From Magnus Eze, Enugu


The Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC), Prof. Daniel Nwachukwu, has confirmed that Hibiscus Sabdariffa, popularly called ‘zobo’ drink, has all the curative potentials as an antihypertensive therapy.


After research findings and clinical trials in both animals and human, the Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the university, stated that the antihypertensive effectiveness of the Hibiscus Sabdariffa (zobo) was comparable to those of known antihypertensive drugs that are popular in the retail pharmacies.


He added that zobo’s availability, cheapness and absence of side effects make it attractive as an alternative therapeutic agent in mind to moderate hypertensive subjects.


Nwachukwu, however, warned that care should be applied to avoid abuse in the consumption of Hibiscus Sabdariffa (zobo), adding that the therapy could interfere with some anti-malaria drugs while its high dose was also reported to have toxic effects on the liver and kidney.


The erudite scholar’s discoveries were contained in his 201st Inaugural Lecture of the University of Nigeria on the topic “The marriage between the cardiovascular system and Hibiscus Sabariffa: Let no one put asunder,” delivered at the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus.


He further warned that Hibiscus Sabariffa consumption is not recommended for persons with low blood pressure because of its well-established hypotensive action, advising that during combined therapy with antihypertensive drugs, the blood pressure, must be carefully monitored.

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He recommended that industrialists and investors should support large scale production of Hibiscus Sabariffa beverage and its distribution to rural communities in Nigeria, particularly since the raw materials (Hibiscus Sabariffa calyx and water) are cheap and readily available.


“This lecture is intended to draw the public attention to our research efforts and unveiling the antihypertensive ability of Hibiscus Sabariffa which is called zobo in our common parlance. What we used for our studies was the same concentration as the locally produced zobo, and we found out that it exerted significant antihypertensive ability, in some cases even higher than the antihypertensive drugs and also did combination therapy with other antihypertensive drugs.


“What is significant is that this zobo is within us, it’s very cheap and it does not have any side effects compared to other antihypertensive agents. The raw material is just to buy zobo, prepare it under hygienic conditions, boil water and put it, sieve it and drink. It may have a sour taste but we do not encourage people to add things like pineapple or sugar in order to make it sweet, because once you do that, you are diluting or reducing its antihypertensive effectiveness.


“We have demonstrated it, both in animal studies and in humans. We are the first to do clinical trials, using mild to moderate antihypertensive Nigerians and we found it very useful. Some of the results show that one can actually use it and we equally saw that you can use it to prevent even diabetes from occurring because it reduces the rise in glucose level,” Nwachukwu stated.


Vice Chancellor of UNN, Professor Charles Igwe said that the lecture was in three dimensions; one on health grounds, another in academics and the third an economic value.


He said: “The university has made its contribution through our laboratories and it’s now left for the business community and the industries to come and buy into it and start widening it and make it very economic.”