Ambashthaki, Bissap, Gongura, Groseille de Guinée, Guinea Sorrel, Hibisco, Hibiscus Calyx, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Jamaica Sorrel, Karkade, Karkadé, Oseille de Guinée, Oseille Rouge, Pulicha Keerai, Red Sorrel, Red Tea, Rosa de Jamaica, Roselle, Sour Tea, Sudanese Tea, Thé Rose d'Abyssinie, Thé Rouge, Zobo, Zobo Tea.
Hibiscus is a bushy annual plant. Parts of the flower are used to make a popular drink in Egypt called Karkade. Various parts of the plant are also used to make jams, spices, soups, and sauces. The flowers are used to make medicine.
Hibiscus is used for treating loss of appetite, colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and disorders of circulation; for dissolving phlegm; as a gentle laxative; and as a diuretic to increase urine output.
In foods and beverages, hibiscus is used as a flavoring. It is also used to improve the odor, flavor, or appearance of tea mixtures.
How does it work?
The fruit acids in hibiscus may work like a laxative. Some researchers think that other chemicals in hibiscus might be able to lower blood pressure; decrease spasms in the stomach, intestines, and uterus; and work like antibiotics to kill bacteria and worms.
Possibly Effective for...
- High blood pressure. Some early research shows that drinking hibiscus tea for 2-6 weeks decreases blood pressure in people with mildly high blood pressure. Other early research shows that taking a hibiscus extract by mouth for 4 weeks may be as effective as the prescription drug captopril for reducing blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure. However, an analysis of results from various clinical studies suggests that there is not enough evidence to draw strong conclusions about the effects of hibiscus in reducing high blood pressure.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- High cholesterol. Some early research suggests that taking hibiscus extract by mouth or consuming hibiscus tea might lower cholesterol levels in people with metabolic syndrome or diabetes. However other early research shows that taking a specific extract of hibiscus leaves (Green Chem, Bangalore, India) for 90 days does not improve cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Also, taking hibiscus extract by mouth for 12 weeks does not appear to reduce cholesterol compared to the drug pravastatin and may actually increase cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
- Loss of appetite.
- Irritated stomach.
- Fluid retention.
- Heart disease.
- Nerve disease.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Surgery: Hibiscus might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control difficult during and after surgery. Stop using hibiscus at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
ChloroquineInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
Hibiscus tea might reduce the amount of chloroquine that the body can absorb and use. Taking hibiscus tea along with chloroquine might reduce the effectiveness of chloroquine. People taking chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of malaria should avoid hibiscus products.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Hibiscus might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking hibiscus along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Hibiscus might lower blood pressure. Taking hibiscus along with medications used for lowering high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Do not take too much hibiscus if you are taking medications for high blood pressure.
Some medications for high blood pressure include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Drinking a hibiscus beverage before taking acetaminophen might increase how fast your body gets rid of acetaminophen. But more information is needed to know if this is a big concern.
The appropriate dose of hibiscus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for hibiscus. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Ali, B. H., Al, Wabel N., and Blunden, G. Phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological aspects of Hibiscus sabdariffa L.: a review. Phytother.Res 2005;19(5):369-375. View abstract.
Baranova, V. S., Rusina, I. F., Guseva, D. A., Prozorovskaia, N. N., Ipatova, O. M., and Kasaikina, O. T. [The antiradical activity of plant extracts and healthful preventive combinations of these exrtacts with the phospholipid complex]. Biomed.Khim. 2012;58(6):712-726. View abstract.
Bourdy, G. and Walter, A. Maternity and medicinal plants in Vanuatu. I. The cycle of reproduction. J.Ethnopharmacol. 1992;37(3):179-196. View abstract.
Ciemniak, A. [Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in herbs and fruit teas]. Rocz.Panstw.Zakl.Hig. 2005;56(4):317-322. View abstract.
El Basheir, Z. M. and Fouad, M. A. A preliminary pilot survey on head lice, pediculosis in Sharkia Governorate and treatment of lice with natural plant extracts. J.Egypt.Soc.Parasitol. 2002;32(3):725-736. View abstract.
Frank, T., Janssen, M., Netzel, M., Strass, G., Kler, A., Kriesl, E., and Bitsch, I. Pharmacokinetics of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides following consumption of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. extract. J Clin Pharmacol 2005;45(2):203-210. View abstract.
Frank, T., Netzel, G., Kammerer, D. R., Carle, R., Kler, A., Kriesl, E., Bitsch, I., Bitsch, R., and Netzel, M. 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. View abstract.
Freiberger, C. E., Vanderjagt, D. J., Pastuszyn, A., Glew, R. S., Mounkaila, G., Millson, M., and Glew, R. H. Nutrient content of the edible leaves of seven wild plants from Niger. Plant Foods Hum.Nutr. 1998;53(1):57-69. View abstract.
