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J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Jan 30;99(2):596-605. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9220. Epub 2018 Aug 9.

The main beneficial effect of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on obesity is not only related to its anthocyanin content.

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DIPA-Facultad de Química, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico.
CICATA - Querétaro, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Querétaro, Mexico.
Centro de Investigaciones Químicas, Instituto de Ciencias Básicas e Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Pachuca, Mexico.



The calyxes of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) are recognized for their high nutraceutical value because they decrease body weight and obesity complications. These effects have been attributed mainly to anthocyanins. However, the calyxes comprise important concentration of flavonoids, phenolic, and organic acids, which could also contribute to these effects. The objective of this work was to determine the effect of the Alma Blanca white roselle variety on obesity and hepatic steatosis in high-fat, high-fructose, diet-fed rats and compare its beneficial effects with the red variety (Criolla), which has been more extensively studied.


Aqueous and methanolic extracts were prepared from two roselle varieties, Alma Blanca (white) and Criolla (red). The phytochemical profiles were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS). Criolla extracts contain principally anthocyanins, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. Anthocyanins were not detected in Alma Blanca. The aqueous extracts of both varieties prevented body-weight gain and decreased adipocytes hyperplasia on rats fed a hypercaloric diet. These extracts also protected against hepatic steatosis. These benefits were associated with hibiscus, dimethyl hibiscus, and hydroxycitric acid.


These results demonstrated that calyxes from Hibiscus sabdariffa contain compounds that are different from anthocyanins, with potential benefits to health. The organic acids were strongly associated with these beneficial health effects. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry.


anthocyanins; hepatic steatosis; obesity; organic acids; roselle calyxes

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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