Anabolic effect of Hibiscus rosasinensis Linn. leaf extracts in immature albino male rats

Nig Q J Hosp Med. 2007 Jan-Mar;17(1):5-7. doi: 10.4314/nqjhm.v17i1.12532.


Many plants remedies have been employed in solving man's health needs especially the nutritive value which enhances health living. Aphrodisiac plants are plants with anabolic properties i.e. they help in protein synthesis and enhances sexual abilities in males. They are also known as androgenic plants because their properties are similar to that of androgen a male hormone. Cold aqueous extract of Hibiscus rosasinensis leaves is reported by local traditional practioners in Western Nigeria to be aphrodisiac.

Objective: To investigate the anabolic properties of Hibiscus rosasinensis.

Materials and method: Three groups (8/group) of immature male rats of known weights were administered equal doses of aqueous (cold and hot) and alcoholic extracts of Hibiscus rosasinensis leaves for 8 weeks. The gain in body and isolated sexual organs (testis, epididymis, seminal vesicle and prostate) weights were determined after treatment and compared to the value obtained from a fourth untreated group which served as the control. Section through the testes of both the treated and untreated rats were also examined microscopically and displayed as a photomicrograph for comparism. All data were statistically analysed and displaced in graphic form.

Results: Over the 8 weeks of treatment, the control, the cold aqueous extract dosed, hot aqueous extract dosed and alcoholic extract dosed rats gained 8%, 15%, 18% and 22% in body weights respectively. The increase in the weight of testis, epididymis, seminal vesicle and prostate of the alcoholic extract dosed rats was 19%, 30%, 31% and 40% respectively.

Conclusion: The anabolic effect of the leaf extracts of H. rosasinensis is hereby established. More work needs to be done on these leaf extracts to know their effect on the gonadotrophin hormones which regulate the activity of the androgens in relation to spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Drug Compounding / methods
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Epididymis / drug effects
  • Genitalia, Male / drug effects*
  • Genitalia, Male / ultrastructure
  • Gonadotropins / physiology
  • Hibiscus*
  • Male
  • Medicine, African Traditional
  • Models, Animal
  • Nigeria
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Photomicrography
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Prostate / drug effects
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Seminal Vesicles / drug effects
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects
  • Testis / drug effects


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Gonadotropins
  • Plant Extracts