Beneficial Effects of Natural Bioactive Compounds from Hibiscus sabdariffa L. on Obesity

Molecules. 2019 Jan 8;24(1):210. doi: 10.3390/molecules24010210.


Obesity is a condition associated with the accumulation of excess fat in the body, energy imbalance, lipogenesis, etc., which increases adipose tissue mass through adipogenesis and poses a health risk. Its prevalence has become an economic burden to the health care system and the world at large. One of the alternatives to tackling obesity involves the use of bioactive compounds. We critically examined the effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract (HSE) on various parameters associated with the development of obesity such as; the effect of HSE on body weight, the effect of HSE on lipid accumulation, cholesterol metabolism and plasma parameters, the inhibitory effect of HSE on pancreatic lipase, and the effect of HSE on adipocyte differentiation/adipogenesis. This review has gathered reports on the various anti-obesity effects of H. sabdariffa bioactive compounds in cell and animal models, as well as in humans. Available toxicology information on the consumption of H. sabdariffa revealed that its toxicity is dose-dependent and may cause an adverse effect when administered over a long period of time. Reports have shown that H. sabdariffa derived bioactive compounds are potent in the treatment of obesity with an evident reduction in body weight, inhibition of lipid accumulation and suppression of adipogenesis through the PPARγ pathway and other transcriptional factors.

Keywords: Hibiscus sabdariffa; adipogenesis; bioactive compounds; fat accumulation; lipase inhibition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biological Products / chemistry*
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use
  • Hibiscus / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Lipogenesis / drug effects
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Plant Extracts