Hibiscus cannabinus (Kenaf)

Hibiscus cannabinus
Hibiscus cannabinus

Hibiscus cannabinus is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant in the Malvaceae family also called Kenaf. The name also put on to the fibre obtained from this hibiscus plant species. It is in the genus Hibiscus and is maybe native to southern Asia; however its exact origin is unknown. Hibiscus cannabinusis cultivated for its fiber in United States of America, South Africa, Viet Nam, Thailand, parts of Africa India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, , and to a minor extent in southeast Europe. The stems of Hibiscus cannabinusproduce two types of fiber, a finer fiber in the core and coarser fiber in the outer layer.

It is growing up to1.5-3.5 m tall with a woody base. The flowers are white, yellow, or
purple; when white or yellow, the center is still dark purple and 8–15 cm diameter. The stems are often but not always branched and 1–2 cm diameter. The leaves of Hibiscus cannabinus are 10–15 cm long, variable in shape. The fruit is a capsule and 2 cm diameter. It is containing several seeds.

Pharmacological properties
Moujir et al., 2007 investigated that cytotoxic and antimicrobial activities of six lignans isolated from acetone extract of core of bark of Hibiscus cannabinus. Two compounds are strongly cytotoxic against Hela, Hep-2 and A-549 Cell lines shared moderate activity. Antihyperlipidemic effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Kenaf leaves in high fat diet fed rats has been studied They observed that the extract showed a strong dose dependent anti hyperlipidemic activity and effective in reducing the levels of serum TC, TG, LDl-C and TBARS. (Shivali et al, 2010). Hydroalcoholic extract of Kenaf leaves effectively prevented the liver microvesicular steatosis in hyperlipidemic rats. Essential oil fractions of Hibiscus cannabinusshowed phytotoxic and fungitoxic activities (Moujir et al., 2007 and Mozaina et al,2001 ), Hibiscus cannabinus aqueous extract was found to be haemantically active and anti-oxidative. It also shows hepatoprotective activity against paracetamol and carbon tetrachloride induced liver damages in rats. Leaf extract in 80 % ethanol caused immunomodulatory effects in activated macrophages (Gabriel et al., 2005).


  1. Laila Moujir, Ana M.L. Seca, Artur M.S. Silva, Manuel R. López, Nayely Padilla, José A.S. Cavaleiro, Carlos P. Neto. Cytotoxic activity of lignans from Hibiscus cannabinus. Fitoterapia 78 (2007) 385–387.
  2. Shivali, N. Mahadevan and Pradeep Kamboj. Antihyperlipidemic effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) leaves in high fat diet fed rats. Annals of Biological Research, 2010, 1 (3): 174-181.
  3. Mozaina Kobaisy , Mario R. Tellez , Charles L. Webber , Franck E. Dayan , Kevin K. Schrader , and David E. Wedge. Phytotoxic and Fungitoxic Activities of the Essential Oil of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) Leaves and Its Composition. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2001, 49 (8), pp 3768–3771.
  4. A. Agbor , Julius E. Oben , Blaise Nkegoum , Jean Pierre Takala and Jeanne Y. Ngogang .Hepatoprotective Activity of Hibiscus cannabinus (Linn.) Against Carbon Tetrachloride and Paracetamol Induced Liver Damage in Rats. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 2005: 8 (10) 1397-1401

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