hibiscus benefits and side effects
Health Benefits of Hibiscus Extracts

Hibiscus extracts or related products have protective effects in rat stomach.
Turkish researchers found fresh fruits of Hibiscus esculentus L. (Malvaceae) had protective effects on
ethanol-induced ulcerogenesis in a study of rats. [9]

Hibiscus extracts showed benefits on diabetic rats.
Indian researchers noticed the blood glucose and insulin lowering effects of ethanol extracts of Hibisus rosa
sinensis (flower) in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. They observed the maximum hypoglycemic effect
after 21 days of use. [5]

Hibiscus extracts have total cholesterol and triglyceride lowering activities.
Indian researchers noticed intake of Hibiscus rosa sinensis extracts associated with improved lipid profiles
(decrease in total cholesterol and triglyceride, an increase in HDL-cholesterol) after 21 days of use in diabetic
rats. [5] In other studies, repeated administration of the extract (once a day for seven consecutive days), at
an oral dose equivalent to 250 mg kg(-1), also  significantly improved glucose tolerance in rats.  [12] They
believed that the leaf extract acts like tolbutamide and the mechanism of action may be a stimulation of
pancreatic beta cells to produce more insulin or an increase of the glycogen deposition in liver. [10] Thus,
mechanism of action could be speculated partly to increased utilization of glucose, either by direct stimulation
of glucose uptake or via the mediation of enhanced insulin secretion. [11]

Hibiscus extracts showed effects on glycogen content.
Ethanolic extracts (50%), as well the benzene extracts, of H. rosa-sinensis Linn. have reduced significantly
the glycogen contents in the uterus of adult rat in a dose proportional fashion. [3]

Hibiscus flower extracts may have anti-fertility properties. [15]
Kholkute SD and co-workers prepared extracts from Hibiscus rosa sinensis flowers, leaves, and stembarks
and they found only extracts from the flowers of the plant were 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Those flowers collected during the winter showed the greatest potency, followed by those collected in the
spring, rainy season, and summer, in decreasing order. [2]

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. (Malvaceae) has been reported to have their fertility inhibiting effects in the male.
[14] In another study, intake of alcoholic extracts of H.r. sinensis flowers led to decreased spermatogenic
elements of testis and epididymal sperm count.
While, researchers found Hibiscus rosa sinensis Linn. extracts  had no effects on weights of the male
reproductive organ in a study of rats. [16]

Hibiscus extracts may have benefits of anti-cancer activities.
Indian researchers showed a protective effect of Hibiscus rosa sinensis extract against the tumor promotion
stage of cancer development in mice skin. They first induced hyperproliferation and oxidative stress using
benzoyl peroxide and then UV radiation. The benzoyl peroxide application caused significant depletion in the
detoxification and antioxidant enzymes, while malondialdehyde formation, hydrogen peroxide content,
ornithine decarboxylase activity and DNA synthesis were raised significantly. They found pretreatment of
Hibiscus rosa sinensis extracts partly restored the levels of cellular protective enzymes. [6] Researchers also
noticed its anti-cancer activities in other animal studies. [7]

Hibiscus extracts may have benefits of hair growth
Indian researchers claimed Hibiscus rosa-sinensis might help hair growth, based on their animal and test-tube
studies. In the animal study, they applied 1% extract of leaves and flowers in liquid paraffin topically over the
shaved skin of rats for 30 days. In the vitro study, they culted the hair follicles isolated from rat neonates
extracts of leaves or flowers. They found extracts from leaves offered a better benefits for hair growth in rats.

Hibiscus extracts may benefit in convulsion.
Indian researchers also claim that the ethanolic extracts of flowers of Hibiscus rosa sinesis exhibited
anticonvulsant activity in a mice study.  The extracts protected animals from maximum electro shock, electrical
kindling and pentylenetetrazole-induced convulsions. They reported, the extracts raised brain contents of
gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin. [13]

Potential Side Effects of Hibiscus Extracts

Hibiscus may cause dermatitis and skin irritation. [4]
Studies have shown that Hibiscus rosa sinensis interfered the estrous cycle and reproductive organs in
female albino rats. Application of Hibiscus extracts for 30 days resulted in a significant reduction in the weight
of the ovaries, uterus, and pituitary gland. [1] Hibiscus rosa-sniensis flowers are contragestative agent in
animal studies. [18-20]

In mouse, oral administration of the benzene extract of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers at a dose level of 1
gm/kg body weight/day from day 5-8 of gestation led to termination of pregnancy in about 92% of the
animals. The effect was associated with a significant fall in peripheral level of progesterone and increase in
uterine acid phosphatase activity, as measured on day 10. [18]

Do not use Hibiscus extracts or related products, if you are preparing to have children or if you are pregnant.

