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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Aug 27;51(18):5472-7.

Hibiscus sabdariffa extract inhibits the development of atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits.

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Institute of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.


Hibiscus sabdariffa L., a local soft drink material and medicinal herb, is usually used effectively in native medicines against hypertension, pyrexia, and liver disorders. Here, we report an extract, HSE (H. sabdariffa extract), which is designed to exhibit hypolipidemia and antiatherosclerotic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. New Zealand White rabbits were fed with a normal diet, high cholesterol (1.3%), lard oil (3%) diet (HCD) with or without 0.5 or 1% HSE for 10 weeks. The levels of triglyceride, cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were lower in the serum of rabbits fed HCD plus HSE than in the serum of rabbits fed HCD. Feeding HSE (0.5 and 1% in the diet) to rabbits significantly reduced severe atherosclerosis in the aorta. Histopathological examination showed that HSE reduced foam cell formation and inhibited smooth muscle cell migration and calcification in the blood vessel of rabbits. These results suggest that HSE inhibits serum lipids and shows an antiatherosclerotic activity.

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