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Phytother Res. 2003 Jan;17(1):56-9.

The effect of a water extract and anthocyanins of hibiscus sabdariffa L on paracetamol-induced hepatoxicity in rats.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, King Saud University, Buraydah, Al-Gaseem, Saudi Arabia.


We investigated the effect of the water extract of the dried flowers of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. and Hibiscus anthocyanins (HAs) (which are a group of natural pigments occurring in the dried calyx of H. sabdariffa) on paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. The water extract was given in lieu of drinking water for 2, 3 or 4 consecutive weeks, and the HAs were given orally at doses of 50, 100 and 200 mg/Kg for five consecutive days. Paracetamol was given orally at a dose of 700 mg/Kg to induce hepatotoxicity at the end of the water extract and Has treatments. Six hours thereafter the rats were killed and their liver function evaluated biochemically and histologically. Given for 4 weeks (but not for 2 or 3 weeks) the extract significantly improved some of the liver function tests evaluated, but did not alter the histology of the paracetamol-treated rats or the pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time. At a dose of 200 mg/Kg, the hepatic histology and the biochemical indices of liver damage were restored to normal. Lower does were ineffective. Pending more evaluation for safety and efficacy, the HAs can potentially be used in mitigating paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity.

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