Planta Med 2013; 79 - PS6
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1348820

Hibiscus sabdariffa L: Safety and Efficacy during Pregnancy and Lactation

N Enwerem 1, M Azuine 2
  • 1Division of Nursing, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia
  • 2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, MD

The flowers, calyx and seeds of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Malvaceae) is used in traditional medicine as a diuretic, cancer, mild laxative, cardiac and nerve diseases. In Nigeria, a decoction of the seeds is used in folk medicine to enhance or induce lactation in cases of poor milk production. Aims: The present study was aimed to review the literature for evidence on the use, safety, efficacy and pharmacology during pregnancy and lactation. Method: Six electronic databases including the Napralert database were searched. Data were compiled based on the grade and evidence found. Results: There were no scientific evidence to support the use of Hibiscus sabdariffa during pregnancy and lactation. However, there is in vitro evidence from animal studies that the seeds of Hibiscus sabdariffa have lactogenic effect. Animal studies have also shown that there is a delayed puberty, elevation of body weight and BMI in female rats that consumed extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa. Conclusions: Caution should be exercised with the use of Hibiscus sabdariffa during pregnancy and lactation till human research is conducted to determine its safety. There is a need to be cautious when using medications with Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Keywords: Hibiscus sabdariffa L, safety, efficacy, pregnancy, lactation