Girija, V., Sharada, D., and Pushpamma, P. Bioavailability of thiamine, riboflavin and niacin from commonly consumed green leafy vegetables in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh in India. Int.J.Vitam.Nutr.Res. 1982;52(1):9-13. View abstract.
Gurrola-Diaz, C. M., Garcia-Lopez, P. M., Sanchez-Enriquez, S., Troyo-Sanroman, R., Andrade-Gonzalez, I., and Gomez-Leyva, J. F. Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder and preventive treatment (diet) on the lipid profiles of patients with metabolic syndrome (MeSy). Phytomedicine. 2010;17(7):500-505. View abstract.
Haji, Faraji M. and Haji, Tarkhani A. The effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on essential hypertension. J.Ethnopharmacol. 1999;65(3):231-236. View abstract.
Hernandez-Perez, F. and Herrera-Arellano, A. [Therapeutic use Hibiscus sabadariffa extract in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. A randomized clinical trial]. Rev.Med Inst.Mex.Seguro.Soc. 2011;49(5):469-480. View abstract.
Herrera-Arellano, A., Flores-Romero, S., Chavez-Soto, M. A., and Tortoriello, J. Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa in patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2004;11(5):375-382. View abstract.
Herrera-Arellano, A., Miranda-Sanchez, J., Avila-Castro, P., Herrera-Alvarez, S., Jimenez-Ferrer, J. E., Zamilpa, A., Roman-Ramos, R., Ponce-Monter, H., and Tortoriello, J. Clinical effects produced by a standardized herbal medicinal product of Hibiscus sabdariffa on patients with hypertension. A randomized, double-blind, lisinopril-controlled clinical trial. Planta Med 2007;73(1):6-12. View abstract.
Khader, V. and Rama, S. Effect of maturity on macromineral content of selected leafy vegetables. Asia Pac.J.Clin.Nutr. 2003;12(1):45-49. View abstract.
Mahmoud, B. M., Ali, H. M., Homeida, M. M., and Bennett, J. L. Significant reduction in chloroquine bioavailability following coadministration with the Sudanese beverages Aradaib, Karkadi and Lemon. J.Antimicrob.Chemother. 1994;33(5):1005-1009. View abstract.
Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Jalali-Khanabadi, B. A., Afkhami-Ardekani, M., and Fatehi, F. Effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on lipid profile and lipoproteins in patients with type II diabetes. J Altern.Complement Med 2009;15(8):899-903. View abstract.
Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Jalali-Khanabadi, B. A., Afkhami-Ardekani, M., Fatehi, F., and Noori-Shadkam, M. The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes. J Hum.Hypertens 2009;23(1):48-54. View abstract.
Muthu, S. E., Nandakumar, S., and Rao, U. A. The effect of methanolic extract of Tamarindus indica Linn. on the growth of clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei. Indian J Med.Res 2005;122(6):525-528. View abstract.
Ong, C. Y., Ling, S. K., Ali, R. M., Chee, C. F., Samah, Z. A., Ho, A. S., Teo, S. H., and Lee, H. B. Systematic analysis of in vitro photo-cytotoxic activity in extracts from terrestrial plants in Peninsula Malaysia for photodynamic therapy. J Photochem.Photobiol.B 9-4-2009;96(3):216-222. View abstract.
Wahabi, H. A., Alansary, L. A., Al-Sabban, A. H., and Glasziuo, P. The effectiveness of Hibiscus sabdariffa in the treatment of hypertension: a systematic review. Phytomedicine. 2010;17(2):83-86. View abstract.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
Kolawole JA, Maduenyi A. Effect of zobo drink (Hibiscus sabdariffa water extract) on pharmacokinetics of acetaminophen in human volunteers. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 2004;29:25-9. View abstract.
Kuriyan R, Kumar DR, Rajendran R, Kurpad AV. An evaluation of the hypolipidemic effect of an extract of Hibiscus Sabdariffa leaves in hyperlipidemic Indians: a double blind, placebo controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med 2010;10:27. View abstract.
Lin LT, Liu LT, Chiang LC, Lin CC. In vitro anti-hepatoma activity of fifteen natural medicines from Canada. Phytother Res 2002;16:440-4. View abstract.
McKay DL, Chen CY, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. J Nutr 2010;140:298-303. View abstract.
Mohamed R, Fernandez J, Pineda M, Aguilar M. Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) seed oil Is a rich source of gamma-tocopherol. J Food Sci 2007;72:S207-11.
Ngamjarus C, Pattanittum P, Somboonporn C. Roselle for hypertension in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010:1:CD007894. View abstract.