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Acta Histochem. 2012 Jul;114(4):342-8. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Effect of extract of Hibiscus on the ultrastructure of the testis in adult mice.

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Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Abbassia Cairo, Egypt.


Hibiscus sabdariffa extract is a popular beverage in many tropical and sub-tropical countries. Although, Hibiscus tea is known for its medicinal effects for thousands of years, scientific evidence of its systemic safety is very limited. The current study aimed to assess the potential adverse effects of H. sabdariffa extract on sperm morphology and testicular ultrastructure of albino mice. Thirty adult male albino mice were divided into three equal groups and were given: (a) distilled water, (b) cold Hibiscus aqueous extract, and (c) boiled Hibiscus aqueous extract. Hibiscus extract was administered orally daily for 4 weeks in a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight/mouse. Twenty-four hours after the last treatment, mice were decapitated and the testes and epididymides were excised and processed for transmission electron microscopy to assess ultrastructural and sperm abnormalities. The results clearly demonstrate that aqueous extracts from dried calyx of H. sabdariffa, either cold or boiled, alter normal sperm morphology and testicular ultrastructure and adversely influence the male reproductive fertility in albino mice. The current data suggest that Hibiscus extract should be consumed with caution, and reasonable estimates of the human risk associated with its consumption should be provided.

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