Toxic effects of oral administration of extracts of dried calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn. (Malvaceae)

Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):412-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2644.


The effects of a 90-day oral administration of water and alcohol extracts of dried calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa were evaluated in albino rats. Haematological, biochemical and histopathological changes were monitored every 30 days.The death of the animals was preceded by a severe loss in weight, accompanied with diarrhoea in animals on the 2000 mg/kg dose. There was an increase in food intake (g) per kg body weight per day in the aqueous (A) and ethanol (E) 300 mg/kg extract groups. Significant reductions in the erythrocyte count with no difference in total leucocyte count were observed. The activity of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) was enhanced by the administration of aqueous and 50% ethanol extract with a significant increase in its level at higher doses (p < 0.05). Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and creatinine levels were significantly affected by all the extracts at the different dose levels. However, aqueous extracts exhibited a significant increase in creatinine levels (p < 0.05) at higher doses. The cholesterol levels were generally not significantly affected by the extracts. No significant histopathological changes were observed, although there was a significant reduction in the weight of the spleen of the animals administered with ethanol and water extracts when compared with the control (p < 0.01). Other organs were of the same relative weight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Hibiscus / toxicity*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Rats
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Toxicity Tests, Chronic*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Cholesterol
  • Creatinine
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase