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Family Malvaceae
Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn.
Shan jia zi

Scientifric names  Common names 
Abelmoschus cruentus (Bertol.) Walp. Red sorrel (Engl.)
Furcaria sabdariffa Ulbr. Red tea (Engl.)
HIbiscus cruentus Bertol.  
HIbiscus fraternus L.  
HIbiscus gossypifolius Mill.                    Unresolved  
HIbiscus palmatilobus Baill.  
HIbiscus sabdariffa Linn.  
HIbiscus sanguineus Griff.                     Unresolved  
HIbiscus subdariffa Rottb.                      Unresolved  
Sabdariffa rubra Kostel  
Hibiscus sabdariffa L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Luo shen hua, Mei gui jia, Shan jia zi.
GERMAN: Afrikanischer Eibisch, Hibiscus-Tee, Karkade-Tee, Roselle, Rote Malve.
FRENCH: Oseille de Guinée, Thé rose d'Abyssinie.
JAPANESE: Roozera, Roozeru, Rozerusou.
POLISH: Hibiskus szczawiowy, Ketmia szczawiowa.
PORTUGUESE: Caruru De Guine (Brazil), Quiabo Da Angola (Brazil), Rosela, Vinagreira.
THAI: Krachiap, Kra chiap daeng.

Roselle is an erect, branched, nearly smooth annual herb, 1 to 2 meters in height. Stems are purplish. Leaves are 8 to 12 centimeters long, variable in shape, entire or deeply 3- or 5-lobed, the lobes oblong to oblong-lanceolate. Calyx is somewhat hairy, lobes are pointed, connate below the middle, forming a fleshy cup. Corolla is pink with a dark center, about 5 centimeters long. Fruit is ovoid, pointed, hairy, about 2.5 centimeters long, enclosed by a fleshy and enlarged calyx.

- Planted for ornamental purposes and its edible calyces.
- Not spontaneous.
- Introduce post-Spanish colonization.
- Native of tropical Africa.
- Now pantropic.

• The dried calyces yield among others: cellulose, insoluble and soluble ash, tartaric acid, malic acid.
• Calyces are high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and iron.
• Food value per 100 g of fresh edible portion: Moisture 9.2 g, protein 1.145g. fat 2.61g, fiber 12 g, ash 6.9 g, calcium 1,263 mg, phosphorus 273.2 mg, iron 8.98 mg, carotene 0.029 mg, thiamine 0.117 mg, riboflavin 0.277 mg, niacin 3.765 mg, ascorbic acid 6.7 mg.
• The flowers yield a coloring matter that contain gossypetin, quercetin, hibiscetin
and free protocatechuic acid.
• Bitter seeds contain 20% oil with 26% albuminoids.
• Leaves yield oxalic acid.

• Analysis of unextracted (UE) and extracted (E) roselle seeds showed 15.36% (UE) 27.50% (E) digestible crude protein, 75.81% (UE) 68.83% (E) total digestible nutrients, 84.06% (UE) 64.23% (E) starch value, and 3184 kcal/kg (UE) 2891 kcal/kg (E) calculated metabolizable energy.

• Leaves considered emollient, stomachic, scorbutic and febrifuge.
Seeds are diuretic and tonic.
• Flowers considered tonic and aperitive.

Parts used
Leaves and flowers.

Culinary / Nutritional
• Cultivated ornamentally and for the red and fleshy calyces that surround the fruit used for making jellies, wine and other food products. The jam, jelly, and sauce are similar in appearance and taste to cranberries.
• Young leaves used as a substitute for spinach; used in cooking of curries, meat or fish, and the native dish "sinigang."

• In Myanmar, green leaves are the main ingredient in making chin baung kyaw curry.
• Calyces are high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and iron.

