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No, zobo drink won’t cure fever – go to hospital instead

A message posted on Facebook claims a local herbal drink “cures fever”. 

“How to make medicinal zobo drink,” it begins. It describes the drink as an infusion of zobo leaves, pineapple, lemongrass, lemon, ginger, beetroot, orange, watermelon and water. 

Zobo is a Nigerian drink made from dried roselle plant flowers. Roselle, scientifically called Hibiscus sabdariffa, belongs to the Malvaceae family. It grows mostly in tropical regions and has dark green or reddish stalks and leaves.

But does the drink described in the post cure fever?


Several factors cause fever

A fever is an increase in normal body temperature above the average of 98.6º Fahrenheit or 37º Celsius. It is often a sign of an illness or medical condition, according to the Mayo Clinic, a US non-profit medical centre.

Some common symptoms of fever include headaches, shivering and chills, loss of appetite, dehydration and general body weakness.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) says several conditions and diseases could result in a fever.  It is also one of the common symptoms of Covid-19. 

People – adults and children alike – with a fever accompanied by severe headaches, seizures, convulsions, mental confusion, frequent vomiting, abdominal pains and breathing issues are advised to seek medical help immediately.

‘Fevers should not be treated lightly’ 

“I’ll describe the claim as a traditional mixture and a myth. It should be ignored,” Marycelin Baba, a professor of medical virology and microbiology at Nigeria’s University of Maiduguri, told Africa Check.

Baba co-authored a paper on the misdiagnosis of malaria and typhoid fever in patients. “There is no scientific evidence to support the claim,” she said. “Such a mixture is not a treatment or cure for fever. The fruits listed in the claim are nutritious but should not be taken as a cure for fever.”

Baba added: “If you have a fever, please visit a hospital immediately. Don’t rely on mixtures. Fevers should not be treated lightly."

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