Extract of the calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn. (HS) (Malvaceae) has been reported to decrease fluid and food intake in lactating rats through a mechanism not yet fully understood. It has also been reported that rat pups undernourished during lactation have delayed puberty onset, suggesting a link between nutrition and onset of puberty. There is paucity of data addressing the effect of maternal consumption of HS during lactation on the onset of puberty in the female offspring. The present study was designed to investigate whether consumption of HS during lactation will affect the onset of puberty and to examine the possible mechanism underlying this. Lactating Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly grouped into three on postnatal day one. One group had tap water (control); another had 0.6 g aqueous HS extract/100 mL, while the third had 1.8 g aqueous HS extract/100 mL as their drinking solution throughout lactation. Maternal fluid consumption, food consumption, weight gain, plasma Na(+) and corticosterone concentrations were determined. Offspring weights were recorded at 0, 21, 28, 35, and 42 days. Ages at onset of puberty and body weights were also recorded. A decreased maternal fluid and food intake and an increased maternal plasma Na(+) and corticosterone concentration were observed in HS dams. The HS treated female offspring showed delayed onset of puberty. The accelerated growth and delayed puberty in the HS offspring may be through increased corticosterone and decreased leptin delivery through breast milk.
Pharmaceutical Biology 10/2010; 48(10):1170-6. DOI:10.3109/13880200903567120