September 18th, 2023
By Sayer Ji
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle, Florida cranberry and Jamaica sorrel, is a plant closely related to okra that’s native to Central and West Africa.[i] The calyces of the hibiscus flower — the bright red, cup-shaped structures — have a tart, cranberry-like flavor and are enjoyed as part of a special holiday beverage in the Caribbean.[ii]
Hibiscus also has a long history of use in folk medicine in Thailand, Nigeria, China and India.[iii] Bioactive compounds in the plant are plentiful and include flavonoids, anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid, with known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects — and additional benefits for diabetes control and the prevention of heart disease and obesity.[iv]
Hibiscus’ anti-obesity effects are particularly exciting, with research showing this powerful plant may hold a natural secret to helping humans stay slim.
Hibiscus Extract Safely Inhibits Obesity
Researchers with Chung-Shan Medical University, Taiwan, looked at the effects of hibiscus extract (HSE) on metabolic regulation in a group of overweight or obese adults, ages 18 to 65.[v] Participants received either HSE — at a dose of 450 milligrams (mg) — or a placebo capsule containing 500 mg of starch daily for 12 weeks. The hibiscus extract led to a number of beneficial effects on obesity as well as liver health.
Those in the HSE group had decreased body weight, body mass index (BMI) and body fat, as well as reduced abdominal fat distribution. Serum free fatty acids, which tend to be elevated in people with obesity, also decreased, while fatty liver disease improved.
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