• Leaves used as emollient.
• Lotion made from leaves used for sores.
• Decoction of seeds used for dysuria and strangury; for mild dyspepsia and debility.
• In Brazil, drink made from the plant, considered refrigerant and used for fevers.
• A boiled drink prepared from the fruit and calyx, dashed with salt, pepper, asafoetida and molasses, used for biliousness.
• Fruit used as antiscorbutic.
• Seeds are diuretic and tonic.
• In Chad, infusion of calyces used for plethora, bronchitis and coughs.
• Heated leaves applied to cracks in the feet; also, to boils and ulcers to hasten healing and maturation.
• In India seed decoction used for dysuria, strangury and mild dyspepsia.
• In Nigeria, seed decoction used to enhance or induce lactation in cases of poor milk production. (see study below) (27)
- Fiber: Plant yields bast fiber from the stems; used a jute substitute in making burlap.
- Coloring:
Plant yields a coloring matter used for food coloring.

A study evaluating the effect of sour tea (H sabdariffa) on essential hypertension showed significant lowering of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (1) A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the anti-hypertensive effects of H. sabdariffa tisane (hibiscus tea) consumption in humans. Results suggest daily consumption of hibiscus tea, in an amount readily incorporated into the diet, lowers BP in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. (22)
Antimutagenic: A study of an 80% ethanol extract of roselle showed antimutagenic activity against MAM acetate, a colon carcinogen. (2)
Anti-Atherosclerotic / Hypolipidemic: A study of HB extract suggests it inhibits serum lipids and shows and anti-atherosclerotic activity. (3)
Nephroprotective / Diabetic Nephropathy Amelioration: Study showed HS extract possesses potential effects to ameliorate diabetic nephropathy in STZ induced type 1 diabetic rats via improving oxidative status and regulating Akt/Bad/14-3-3 signaling.(4)
Galactagogue / Lactogenic Effect: A study showed the seed extract of H sabdariffa possesses lactogenic activity, enhancing serum prolactin level which is the principal lactogenic hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary. Results establish the ethnomedical use of the seeds as a galactagogue. (•) Study showed the serum prolactin level of extract-treated rats showed a dose-dependent significant increase when compared to the control group. (5)
Anti-Hyperammonemia: A study showed administration of extract of HS altered the activities of the liver marker enzymes in ammonium chloride-induced hyperammonemic rats. (7)
Antihypertensive / Seed: Study showed the aqueous seed extract of HS produced a significant reduction in cat blood pressure. (8)
Antioxidant: A study showed the protective role of extract of HS against lipid peroxidation and suggests an antioxidant potential to be used for therapeutic purposes.

Hypolipidemic: A study of HS dried calyx ethanolic extract on the serum lipid profile of Sprague-Dawley rats showed triacylglycerols and LDL levels to be significantly less in all groups. All groups had lower cholesterol levels compared to control. No significant results were found on the HDL levels (10)
Antiviral / Anti-Measles Virus: A study of leaf extracts of red and green leaved Hibiscus sabdariffa showed antiviral activities against the Measles Virus. (12)
Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Hepatotoxicity: A study of the aqueous ethanol extract of the calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage showed healing of oxidative liver damage as determined by serum enzyme levels and liver thiobarbituric acid reactive substances levels. (13)
Antioxidant / Seeds: Study investigated the antioxidant activity of an ethanolic seed extract of H sabdariffa in toxicity induced by chronic administration of sodium nitrate in wistar rats. Results showed alleviation of induced toxicity by the antioxidant effect of HS. Substantial amounts of Vitamin E and Vitamin C in the seed oil observed on preliminary phytochemical screening may be responsible for the antioxidant effect. (14)
Anti-Obesity: Study investigated the effect of a calyx extract on fat absorption-excretion and body weight in rats. Results showed a significant increase in the amount of fatty acid in the feces. The components of the Hs extract at the intermediate and higher concentrations could be considered possible antiobesity agents. (15)
Staining Effect: Roselle extract shows reasonable potential as a candidate nuclear stain especially when modanted with iron alum or mordanted with potassium alum and acidified with acetic acid. (16)
Safety Study: Study concludes Hibiscus sabdariffa is probably a safe medicinal plant, short-term administration of the HS did not show harmful effects on body water and electrolyte levels.

