Drugs A - Z

Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.)

treats Lice and Hypertension

Generic Name: Hibiscus esculentis

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

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.

Note: This monograph does not include okra (Abelmoschus esculentus, formerly classified as Hibiscus esculentus) or Norfolk Island hibiscus (Lagunaria patersonii).

Background

The Hibiscus genus contains several species, many of which have been used medicinally. For instance, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been documented in the ancient Indian scriptures. Hibiscus sabdariffa has been used as a folk medicine in Canada, and appears promising in treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). Hibiscus cannabinus has been studied to treat head lice, although there is currently insufficient available evidence in this area.

Hibiscus sabdariffa and compounds isolated from it (for example, anthocyanins and hibiscus protocatechuic acid) are likely candidates for future studies. There is limited reported safety data about hibiscus, although it is popularly used as a tea.

Based on ethnobotanical study, Hibiscus tiliaceus has been used throughout the Vanuatu archipelago to speed childbirth. Hibiscus sabdariffa L., has been used as a folk medicine in Canada. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has been documented to have been used for several ailments in the ancient Indian scriptures.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: 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.

Hypertension (high blood pressure): Extracts of hibiscus may lower the systolic and diastolic pressure. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results, although the use of hibiscus for lowering blood pressure looks promising.
Grade: B

Lice: Currently, there is limited available evidence evaluating the effects of hibiscus for the treatment of lice. Additional study is warranted in this area.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: 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 (melioidosis), antifungal, antioxidant, antipyretic (fever reducer), antiviral, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cancer, contraceptive, flavoring agent, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), leukemia, liver diseases, liver protection, pain (antinociceptive), renal stone disease, weight loss.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

There is no proven effective dose for hibiscus, although an herbal infusion prepared with 10 grams of dry calyx from Hibiscus sabdariffa with 0.51 water (9.6mg anthocyanins content), daily before breakfast showed similar results as captopril 25 milligrams twice a day for four weeks.

Children (younger than 18 years):

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

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