Effect of Hibiscus sabdariffa and its anthocyanins on some reproductive aspects in rats

Badreldin H. Ali, Intisar Al-Lawati, Sumyia Beegam, Amal Ziada, Suhail Al Salam, Abderrahim Nemmar, Gerald Blunden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


An aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. is a common beverage in many parts of the world. Reports on its effect on reproduction are conflicting, with anecdotal evidence that the plant is an aphrodisiac, while others report that it is estrogenic, and adversely affects spermatogenesis in rats. We have studied the effect of different concentrations of aqueous extracts of H. sabdariffa calyces (10%, 15% and 20%) used as drinking water for 10 consecutive weeks, and its anthocyanins (50, 100, 200 mg/kg for 5 days, orally) on the weight and histology of the testis, and on some biochemical constituents in testicular homogenates, in addition to the plasma concentrations of testosterone, luteinizing hormone and estradiol. The possible presence of an estrogenic effect of the extract and anthocyanins on the uteri of immature female rats was also tested. Neither the H. sabdariffa extract nor the anthocyanins significantly altered either testicular weight and histology, or uterus weight. Plasma concentrations of the three hormones studied, the testicular concentrations of protein, reduced glutathione and total cholesterol, and superoxide dismutase activity were all insignificantly affected by either the extract or the anthocyanins, except for a slight, but statistically significant, decrease in testicular protein concentration caused by the 15% aqueous extract when compared with controls. These results suggest that H. sabdariffa exerts no adverse effect on the male reproductive system. Consumption of H. sabdariffa aqueous extract inhibited the growth of the rats compared with the controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-44
Number of pages4
JournalNatural Product Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Anthocyanins
  • Aqueous extract
  • Growth inhibition
  • Hibiscus sabdariffa
  • Rat reproductive system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Plant Science
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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