Review / Hypertension Study / No Effect: Current trials of HS in reducing high blood pressure were poor. Four randomized controlled studies do not provide reliable evidence to support recommending HS for the treatment of primary hypertension in adults. (18)
Lactogenic Study / Prolactin Effect: Study evaluated the effect of an ethyl acetate fraction of seed on pituitary prolactin and milk production in albino rats. Results showed a significant increase in prolactin level. Results infer the EA seed fraction has lactogenic activity, increasing pituitary prolactin level and milk production in lactating female albino rats. The LD50 of ethyl acetate fraction was above to be above 5000 mg/kg. (19)
Review / Treatment of Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia / Animal and Human Studies: This review reports
of a comprehensive body of evidence suggesting that HS extracts are promising as treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Of the potential hypolipidemic and hypotensive mechanisms, the most common explanation is the antioxidant effects of the anthocyanins inhibition of LDL-C oxidation, which impeded atherosclerosis, an important cardiovascular risk factor. Author suggests more high quality animal and human studies to provide recommendations for its potential public health benefit. (23)
Toxicity Study: Study evaluated acute and chronic toxicities of water extract from calyces of Hibiscus sabariffa in male and female rats. A single oral administration of extract in the amount of 5,000 mg/kbw did not produce acute toxicity. A 270-day chronic toxicity evaluation at doses of 50, 100, and 200 mg/kbw did not cause chronic toxicity in rat. (25)
Protective Against Oxidative Stress Induced Damage on RBC Membrane: Study evaluated the effect of an aqueous extract of H. sabdariffa calyx on hydrogen peroxide induced oxidative stress on rat RBC membranes. The extract showed a protective effect by reducing oxidative stress damage in vitro. Dose concentrations of 0.5 mg/ml Roselle extract reduced peroxidation on lipids by reducing the concentration of MDA and helped RBC membrane antioxidant defense system by increasing GSH and lowering SOD concentrations. (26)
Safety Study During Pregnancy and Lactation: Study reviewed the literation on use, safety, efficacy, and pharmacology during pregnancy and lactation. Results showed no scientific evidence to support use of H. sabdariffa during pregnancy and lactation. In vitro studies of seeds in animals suggest a lactogenic effect. Animal studies have also shown delayed puberty, elevation of body weight and BMI in female rats. Authors advise caution with the use of HS during pregnancy and lactation until human research determines its safety. (27)
Antifungal Synergism with Voriconazole in Fluconazole-Resistant Candida albicans: Study reports on the antimicrobial effect of H. sabdariffa extract, a common herbal drink, in combination with voriconazole or fluconazole against C. albicans isolates. Results showed a high degree of synergism of the extract with voriconazole against fluconazole-resistant C. albicans. The extract showed no effect with fluconazole. (28)
Hypotensive Effect / Anthocyanins: Extraction study on H. sabdariffa analyzed total phenol content and antioxidant capacity using various assays. Highest concentration was through water extraction, providing the highest concentrations of cyanidin 3-sambubioside and delphinidin 3-sambubioside. Partition coefficients of anthocyanins showed aglycone and glucoside forms of hibiscus anthocyanins behave differently when in the presence of cell wall material, which could effect absorption and bioactiviy of the anthocyanins. A human crossover study on daily consumption of H. sabdariffa juice for 8 weeks showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. Study suggests regular consumption of HS extracts may reduce cardiovascular risk. (29)
Effect on Spermatogenesis / Fruit: Study evaluated the effect of aqueous fruit extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa on spermatogenesis and sperm of adult male mice. Results showed an adverse effect on spermatogenesis and sperm parameters in mice, with significant differences in FSH, LH, and testosterone hormones, with testes histology showing a significant decrease in lumina spermatozoa. (30)
Corrosion Inhibition: Study of calyx extract of H. sabdariffa on mild steel corrosion showed suppression corrosion in both acid media (2M HCl and 1M H2SO4) through mix-inhibition mechanism. Inhibition efficiency increase with increase in extract concentration and synergistically increased in the presence of halide ions. (

