Eighty male albino rats were used to investigate the effects of methanolic calyx extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa on body weight, blood cholesterol and liver enzymes markers. Twenty-eight days oral administration of 100, 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg body weight of the extract showed a significant (p<0.05) time-dependent decrease in the body weights of all the treated groups when compared with the control, with 100 mg/kg causing significant (p<0.05) decrease at weeks 2 and 4, respectively when compared with other treatment doses. The extract significantly (p>0.05) decreased the serum cholesterol and increased the liver marker enzymes (ALP, ALT and AST) in dose-dependent and time-dependent manner, when compared with the control. However, on day 21, the group treated with 400 mg/kg showed a significant (p<0.05) increase the serum cholesterol, and decrease in liver marker enzymes when compared with the rest of the treatment groups. Histopathology from all the treatment groups revealed graded degrees of vacuolar degeneration of the hepatocytes and peri-portal infiltration of mononuclear leucocytes. The results of this present study suggests that the methanolic calyx extract of H. sabdariffa possesses anti-obesity and hypocholesterolemic potentials which should be harnessed with caution due to its tendency to adversely affect the liver.
Key words: Hibiscus sabdariffa, hypocholesterolemia, anti-obesity, liver maker enzymes, Wistar rats.
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