Scientific name: hibiscus sabdariffa

Common names: Guinea sorrel, Jamaica sorrel, Roselle

Ayurvedic names: Ambasthaki 

Chinese names: Mei gui qie, Shan qie zi.

Bangladesh names: Jaba

Arabic names:    كركديه (al karkadeeh)

Rain Forest names:


Approximate Number of Species Known: 200

Common Parts Used: Epicalyces and calyces 


Annual/Perennial: Annual

Height: 7 to 8 feet

Actions: diuretic and refrigerant

Known Constituents: 

Constituents Explained:

Description:   (please note: this is the general characteristics –  colour, flavor etc)

Traditional Use:

Clinical Studies:

A study compared the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of Hibiscus sabadariffa extract (SHE) versus pravastatin in hypercholesterolemia.

A double blind and controlled clinical trial. Men and women with hypercholesterolemia ≥ 220 mg/dL, and over 30 years without previous treatment were included. Experimental I, SHE standardized 10 mg of anthocyanins, control, 20 mg of pravastatin.

Experimental II, extract of H. sabdariffa, standardized to 20 mg of anthocyanins for 12 weeks. SHE Data analysis with Anova and χ(2) tests were used.

The study included 104 patients, at baseline there were no significant differences in age, weight, BMI, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, VLDL or triglycerides. At the end of the study, the experimental I group reduced triglycerides, the control treatment reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol and its fractions, and finally, the experimental treatment II reduced triglycerides.

The three treatments showed high percentages of safety and tolerability, without showing significant differences. The treatments, with 10 and 20 mg of anthocyanins reduce triglycerides. The control treatment showed the greatest effect on lowering total cholesterol and fractions compared to experimental treatments.

Another study evaluated health benefits attributed to Hibiscus sabdariffa L. A randomized, open-label, two-way crossover study was undertaken to compare the impact of an aqueous H. sabdariffa L. extract (HSE) on the systemic antioxidant potential with a reference treatment (water) in eight healthy volunteers.  

The biokinetic variables were the areas under the curve (AUC) of plasma FRAP, ascorbic acid and urate that are above the pre-dose concentration, and the amounts excreted into urine within 24h (Ae(0-24) ) of antioxidants as assayed by FRAP, ascorbic acid, uric acid, malondialdehyde (biomarker for oxidative stress), and hippuric acid (metabolite and potential biomarker for total polyphenol intake).

HSE caused significantly higher plasma AUC of FRAP, an increase in Ae(0-24) of FRAP, ascorbic acid and hippuric acid, whereas malondialdehyde excretion was reduced. Furthermore, the main hibiscus anthocyanins as well as one glucuronide conjugate could be quantified in the volunteers’ urine.

The aqueous HSE investigated in this study enhanced the systemic AOP and reduced the oxidative stress in humans. Furthermore, the increased urinary hippuric acid excretion after HSE consumption indicates a high biotransformation of the ingested HSE polyphenols, most likely caused by the colonic microbiota.


Hernandez-Perez F, Herrera-Arellano A. “Therapeutic Use Of Hibiscus Sabdariffa In The Treatment Of Hypercholesterolemia. A Randomized Clinical Trial.” 2011 September-October http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22185846

Frank T, Netzel G, Kammerer DR, Carle R, Kler A, Kriesl E, Bitsch I, Netzel M. “Consumption Of Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Aqeous Extracts And Its Impact On Systemic Antioxidant Potential In Healthy Subjects.” 2012 February http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22331521



Herb Name: Hibiscus

Other names: 


Flor de Jamaica,



Jamaica sorrel

Latin name: Hibiscus sabdariffa

Family: Malvaceae

Common part used: 

The fresh and dried epicalyces and calyces are used for herbal remedies.

Hibiscus, a flowering green shrub, blooms in brilliant colors of red, orange, pink, while, yellow, and sometimes peach. It grows from 4 to 15 feet in normal land cultivation in residential places but can rise up to 30 feet in the forests or wild areas. Hibiscus grows well under the sun and is not sensitive to handle because it thrives even along roadsides, in abandoned fields and barren places.

It is an erect annual with lobed leaves and brightly colored flowers and woody stems. Rosa-sinensis has red flowers, while sabdariffa has pale yellow flowers with a purple center, followed by capsules, surrounded by an enlarged, fleshy and brightly red calyx.

It is an aromatic, astringent and cooling herb that has diuretic properties and helps to lower fever as well as providing vitamin C.

It contains mucilage polysaccharides and pectins, organic acids (hibiscus, ascorbic (vitamin C), citric, malic and tartaric acids).

Medicinal Uses: Based on recent laboratory tests, hibiscus is found to be useful in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol reduction in the blood. It has shown positive results in reducing bad cholesterol levels (LDL) found in extremely fat diets because, according to scientists, hibiscus may limit the adherence of cholesterol to artery walls. Regular use of hibiscus herbs promotes proper blood circulation and minimizes heart diseases.

Moreover, researchers believe that the antibacterial property of hibiscus may be essential in combating various illnesses like fever, cystitis and venereal disease. It is also effective in soothing respiratory tract infections and relieves whooping coughs and other respiratory ailments.

Hibiscus tea is pleasantly tasty and is known to be a good relief for stomach pains and improper food digestion. According to herb users, hibiscus tea promotes good appetite and good health.

It is used for various allergic eczemas and other skin conditions. It has possibilities due to the I-hydroxy-acids, anthocyanocides and mucilages contained, as the I-hydroxy-acids act on the horny layer of the skin, to reduce the cohesion between the corneocytes, which affects the thickness of the layer and increases skin moisture. This improves skin flexibility and elasticity, as well as creates higher moisture levels in the skin. The anthocyanocides again have astringent, anti-inflammatory, and free radical scavenging, as well as enzyme inhibition properties and is especially useful to inhibit elastase and hyaluronidase. Finally, the high mucilage content enhances the retention of the skin’s hydric content. This makes the herb useful against the effects of aging, due to the power of the I-hydroxy-acids, together with the moisturizing ability of the mucilages in combination with the astringent, anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenger properties of the anthocyanocides.