The effect of aqueous extract of petals of Hibiscus sabdariffa (HS) on the established stages of 2-Kidney, 1-Clip renovascular hypertension was investigated in Sprague-Dawley rats. Renovascular hypertension was induced by subjecting the animals to left renal artery clamping using a 0.2mm silver clip under ether anesthesia. Sham-operated (Sh-Op) rats served as controls. Six weeks after renal artery clamping, one group of hypertensive rats (blood pressure (BP) >140 mmHg) received HS (250 mg/kg/day) in drinking water (2K-1C+HS). The second group (2K-1C) and the sham-operated (Sh-Op) controls, received drinking water. BP was monitored weekly using rat-tail plethysmography. After 8 weeks, 2K-1C+HS had a reduction in systolic BP (139.6+/-1.6 mmHg) compared to 2K-1C (174+/-2.4 mmHg, n=5; P<0.001). No significant difference was found in BP of 2K-1C+HS and Sh-Op (139.6+/-1.6 mmHg versus 132+/-3.4 mmHg). A reduction in heart rate in 2K-1C+HS was observed (388+/-3.7 bpm versus 444+/-6.8 bpm in 2K-1C and 416+/-9.3 in Sh-Op, n=5; P<0.001). The hearts of 2K-1C were heavier than those of 2K-1C+HS (0.74+/-0.03 g versus 0.66+/-0.03 g, n=5; P<0.05). Cardiac weight of 2K-1C+HS was comparable to those of Sh-Op (0.57+/-0.04 g). Serum creatinine and plasma electrolytes were not different from controls. This study suggests that HS exhibits antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects in vivo and supports the public belief that HS may be a useful antihypertensive agent.