Hibiscus sabdariffa Linnaeus (Malvaceae), curcumin and resveratrol as alternative medicinal agents against metabolic syndrome

Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem. 2013 Mar;11(1):25-37. doi: 10.2174/1871525711311010006.


Metabolic syndrome (MS) is an obesity-associated collection of disorders, each of which contributes to cardiovascular risk. For patients with MS, it is difficult to follow a diet/exercise regime that would improve their symptoms. Therefore, the investigation of agents that may deal with its more serious aspects is an important medical field for research. Numerous experimental studies have confirmed the important role of medicinal plants or their active components in the prevention and treatment, and in lowering risk factors of MS. As oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in the association between obesity, insulin resistance (IR) and hypertension, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant components like polyphenols might be useful as a treatment for MS. The aqueous extract of Hibiscus Sabdariffa L (HSE), rich in several polyphenols, is commonly and effectively used in native medicines against hypertension, diabetes and liver disorders. HSE has also shown therapeutic promise in the prevention of MS in patients, probably due to its polyphenol content. Curcumins, derived from the spice turmeric, and resveratrol, polyphenols found in grapes and red wine respectively, in addition to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, inhibit preadipocyte proliferation, de novo lipogenesis and fat accumulation in liver. Thus, due to their efficacy in the regulation of multiple targets, polyphenols have received considerable interest as potential therapeutic agents for the prevention and treatment of MS. This review discusses the therapeutic use of HSE, as well as curcumin and resveratrol, in the context of obesity as an initiator of insulin resistance and hypertension, the two main features of MS, together with the underlying mechanisms of action.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Hibiscus*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Stilbenes
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol