Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.) Print

Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.)

Image

Also listed as: Karkada, Red sorrell
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Ambary plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), burao (Hibiscus tiliaceus), chemparathampoo, erragogu, esculetin, gogu (Hibiscus cannabinus), Hibiscus protocatechuic acid (PCA), Hibiscus mutabilis, Hibiscus rosasinensis, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Hibiscus syriacus, Hibiscus taiwanensis, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Jamaican red sorrel, Karkadi, karkada, karkade (Arabic), kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), Malvaceae (family), red sorrel (English), roselle (English), sour tea, tellagogu, zobo drink.
  • Combination product examples: Anna Pavala Sindhooram [green vitriol (annabedi or ferrous sulfate), coral reef (Corallium rubrum or pavalam), leaves of Acalypha indica (kuppaimeni), Lippia nodiflora (poduthalai), Vinca rosea (nityakalyani), Lawsonia alba (maruthondri), and Cynodon dactylon (arugampul), Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers (chemparathampoo), and the ripe fruits of Phyllanthus emblica (nellikkai)].
  • Note: This bottom line does not include okra (Abelmoschus esculentus, formerly classified as Hibiscus esculentus) or Norfolk Island hibiscus (Lagunaria patersonii).

Background
  • Several species of hibiscus have been used for medical purposes. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been used in ancient Indian medicine, Hibiscus sabdariffa has been used as a folk medicine in Canada for high blood pressure, and Hibiscus cannabinus has been studied for head lice, although more evidence is needed.
  • Hibiscus sabdariffa and the compounds that it contains are likely to be studied more in the future. There is limited safety data on hibiscus, although it is popularly used as a tea. Research reports that it is well-tolerated when taken by mouth.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Extracts of hibiscus have been found to lower blood pressure. More high-quality studies are needed to confirm these results, although the use of hibiscus for lowering blood pressure looks promising.

B


Early research suggests that Hibiscus sabdariffa extract may have antioxidant benefits. However, higher quality studies are needed before firm conclusions may be made.

C


The effects of hibiscus on cholesterol levels have been mixed. More high-quality research is needed before a conclusion may be made.

C


A combination therapy containing hibiscus has been used for lice. However, the effects of hibiscus alone are unclear. Further study is needed.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antineoplastic (prevents growth of cancer cells), antioxidant, antiviral, birth control, cancer, clogged arteries, fever, flavoring agent, heart disease prevention, infection, inflammation, kidney stones, leukemia, liver diseases, liver protection, nutrition, pain (reduces sensitivity to pain), parasites, poisoning, skin diseases, weight loss.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • As an antioxidant, 10 grams of powdered H. sabdariffa L. extract (HSE) dissolved in 200 milliliters of tap water has been taken by mouth as a single dose immediately before drinking.
  • For high cholesterol, 100 milligrams of H. sabdariffa extract or extract powder has been taken by mouth daily for 4-12 weeks. Two capsules of 500 milligrams Hibiscus sabdariffa extract each has been taken by mouth daily for 90 days. Sour tea sachets, each containing 2 grams of Hibiscus sabdariffa, have been used twice daily for one month.
  • For high blood pressure, 10 grams of dry calyx from Hibiscus sabdariffa infused with 0.5 liters of water has been taken by mouth daily before breakfast for four weeks. A dose of 150 grams of sour tea has been taken by mouth at least one hour before measuring blood pressure for 12 days. A dose of 240 milliliters of tea containing 1.25-2 grams of H. sabdariffa (steeped over 6-30 minutes in boiling water) has been taken by mouth 1-3 times daily for 4-6 weeks. Tea prepared with hibiscus powder containing 250 milligrams of anthocyanins (a compound found in hibiscus) has been taken by mouth daily for four weeks. Two spoonfuls of blended hibiscus tea has been added to one glass of boiled water (steeped for 20-30 minutes) and taken by mouth once daily for 15 days.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for hibiscus in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to hibiscus, its parts, or members of the Malvaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Hibiscus is possibly safe when taken by mouth in the form of Hibiscus sabdariffa (9.6 milligrams of anthocyanins) to treat high blood pressure for up to four weeks.
  • Hibiscus may cause allergic skin reactions (such as inflammation and itching), headache, increased cholesterol levels, increased sensitivity to sunlight, mild stomach problems (including gas, nausea, pain, and swelling), ringing in the ears, tremor, and urinary problems.
  • Hibiscus may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people who have high or low blood pressure, or those taking drugs or herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Hibiscus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in people who have high cholesterol, nervous system disorders, and stomach or intestine disorders, or those taking cholesterol-lowering agents.
  • Use cautiously in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of evidence.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to hibiscus, its parts, or members of the Malvaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of hibiscus during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Use cautiously in pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Hibiscus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Hibiscus may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
  • Hibiscus may also interact with agents for cancer, agents for the ears, agents for the heart, agents for the immune system, agents for the kidneys, agents for malaria, agents for the nervous system, agents for the stomach and intestines, agents for the urinary tract, agents that increase sun sensitivity, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, antiviral agents, chloroquine, cholesterol-lowering agents, fertility agents, hormonal agents, and hydrochlorothiazide.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Hibiscus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Hibiscus may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Hibiscus may also interact with antibacterial herbs and supplements, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antiviral herbs and supplements, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, fertility herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements eliminated by the kidneys, herbs and supplements for cancer, herbs and supplements for the heart, herbs and supplements for the immune system, herbs and supplements for malaria, herbs and supplements for the nervous system, herbs and supplements for the stomach and intestines, herbs and supplements that increase sun sensitivity, hormonal herbs and supplements, and kava.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Abe R and Ohtani K. An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants and traditional therapies on Batan Island, the Philippines. J Ethnopharmacol. 1-30-2013;145(2):554-565.
  2. AbouZid SF and Mohamed AA. Survey on medicinal plants and spices used in Beni-Sueif, Upper Egypt. J Ethnobiol.Ethnomed. 2011;7:18.
  3. Ademiluyi AO and Oboh G. Aqueous extracts of Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn.) varieties inhibit alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase activities in vitro. J Med Food 2013;16(1):88-93.
  4. Agbobatinkpo PB, Azokpota P, Akissoe N, et al. Indigenous perception and characterization of Yanyanku and Ikpiru: two functional additives for the fermentation of African locust bean. Ecol.Food Nutr 2011;50(2):101-114.
  5. Baranova VS, Rusina IF, Guseva DA, et al. [The antiradical activity of plant extracts and healthful preventive combinations of these exrtacts with the phospholipid complex]. Biomed.Khim. 2012;58(6):712-726.
  6. Bindhu MR and Umadevi M. Synthesis of monodispersed silver nanoparticles using Hibiscus cannabinus leaf extract and its antimicrobial activity. Spectrochim.Acta A Mol.Biomol.Spectrosc. 1-15-2013;101:184-190.
  7. Frank T, Netzel G, Kammerer DR, et al. Consumption of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. aqueous extract and its impact on systemic antioxidant potential in healthy subjects. J Sci Food Agric. 8-15-2012;92(10):2207-2218.
  8. Hanson M, Englberger L, Duncan B, et al. An evaluation of a nutrition intervention in Kapinga Village on Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Pac.Health Dialog. 2011;17(1):173-184.
  9. Lin HH, Chen JH, and Wang CJ. Chemopreventive properties and molecular mechanisms of the bioactive compounds in Hibiscus sabdariffa Linne. Curr Med Chem 2011;18(8):1245-1254.
  10. Okoko T and Ere D. Hibiscus sabdariffa extractivities on cadmium-mediated alterations of human U937 cell viability and activation. Asian Pac.J Trop.Med 2012;5(1):33-36.
  11. Saeed IA, Ali L, Jabeen A, et al. Estrogenic activities of ten medicinal herbs from the Middle East. J Chromatogr.Sci 2013;51(1):33-39.
  12. Scancar J, Zuliani T, Zigon D, et al. Ni speciation in tea infusions by monolithic chromatography--ICP-MS and Q-TOF-MS. Anal.Bioanal.Chem 2013;405(6):2041-2051.
  13. Shi L, Chen J, Wang YY, et al. Gossypin induces G2/M arrest in human malignant glioma U251 cells by the activation of Chk1/Cdc25C pathway. Cell Mol.Neurobiol. 2012;32(2):289-296.
  14. Shimoda LM, Park C, Stokes AJ, et al. Pacific island 'Awa (Kava) extracts, but not isolated kavalactones, promote proinflammatory responses in model mast cells. Phytother.Res 2012;26(12):1934-1941.
  15. Wang H, Lu Z, Qu HJ, et al. Antimicrobial aflatoxins from the marine-derived fungus Aspergillus flavus 092008. Arch Pharm Res 2012;35(8):1387-1392.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Search Site