Hibiscus tea is a herbal tea made as an infusion from crimson or deep magenta-coloured sepal of the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) flower. It is consumed both hot and cold.
It has a cranberry-like flavour, and sugar is often added to sweeten it. The tea contains vitamin C and minerals and is used traditionally as a mild medicine.
Sobolo is a cool drink found in most West African countries. It is a dark red-purple coloured juice. The Burkinabes call it bissap while we in Ghana call it sobolo.It tastes a bit grapey and more like the cranberry juice and can be served with mint leaves.It is not just a refreshing drink that many have come to love over the years but it also has many health benefits that doesn’t cross our minds.
In fact there are a huge number of claims made for Bissap’s therapeutic benefits, from Ayurvedic menstrual remedies to hangover cures and treatments for cancer.
Previously I thought green tea was the only beverage that had the most antioxidants,however after reading more about the hibiscus leave I realized it was untrue.
Maybe the most important thing that can be said about hibiscus tea is that it is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in a beverage in the world.
In East Africa, the infused hibiscus drink called “Sudan tea”, is taken to relieve cough.
Dieters and people with kidney problems often turn to the natural and beneficial properties of the hibiscus flower, because of the Vitamin C and minerals, and as a diuretic.
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME HEALTH BENEFITS OF BISSAP.
CHOLESTEROL LOWERING AND ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTIES
Oxidation in the human body produces chemicals called ‘free radicals’. These chemicals have
been linked to diseases such as heart and liver disease, and cancer. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that can bind to ‘free radicals’ preventing them from damaging healthy cells.
Studies from around the world indicate that Bissap exhibits strong antioxidant activity and that this is linked to the pigments (anthocyanins), which give the plant its vivid red colour.
Scientists from Chung Shan University in Taiwan have stated that the antioxidant properties of
the compounds found in the flower may reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
Experts recommend drinking hibiscus tea to assist in weight loss.Studies has shown that Hibiscus tea contains an enzyme inhibitor which blocks production of amylase – an enzyme that breaks down complex sugars and starches.It is likely that drinking a cup of hibiscus tea after meals could reduce the absorption of dietary carbohydrates and assist in weight loss.
LOWERING BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure (hypertension) is on the rise in most developing countries. It also increases risks of heart disease and strokes. In Northern Nigeria Hibiscus drink is traditionally used as a treatment for this condition.However in Ghana it is mainly enjoyed as a refreshing drink called “SOBOLO.”