Organic Acids from Roselle ( Hibiscus sabdariffa L.)-A Brief Review of Its Pharmacological Effects

Biomedicines. 2020 Apr 28;8(5):100. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines8050100.


Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.), also known as jamaica in Spanish, is a perennial plant that grows in tropical and subtropical regions, including China, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. It has a long history of uses, mainly focused on culinary, botanical, floral, cosmetic, and medicinal uses. The latter being of great impact due to the diuretic, choleretic, analgesic, antitussive, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects. These therapeutic properties have been attributed to the bioactive compounds of the plant, mainly phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and organic acids (citric, hydroxycitric, hibiscus, tartaric, malic, and ascorbic). Most literature reviews and meta-analyses on the therapeutic potential of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Hs) compounds have not adequately addressed the contributions of its organic acids present in the Hs extracts. This review compiles information from published research (in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies) on demonstrated pharmacological properties of organic acids found in Hs. The intent is to encourage and aid researchers to expand their studies on the pharmacologic and therapeutic effects of Hs to include assessments of the organic acid components.

Keywords: Hibiscus sabdariffa L.; citric acid; hibiscus acid; hydroxycitric acid; malic acid; pharmacological effects; roselle.

Publication types

  • Review