Hibiscus juice, popularly known in Ghana as Sobolo is a drink made from dried sepals of the hibiscus flower. The juice is common in many West African countries and the Caribbean. Sobolo is enjoyed by many, for its great taste and medicinal properties. A visit to West Africa could be spiced with a glass of spicy sobolo from Ghana.
The Hibiscus plant, scientifically named hibiscus sabdariffa may thrive in both topical and temperate zones. Particularly, the species of hibiscus known as Roselle is what is used for the favourite sobolo drink. Almost every part of the hibiscus plant- the seeds, fruits, leaves, and stems are edible. However, it is the calyxes that are used to make the drink. They are cut fresh and dried before they can be used. When infused in hot water, the sepals of roselle produce a pink, red, magenta, or dark shade of water.
Different cultures call the roselle juice differently. Whiles Ghanaians call it sobolo, Nigerians call it zobo. Senegalese, Congolese, Malians and Burkinabes call it bissap. In Ghana, sobolo is mostly brewed with natural ingredients that include ginger, cloves, dried chilis black pepper, grains of paradise, grains of selim, cinnamon, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Also, fruits such as pineapple, strawberry, and banana, can be added to the sobolo drink for a preferred flavour.
Sobolo is packed with vitamin C, calcium, niacin, anthocyanins, riboflavin, and flavonoids. Vitamin C helps to prevent common cold, flu, and other infectious illnesses. Taking sobolo with all the hot ingredients helps to relieve symptoms of a cold quickly. The drink has also been found to be effective in healing open wounds up to twice as quickly. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, its importance was heightened as it was noted as a natural immune booster against the disease. Many Ghanaians took advantage of its healing effects and made profits from the sale of sobolo during that period.
The hibiscus drink has been found to control blood pressure. Most people prefer this method to other forms of hypertension medications. This is because sobolo is natural and has fewer side effects compared to orthodox medication. Also, research has shown that sobolo is effective in lowering low-density lipoprotein levels. It contains bioflavonoids that help to prevent plaque from forming on the walls of the arteries. This helps to lower one’s cholesterol levels as well as prevents a number of diseases.
Furthermore, studies show that Sobolo aids in weight control. The oxidants in the roselle help to reduce the absorption of dietary carbohydrates and help in weight loss. Drinking sobolo is therefore considered a natural appetite suppressant and a way to burn fats.
The sobolo drink is versatile in nature. It can be prepared with ingredients of one's choice. It can be taken warm or cold, sweetened or unsweetened, flavoured, or unflavoured. Sobolo can also be used for various domestic, corporate, and commercial purposes.
Information from https:/thecanadianafrican.com/sobolo-spiced-hibiscus-drink/, https://demandafrica.com/food/what-exactly-is-bissap/,
https://www.pulse.com.gh/lifestyle/ was used in this story