Reference: [1] Kholkute SD, et al, Effect of Hibiscus rosa sinensis Linn. on oestrous cycle & reproductive organs in rats.
Indian J Exp Biol. 1976 Nov;14(6):703-4. [2] Kholkute SD, et al, Studies on the antifertility potentiality of Hibiscus rosa
sinensis. Parts of medicinal value; selection of species and seasonal variations. Planta Med. 1977 Feb;31(1):35-9. [3]
Prakash AO. Glycogen contents in the rat uterus: response to Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn. extracts. Experientia. 1979 Aug
15;35(8):1122-3. [4] Paulsen E, et al, Immediate skin and mucosal symptoms from pot plants and vegetables in
gardeners and greenhouse workers. Contact Dermatitis. 1998 Oct;39(4):166-70. [5] Sachdewa A, Khemani LD. Effect of
Hibiscus rosa sinensis Linn. ethanol flower extract on blood glucose and lipid profile in streptozotocin induced diabetes in
rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Nov;89(1):61-6. [6] Sharma S, et al, Effect of Hibiscus rosa sinensis extract on
hyperproliferation and oxidative damage caused by benzoyl peroxide and ultraviolet radiations in mouse skin. Basic Clin
Pharmacol Toxicol. 2004 Nov;95(5):220-5. [7] Sharma S, et al, Study on prevention of two-stage skin carcinogenesis by
Hibiscus rosa sinensis extract and the role of its chemical constituent, gentisic acid, in the inhibition of tumour promotion
response and oxidative stress in mice. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2004 Feb;13(1):53-63. [8] Adhirajan N, et al, In vivo and in vitro
evaluation of hair growth potential of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Oct;88(2-3):235-9. [9] Gurbuz I,
et al, Anti-ulcerogenic activity of some plants used as folk remedy in Turkey. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Sep;88(1):93-7. [10]
Sachdewa A, et al, A preliminary investigation of the possible hypoglycemic activity of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Biomed
Environ Sci. 1999 Sep;12(3):222-6. [11] Sachdewa A, Effect of Aegle marmelos and Hibiscus rosa sinensis leaf extract on
glucose tolerance in glucose induced hyperglycemic rats (Charles foster). J Environ Biol. 2001 Jan;22(1):53-7. [12]
Sachdewa A, et al, Hypoglycemic effect of Hibiscus rosa sinensis L. leaf extract in glucose and streptozotocin induced
hyperglycemic rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 2001 Mar;39(3):284-6. [13] Kasture VS, et al, Anticonvulsive activity of Albizzia
lebbeck, Hibiscus rosa sinesis and Butea monosperma in experimental animals. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Jul;71(1-2):65-75.
[14] Farnsworth NR, et al, Current status of plant products reported to inhibit sperm. Res Front Fertil Regul. 1982
Jun;2(1):1-16. [15] Tiwari KC, et al, Folklore information from Assam for family planning and birth control. Int J Crude Drug
Res. 1982 Nov;20(3):133-7. [16] Tan CH. Is Hibiscus rosa sinensis Linn. a potential source of antifertility agents for males?
Int J Fertil. 1983;28(4):247-8. [17] Reddy CM, et al, Antispermatogenic and androgenic activities of various extracts of
Hibiscus rosa sinesis in albino mice. Indian J Exp Biol. 1997 Nov;35(11):1170-4. [18] Pakrashi A, et al, Flowers of Hibiscus
rosa-sinensis, a potential source of contragestative agent. III: Interceptive effect of benzene extract in mouse.
Contraception. 1986 Nov;34(5):523-36. [19] Pal AK, et al, Flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, a potential source of
contragestative agent: II. Possible mode of action with reference to anti-implantation effect of the benzene extract.
Contraception. 1985 Nov;32(5):517-29. [20] Kabir SN, et al, Flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, a potential source of
contragestative agent: I. effect of benzene extract on implantation of mouse. Contraception. 1984 Apr;29(4):385-97.
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