Unconventional food plants (UFPs) were described by the biologist Valderly Kinupp as native or exotic edible plants that can be found in backyards, flowerbeds and vacant lots. In Brazil, it is estimated that at least 10% of the native flora is food, totaling an average of 5,000 species. In addition, they are classified as functional foods, as they are rich sources of essential vitamins, antioxidants, fibers and minerals. Among the most popular UFPs, we can highlight the Hibiscus sabdariffa L., a plant species of the Malvaceae family, popularly known as hibiscus that, historically, was brought to Brazil by slaves from East Africa. Currently, it is a UFP cultivated on a large scale due to the increase in its consumption worldwide. In African and Asian countries, the Hibiscus sabdariffa L. flower is popularly used to combat hypertension, inflammation, liver disorders, kidney stones, hypercholesterolemia, antifungal, antibacterial and even for the preventive treatment of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, Hibiscus sabdariffa L. has a high concentration of flavonoid antioxidants (mainly anthocyanins) and vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that the consumption of anthocyanins has a hepatoprotective effect against oxidative stress, in addition to preventing other diseases caused by metabolic syndromes and decreasing hyperglycemia. Some scientific studies carried out in the last decade on the therapeutic properties of hibiscus show its ability to decrease the concentration of systemic LDL by about 18% after 90 days of regular consumption of H. sabdariffa L. extract. Another study observed that the consumption of an infusion of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. over nine weeks, led rats to have a 10% lower weight gain compared to the group that did not consume the infusion. This study also observed a lower absorption of starches and sucrose in the groups that consumed the hibiscus infusion. Studies of the interaction of hibiscus extract with the lipid bilayer of the plasma membrane are scarce in the literature, therefore, this work has as main objective to study the interaction of the extract of H. sabdariffa L.com lipid vesicles as mimetic models of the membrane.
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