Hibiscus cannabinus L. (kenaf) studies: Nutritional composition, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and potential applications

Food Chem. 2021 May 15;344:128582. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.128582. Epub 2020 Nov 9.


The electronic database was searched up to July 2020, using keywords, kenaf and roselle, chemical constituents of kenaf and roselle, therapeutic uses of kenaf and roselle. Journals, books and conference proceedings were also searched. Investigations of pharmacological activities of kenaf revealed that this edible plant exhibits a broad range of therapeutic potential including antioxidant, antimicrobial, antityrosinase, anticancer, antihyperlipidemia, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, and hepatoprotective activities. Kenaf also showed versatile utility as a functional ingredient in food, folk medicine, and animal nutritions, as well as in nanotechnology processes. The exploitation of underexploited kenaf by-products can be a significant part of waste management from an economic and environmental point of view. In addition, kenaf showed comparable nutritional, phytochemical, and pharmacological properties with Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle). This review has important implications for further investigations and applications of kenaf in food and pharmaceuticals industry.

Keywords: Bioactive compounds; Health benefits; Kenaf; Pharmacology; Roselle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Hibiscus / chemistry
  • Hibiscus / metabolism*
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Phytochemicals / analysis
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry*
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Proteins