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Sida Cordifolia



What is Sida Cordifolia?  Sida Cordifolia is a plant native to Northeast Brazil.  It has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of inflammation, asthma, bronchitis, and nasal congestion.  Research suggest that it has hypoglycaemic (blood lowering properties), anti-inflammatory, and analgesic (pain relieving properties) properties. Because the leaves of Sida cordifolia contain small amounts of both ephedrine and pseudoephedrine many nutritional companies have included it as a weight loss product. 


Who might benefit from Sida Cordifolia?  Sida cordifolia could be of benefit to people looking to loose weight, and reduce inflammation.


Summary of Sida Cordifolia's physiological effects:

  • It has a depressant rather than a stimulant effect on the Central Nervous System

  • Decreases both blood pressure and heart rate

  • Has a hypoglycaemic (blood sugar lowering effect)

  • No evidence to support it's use as a weight loss supplement

  • Increases pain tolerance

  • Has an anti-inflammatory effect

  • Possible antioxidant effect


What does research say about Sida Cordifolia?   Research has shown that Sida cordifolia leaves contain small quantities of both ephedrine and pseudoephidrine (Ghosal et al., 1975).  However, the quantities are low, with less than 2% of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine found in the leaves of Sida cordifolia.  Ephedrine is known to stimulate the central nervous system (CNS), and as such can enhance weight loss.  Traditionally nutrition companies used plants such as Ma-Huang (Ephedra plant), because it contained relatively large amounts of ephedrine, in their weight loss products.  However, since this product was banned in many countries including the USA and UK, they are now looking for alternatives.  Sida cordifolia, with its ephedrine and pseudoephedrine has gained a lot of interest and is now sold by many of these companies.  Some of these companies promote Sida cordifolia as a weight loss product by claiming that it stimulates the CNS. 

Unfortunately, there is no research in human or animal studies, to support its use as a CNS stimulator.  In fact, research shows that rather than being a stimulant, Sida cordifolia actually acts as a depressant and decreases CNS activity (Franco et al., 2005).  The mice used in this study showed a decreased response to touch as well as a reduction in nerve activity.  Additional research appears to confirm that Sida cordifolia does not stimulate the CNS (Medeiros et al., 2005).  In this study the oral consumption of Sida cordifolia by rats actually caused a decrease in both heart rate and blood pressure.  If it was having a stimulatory effect we would see both heart rate and blood pressure increase.  Since Sida cordifolia fails to increase CNS activity, as claimed by some companies, it cannot promote fat loss through CNS stimulation. 

The only support of Sida cordifolia as a weight loss product is through its hypoglycaemic (blood sugar lowering) activity.  Research studies have shown that it possesses a significant blood-sugar lowering activity (Chopra et al., 1956; Kanth and Diwan, 1999) and therefore may help to reduce the storage of fat with fat cells.  

Research has also demonstrated that Sida cordifolia can increase pain tolerance (Kanth and Diwan, 1999; Franzotti et al., 2000).  When rats were exposed to heat, rats that consumed Sida cordifolia had a greater heat tolerance (Franzotti et al., 2000). It also appears to have anti-inflammatory properties (Kanth and Diwan, 1999; Franzotti et al., 2000) and may be effective as an antioxidant (Auddy et al., 2003). 

Animal studies appear to show that it has a low toxicity (Franzotti et al., 2000; Auddy et al., 2003; Franco et al., 2005) although this needs to be confirmed in humans.


Is Sida Cordifolia effective?  There is, at present, no evidence to support the use of Sida cordifolia as a weight loss product in humans.


How should I take Sida cordifolia?  Due to lack of research there is no evidence to support the use of Sida cordifolia.  There is also no research on an effective dose level for Sida cordifolia. 



Auddy, B., Ferreira, M., Blasina, F., Lafon, L., Arredondo, F., Dajas, F., Tripathi, P. C., Seal, T. and Mukherjee, B. (2003) Screening of antioxidant activity of three Indian medicinal plants, traditionally used for management of neurodegenerative diseases. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 84, 131-138. 

Franco, C. I. F., Morais, L. C. S. L., Quintans-Junior, L. J., Almeida, R. N. and Antoniolli, A. R. (2005) CNS pharmacological effects of the hydroalcoholic extract of Sida cordifolia L. leaves. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 98, 275-279. 

Franzotti, E. M., Santos, C. V. F., Rodrigues, H. M. S. L., Mourao, R. H. V., Andrade, A. R. and Antoniolli, A. R. (2000) Anti-inflammatory, analgesic activity and acute toxicity of Sida cordifolia L. (Malva-branca). Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 72, 273-278. 

Ghosal, S., Chauhan, R. R. P. S. and Mehta, R. (1975) Alkaloids of Sida cordifolia. Phytherapy Chemistry. 14, 830-832. 

Kanth, V. R. and Diwan, P. V. (1999) Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic activities of Sida cordifolia. Phytopherapy Research. 13 (1), 75-7. 

Mediros, I. A., Santos, M. R. V., Nascimento, N. M. S. and Duarte, J. C. (2005) Cardiovascular effects of Sida cordifolia leaves extract in rats. Fitoterapia. ARTICLE IN PRESS.

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Last modified: 01/05/06