Project Lead(s): Emanuel Peter
Anemia, one of the most common and widespread blood disorders, is a public health problem in both developing and developed countries
In Tanzania, use of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) calyces or seeds has taken importance for the variety of its nutritious and medicinal values. It is claimed roselle juice could correct iron deficiency anaemia.
Although mineral and chemical compositions of dried roselle calyces support this claim, studies on roselle extracts are lacking.
The main purpose of the study was to optimize extraction conditions for ferrous (iron II) and L-ascorbic acid from dried calyces of Hibiscus sabdariffa L grown in Dodoma in Tanzania by using Response Surface Methodology (RSM).
Ferrous was estimated by atomic absorption spectrophotometric method (AAS), while L-ascorbic acid was measured by the iodometric titration technique.
Efficacy and safety of the standardized juice was evaluated in a randomized clinical trial with anemic participants.
The study demonstrated the presence of both iron and ascorbic acid in the dried roselle calyces grown in Tanzania.
In addition, RSM helped to study the interaction effect of extraction temperature, soaking time and solid-solvent ratio. Industries may adopt these conditions for production of roselle beverages to maximize their health benefits.
Another phase of the study documented a significant increase in iron store in a group receiving a dose of 1,500 ml/day of roselle for a month. The juice was also shown to be generally safe.
The project helped to establish the ideal extraction parameters for iron and ascorbic acid, which are essential elements in correcting iron deficiency anaemia.
The next step will involve conducting a large-scale clinical trial to validate the findings, and to generate more evidence on the efficacy and safety of the product. To do this, the team will seek funding from partners such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Tanzania Ministry of Health.