In Nigeria, agriculture remains the largest sector of the economy. Hibiscus flowers (Zobo) are multi colored and varied and an annual herb cultivated for its leaves, stem, seed and calyces. It grows nearly throughout the year, though its peak production is during the dry season of November to April of the following year.
In Nigeria, the Zobo drink produced from the red calyces is native to the northern Nigeria but its consumption has gained wide acceptance all over Nigeria due partly to its speculated antihypertensive properties but the low shelf life of the drink produced by the traditional method has placed a serious limitation on its general acceptance and consumption in Nigeria.
The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi having realized the many health benefits of Zobo drink has worked extensively on production and preservation of the drink and has developed and perfected a process technology for same.
ZOBO TEA PRODUCTION
Dried hibiscus (ZOBO) flower is used in the production of hibiscus (zobo)tea. Hibiscus tea is a caffeine-free herbal tea from a special type of hibiscus, called Roselle, the scientific name is Hibiscus sabdarrifa. Specifically, the tea is made out of the dried fruit part of Roselle, called calyx. It is in red color and tastes like berries.
Dried Hibiscus flower grows in various States of Nigeria including Kano, Katsina, Jigawa,Bauchi and Maiduguri States. It is a medicinal herb and health food product used in the production of tea packaged in a tea bag.
RAW MATERIALS FOR ZOBO TEA PRODUCTION
The major raw material for zobo tea production is Dried Hibiscus flower also known as Zobo, but one can add ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anis and dry honey etc to spices it up.
REQUIREMENT FOR ZOBO TEA PRODUCTION
- Machinery – Washer and Dryer, Grinder, Teabag filler etc
- Registrations- NAFDAC,CAC,etc
- Production Space
- Raw materials
All the machinery for zobo tea production can be sourced locally.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ZOBO TEA
- Thirst: Hibiscus tea can be drunk hot or cold. As iced tea, the infusion is known to satiate thirst quite effectively. It is often recommended as an alternative to artificially made commercial “sport drinks” that are marketed to physically active individuals.
- High Blood Pressure: The antihypertensive properties of hibiscus tea were noted by a study in which 70 people were involved; half of them drank hibiscus tea once daily and the other half took 25 mg of antihypertensive medicine twice daily. After a month, 79 percent of the tea drinkers experienced a ten-point reduction in blood pressure, 84 percent of the ones that took pharmaceutical medicine also experienced the same reduction in blood pressure. Hibiscus is an antioxidant. It has properties that prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins; a substance in our blood that if increased beyond normal quantities may cause high blood pressure.
- Weight Loss: Some tea drinkers use hibiscus tea to aid in weight loss. The body produces an enzyme known as amylase which functions to break down complex sugar and starch molecules in food. When a person consumes too much carbohydrate-rich food (full of sugar and starch) that individual is most likely going to gain weight. According to pubmed.gov, hibiscus contains a substance that can inhibit the production of amylase. A person regularly drinking hibiscus tea can thus prevent too much absorption of carbohydrates and consequently not gain excess weight.
- May Balance Blood Sugar Levels: if star anis are added to zobo it has the capacity to balance blood sugar levels because of anethole, the active ingredient in anise seed, may keep blood sugar levels in check.
- Has the capacity to reduced risk of heart disease if mix with Cinnamon, the world’s most common cause of premature death.
Finally return on investment is high especially now that demand for green tea is high.
Agbaji chinedu can be contacted:08035004617