The hibiscus plant is most widely known for its beautiful flowers, but this plant actually offers unique health benefits that have been valued around the world since ancient times. Hibiscus sabdariffa extracts (HSE) are known to have both metabolic-regulating and liver-protecting potential. In February 2014, research was published showing that obese people aged 18 to 65 who consumed hibiscus extract for 12 weeks had some interesting findings.
They had reduced body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat, and waist-to-hip ratio. If that wasn't impressive enough, HSE also lowered serum free fatty acid (FFA), high levels of which are associated with obesity and uncontrolled diabetes.
Additionally, those taking the hibiscus extract also had improvements in liver steatosis (fatty liver), with the researchers concluding the benefits should mainly be attributed to the polyphenols it contains. They stated: HSE could act as an adjuvant for preventing obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver.
It's only the latest study to confirm the anti-obesity effects of hibiscus. In 2007, research similarly showed that hibiscus extract significantly reduced body weight gain in obese mice.