Sida Cordifolia herb, does it help with weight loss? by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 6 2014

Sida cordifolia is widely used by Ayurvedic doctors. Sida cordifolia has been used for the treatment of inflammation of the oral mucosa, asthmatic bronchitis and nasal congestion. Sida cordifolia is known in Brazil as "malva branca." In recent years this plant has been promoted as a weight loss help.

Sida Cordifolia for weight loss
Sida cordifolia is marketed as a treatment for obesity. Since the ban of Ephedra, sida cordifolia has gained  interest. There is no conclusive human studies reporting its ability to treat obesity.

Sida Cordifolia studies in rats
The cardiovascular activity of the aqueous fraction of the hydroalcoholic extract of Sida cordifolia leaves produce hypotension and bradycardia, mainly due to a direct stimulation of the endothelial vascular muscarinic receptor and indirect cardiac muscarinic activation, respectively.
   Sida Cordifolia apparently is able to relax smooth muscles and cause vasodilation.
   The aqueous extract of Sida cordifolia stimulates liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in rats.
   Some studies show this herb has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fitoterapia. 2008. Preliminary evaluation of anti-pyretic and anti-ulcerogenic activities of Sida cordifolia methanolic extract. The anti-pyretic and anti-ulcerogenic properties of methanolic extract of Sida cordifolia aerial parts (MESC) were investigated in rats. Oral dose of 500 mg/kg MESC significantly reduced pyrexia induced by TAB vaccine. MESC exhibited significant anti-ulcerogenic effect against aspirin and ethanol induced damage. Both these properties were comparable to the reference drugs.

Composition of sida cordifolia
There are many substances in this plant including alkaloids. Cryptolepine is one example of an indoloquinoline alkaloid.

Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. Jan 2014. Phytopharmacological evaluation of ethanol extract of Sida cordifolia L. roots. To investigate the phytochemical screening (group determination) and selected pharmacological activities (antioxidant, antimicrobial and analgesic activity) of the plant Sida cordifolia Linn (S. cordifolia). Eighty percent concentrated ethanol extract of the roots was used. To identify the chemical constituents of plant extract standard procedures were followed. In phytochemical screening the crude extract was tested for the presence of different chemical groups like reducing sugar, tannins, saponins, steroids, flavonoids, gums, alkaloids and glycosides. The antioxidant property of ethanolic extract of S. cordifolia was assessed by DPPH free radical scavenging activity. Analgesic activity of the extract was tested using the model of acetic acid induced writhing in mice. Diclofenac sodium is used as reference standard drug for the analgesic activity test. Antibacterial activity of plant extract was carried out using disc diffusion method with five pathogenic bacteria comparison with kanamycin as a standard. Phytochemical analysis of the ethanolic extract of the roots of S. cordifolia indicated the presence of reducing sugar, alkaloids, steroids and saponins.

Q. I am a vitamin store manager and was recently emailed a marketing promotion of this herb that said, "Sida cordifolia is used in Ayurvedic practices. Since the ban of Ephedra Sinica noted for hepatotoxic activity, Sida Cordifolida has gained a great deal of interest. Although there is no clear science reporting its ability to treat obesity, It is conclusive that Sida Cordifolia has hypoglycemic and appetite suppressant activity similar to Ephedra Sinica. The difference to focus on, is that animal studies actually report a liver protective effect of Sida Cordifolia, in contrast with Ephedra Sinica, which is reported to be hepatotoxic." What are your thoughts on this?
   A. As of 2014, I could not find any human studies with sida cordifolia regarding weight loss.