native/local spices.
Thank you Ezenwa, it was an educative read.


Hi. Is Noni and Trevor drinks some form of natural detoxification ? These drinks are really popular now and I drink a lot of Noni but I really do not know what’s it’s doing….or supposed to do for me.


Is zobo the same as Bisurb or Asana in Ghana? Is it good for children from 1 yrs? thanks..good info

Oluwaseun Rachael

Dis post is so interesting and educating. As much as I like zobo, I still don’t understand it’s relationship with my periods..I can only take it after my periods. If I take zobo b4 my periods, my flow will start b4 d time it’s meant to start..nd if I take it during my period, I will end up having a heavy flow. My friend even drinks zobo a lot towards her period to hasten her flow..

Hajiya Jamila

There are certain literature on the internet saying zobo interferes with hormonal activity and that pregnant women should not take it in their first trimester. You may wish to browse about it. That could explain what you’re experiencing.


Oluwaseun rachel,you e perienced that because Zobo contains iron, it helps to regulate menstral flow hence not suitable for pregnant women in their first trimester. The Iron made the flow heavy since it contributes to the formation of heamoglobin in the body.


Pls how do I use it to detoxify.
I boiled with lemon juice and drank fr a week.
Though I had watermelon in between.

I hope I did d detoxification right!? :)


For the first time in my life, I experienced a very heavy flow in my menstrual cycle
I was scared when I woke up this night thinking am bleeding.
I drank sobo last night I have to Google it to know if there is any connection between drinking sobo during menses and very heavy flow.
Thank God I found answer to that, my fear had eased


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