Interactions / Toxicology
Studies in healthy volunteers showed altered chloroquine, acetaminophen and diclofenac pharmacokinetics. (32) Hypotensive effects might be of concern in patients on antihypertensives.
The LD50 of ethyl acetate fraction of seed was above to be above 5000 mg/kg. (19) The median lethal dose of the calyx extract in rats is estimated to be higher than 5 g/kg. (Ali BH, Al Wabel N, Blunden G. Phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological aspects of Hibiscus sabdariffa L.: a review. Phytother Res . 2005;19(5):369-375.) (32)

Teas and extracts in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update March 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Hibiscus sabdariffa, Cairo, Egypt / File:Flower Hibiscus Sabdariffa.jpg / B. Simpson Cairocamels / April 2006 / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: File:Hibiscus sabdariffa MS 10412.jpg / Marco Schmidt / 2008 / Creative Commons Attribution / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photot / File:Hibiscus sabdariffa Laos.jpg / Thomas Schoch / 29 December 2011 / GNU Free Documentation License / Click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on essential hypertension / M Haji Faraji and A H Haji Tarkhani / Journ of Ethnopharmacology • Vol 65, No 3, pp 231-236, June 1999 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00157-3
Effects of Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn.), a Thai Medicinal Plant, on the Mutagenicity of Various Known Mutagens in Salmonella typhimurium and on Formation of Aberrant Crypt Foci Induced by the Colon Carcinogens Azoxymethane and 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine in F344 rats / T Chewonarin et al / Food and Chemical Toxicology • Vol 37 Issue 6, pp 591-601, June 1999/ doi:10.1016/S0278-6915(99)00041-
Hibiscus sabdariffa Extract Inhibits the Development of Atherosclerosis in Cholesterol-Fed Rabbits / Chang-Che Chen et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2003, 51 (18), pp 5472–5477 / DOI: 10.1021/jf030065w
Aqueous Extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa Linnaeus Ameliorate Diabetic Nephropathy via Regulating Oxidative Status and Akt/Bad/14-3-3in an Experimental Animal Model / Shou-Chieh Wang et al / eCAM, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep181
Toxicological And Lactogenic Studies On The Seeds Of Hibiscus Sabdariffa Linn (Malvaceae) Extract On Serum Prolactin Levels Of Albino Wistar Rats / Ibrahim Bako Gaya et al /Internet Journal of Endocrinology. 2009 Volume 5 Number 2
Study of the Effect of Aqueous Hibiscus Sabdariffa Linn Seed Extract on Serum Prolactin Level of
Lactating Female Albino Rats
/ Okasha M A M et al / European Journal of Scientific Research
ISSN 1450-216X Vol.22 No.4 (2008), pp.575-583
Influence of Hibiscus sabdariffa on the rhythmic alterations of liver markers in experimental hyperammonemic rats / M Mohammmed Essa and P Subramanian / DOI: 10.1080/09291010701633552 /
Biological Rhythm Research, Volume 40, Issue 3 June 2009 , pages 273 - 278
Hypotensive Effect of Aqueous Seed Extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa linn (Malvaceae) on Normotensive Cat / I G Bako et al / International Journal of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Advances 2(1): 5-8, 2010
The Consumption of Hibiscus sabdariffa Dried Calyx Ethanolic Extract Reduced Lipid Profile in Rats / Octavio Carvajal-Zarrabal et al / Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Formerly Qualitas Plantarum) • Volume 60, Number 4 / December, 2005 / DOI 10.1007/s11130-005-9023-x
Roselle / Wikipedia
Antiviral effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa and Celosia argentea on measles virus / Omilabu A. Sunday et al / African Journal of Microbiology Research Vol. 4 (4), pp. 293-296, Febuary, 2010
Effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyx extract on carbon tetrachloride induced liver damage / D. Dahiru, O. J. Obi and H. Umaru / BIOKEMISTRI 15 (1): 27-33 (June 2003)
Antioxidant Effect of Ethanolic Seed Extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa linn (Malvaceae) Alleviate the Toxicity Induced by Chronic Administration of Sodium Nitrate on Some Haematological Parameters in Wistars Rats / I G Bako, M A Mabrouk et al / Advance Journal of Food Science and Technology 1(1): 39-42, 2009
Effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Dried Calyx Ethanol Extract on Fat Absorption-Excretion, and Body Weight Implication in Rats / O. Carvajal-Zarrabal, P. M. Hayward-Jones, Z. Orta-Flores et al / J Biomed Biotechnol. 2009; 2009: 394592. / doi: 10.1155/2009/394592
A Study of the Staining Effect of Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on the Histologic Section of the Testis
/ Egbujo E, Adisa O J, Yahaya A B / Int. J. Morphol., 26(4):927-930, 2008.
The Effect of Hibiscus Sabdariffa on Lipid Profile, Creatinine, and Serum Electrolytes: A Randomized Clinical Trial / Abbas Mohagheghi, Shirin Maghsoud et al / ISRN Gastroenterology, Volume 2011 (2011),
/ doi:10.5402/2011/976019
The effectiveness of Hibiscus sabdariffa in the treatment of hypertension: A systematic review / H A Wahabi, L A Alansary, A H Al-Sabban, P Glasziuo / Phytomedicine 17 (2010) 83–86
Lactogenic study of the ethyl-acetate fraction of Hibiscus sabdariffa linn seed on pituitary prolactin level of lactating albino rats / I G Bako, A M Mabrouk, S M Abubakar, A Mohamme / IJARND,International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products, Vol 6, No 2, 2013
Sorting Hibiscus names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne
Hibiscus sabdariffa L. / Synonyms / The Plant List

Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults/ McKay DL, Chen CY, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. / J Nutr. 2010 Feb;140(2):298-303. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.115097. Epub 2009 Dec 16.
Hibiscus sabdariffa L. in the treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia: a comprehensive review of animal and human studies. / Hopkins AL, Lamm MG, Funk JL, Ritenbaugh C. / Fitoterapia. 2013 Mar;85:84-94. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Jan 17.
Chemical and nutritional studies on roselle seeds (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.)
/ M. S. Samy / Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft, March 1980, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 47-49
TOXICITY STUDIES OF THE WATER EXTRACT FROM THE CALYCES OF HIBISCUS SABDARIFFA L. IN RATS / Seewaboon Sireeratawong, Arunporn Itharat, Parirat Khonsung, Nirush Lertprasertsuke, Kanjana Jaijoy / Afr J Tradit Complement Altern. Med., Vol 10, No 4 (2013)
Effect of Aqueous Extract of Roselle Calyx (Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn) on Hidrogen Peroxide Induced Oxidative Stress of Rat Red Blood Cell Membranes / Jamaludin Mohamed*, Nor Anizah Mohd Nor, Siti Balkis Budin / International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health, Vol 4, No 12 (2012)
Hibiscus sabdariffa L: Safety and Efficacy during Pregnancy and Lactation / N Enwerem, M Azuine / Planta Med 2013; 79 - PS6 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1348820
Antibacterial effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle) extract in synergism with voriconazole and fluconazole against fluconazole-resistant Candida albicans isolates: An in vitro study. / Issam Alshami and Ahmed Eid Alharbi / Biomedical Research 2014; 25 (3): 401-404
Bioactivity of anthocyanins from Hibiscus sabdariffa / Sindi, Hebah Abbas / 2013, PhD thesis, University of Leeds.
Corrosion Inhibitive Effect and Adsorption Behaviour of Hibiscus Sabdariffa Extract on Mild Steel in Acidic Media / Emeka E. Oguzie* / Portugaliae Electrochimica Acta 26 (2008) 303-314
Hibiscus / Drugs.Com

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