Hibiscus rosasinensis

Hibiscus rosasinensis (China Rose) is a flower that has traditionally been used for hair growth and for the treatment of stomach ulcers. It has general antioxidant properties, but is otherwise underresearched.

Our evidence-based analysis features 6 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis by and verified by the Examine.com Research Team. Last updated on Jun 14, 2018.

1Sources and Composition

1.1. Sources

Hibiscus rosasinensis (of the family Malvaceae) is sometimes referred to as 'China Rose' and although it is mostly a decorative flower it appears to be used in hair growth and ulcer prevention.[1] In pakistani medicine, it is referred to as either Gurhal, Jasun, Ghorawal, or Badsha pasant where the root is used for cough and the flowers for aphrodisiac, emollient and emmenagogue.[2]

1.2. Composition

Hibiscus rosasinensis tends to contain:

  • Cyanidin and Cyanin glucoside[2]

  • Hibiscetin[2] and its glucoside Hibiscitrin[3]

  • Sabdaritrin and Gossypitrin[3]

  • Taraxeryl acetate[2]

  • β-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, and ergosterol[2]

  • Citric, Tataric, and Oxalic acids[2]

A preliminary screening has noted the presence of sterols, carbohydrates, glycosides, tannins and Flavonoids.[1]

2Interactions with Glucose Metabolism

Oral ingestion of Hibiscus rosasinensis at 250-500mg/kg in alloxan-induced diabetic rats noted that acute ingestion of this herb resulted in reduced blood glucose relative to control, and to a similar degree than the active control of glibenclamide (10m/kg).[4] Subchronic treatment over 7 days suggested that the 500mg/kg intake was similarly effective as 10mg/kg glibenclamide in these rats.[4]

3Interactions with Hormones

3.1. Testosterone

One study conducted in rats given various extracts of Hibiscus rosasinensis noted a general body weight gain and increases in the weight of the testis, epididymis, seminal vesicle which was weakest with a cold water extract and highest with an alcoholic extract.[5] The authors hinted at direct androgenic effects, and a possible phytoandrogen content.[5]

4Interactions with Organ Systems

4.1. Stomach

At 250-500mg/kg extract weight and in response to carbachol (a cholinergic agent that can induce gastric acid secretion[6]) China Rose was associated with less ulceration secondary to less acid secretion (dose-dependent, but to a small enough degree that both doses were similarly effect) which was thought to be due to anti-cholinergic effects.[1]

4.2. Intestines

China Rose has been found to have calcium channel antagonistic effects (via causing dose-dependent relaxation of potassium-induced contraction), and it showed dose-dependent spasmogenic effects between 1-10mg/mL yet the maximum effect (81.43 + 0.93%) was lower than that of acetylcholine; all of which were antagonized by M3 receptor antagonists (atropine).[2]

Scientific Support & Reference Citations


  1. Mandade RJ, et al. Pharmacological effects of aqueous-ethanolic extract of Hibiscus rosasinensis on volume and acidity of stimulated gastric secretion. Asian Pac J Trop Med. (2011)
  2. Gilani AH, et al. Presence of cholinergic and calcium channel blocking activities explains the traditional use of Hibiscus rosasinensis in constipation and diarrhoea. J Ethnopharmacol. (2005)
  3. Synthesis of Hibescetin.
  4. Venkatesh S, Thilagavathi J, Shyam Sundar D. Anti-diabetic activity of flowers of Hibiscus rosasinensis. Fitoterapia. (2008)
  5. Olagbende-Dada SO, Ezeobika EN, Duru FI. Anabolic effect of Hibiscus rosasinensis Linn. leaf extracts in immature albino male rats. Nig Q J Hosp Med. (2007)
  6. Jan M, et al. Comparison of verapamil and cimetidine for their effects on volume and acidity of Carbachol induced gastric secretion in fasting rabbits. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. (2005)

Cite this page

"Hibiscus rosasinensis," Examine.com, published on 12 July 2013, last updated on 14 June 2018, https://examine.com/supplements/hibiscus-rosasinensis/