Melastoma malabathricum L.

Last updated: 08 December 2014

Scientific Name

Melastoma malabathricum L.


Melastoma affine D. Don, Melastoma candidum D. Don, Melastoma cavaleriei H. Lév. & Vaniot, Melastoma esquirolii H. Lév., Melastoma normale D. Don, Melastoma polyanthum Blume [1]

Vernacular Name


Malaysia Senduduk, sekedudok, sikadudok, kendudok, kedudok, sedudok, (Malay); lingangadi (Murut); gosing-gosing, gagabang, ngongodo, gata-gata (Kadazan Dusun) [2][3][4]
English Singapore rhododendron, Indian-rhododendron, malabar melastome [4][5]
China Ye Mu Dan [6]
India Shapti (Hindi); bobuchunmei, rongmei (Manipuri); rindha, palore (Marathi); palore (Malayalam); nekkarike (Telugu); ankerki, kinkerika (Kannada); gongoi, koroti (Oriya); myetpyai (Konkani); phutuki, phutkala (Assamese) [5]
Indonesia  Harendong (Sunda); senggani, kemanden, kluruk (Jawa); kendudu, pucuk kendudu (Riau) [4][7]
Thailand Khlong khleng, khlongkhleng khee nok, mang khre, mang re, re, bre, kadu-da, chuk naaree [3][8]
Vietnam Mua da hung, mua Se [3]
Philippines  Malatungau (Ibanag); bubtoi (Sambali); yagomyum (Cebu Bisaya) [3]
Sri Lanka  Bowitiya, mahabowitiya, katakaloowa [3]
Palau Matakul [9]
Nepal Diklak, gabrasai (Chepang); koilar (Danuwar); anguri, tun kaphal (Gurung); angeri, kali angeri, thulo chulesi (Nepali); chulesi (Satar); lemlang (Tamang) [10]
Bangladesh Koiam-pay-bang (Bandarban); kakkhu (Netrakona); aksio (Chittaggong) [4].

Geographical Distributions

Melastoma malabathricum is distributed from the Indian Ocean Islands throughout South and Southeast Asia, China, Taiwan, Australia and South Pacific Ocean [4]. This plant can be found in previously cleared land, roadsides [11], on fallow land, or in grasslands from sea-level up to 3000 m altitude [4].

Botanical Description

M. malabathricum is a plant from the family Melastomataceae. It is a shrub or small tree measuring from 0.5 m up to 5 m tall with young four-angled branches covered with appressed, spreading or erect bristles. The bark is brown, old branches are cylindrical, smooth and hairless. [6][11]

The leaf is elliptic to lanceolate in shape, 4 cm-14 cm x 1.7 cm ­­- 3.5(-6) in dimension, the abaxial and adaxial densely strigose, entire margin, the base of the leaf rounded to acute, and acuminate apex. [6][11]

The inflorescence is terminal, subcapitate corymbose, 3-12 flowered; the flower is usually 5-merous, 2 leaf-like bracts present at the base of the flower, the hypanthium bell-shaped measuring 5-11 mm x 1-10 mm covered with long golden to red scales, fimbriate margin. The pedicel strigose measures 2-8(-10) mm. The sepal lanceolate, acuminate apex, the margin is squamosely strigose and pubescent. The petals obovate, 15-35 mm x 10-22 mm in dimension, rounded apex, ciliated margin, violet in colour. The stamens have two forms; the anther of the longer stamens with connective extended at the base, filaments 6-12 mm long, violet in colour. The anther of the shorter stamen 2-tuberculate at the base, connective not extended, filaments 5.5-9.5 mm, yellow in colour. The ovary is shorter than hypanthium and surrounded by bristles. [6][11]   

The fruit is pitcher-like to globular in shape, 6-15 mm x 6-12 mm, fleshy, densely strigose and opening irregularly transverse when matured, exposing its soft dark blue pulp with orange seed. [6][11]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

Methanol extract of M. malabathricum leaves has been reported to contain tannins (e.g. malabathrins B, malabathrins C, malabathrins D, nobotanin D, nobotanin B (dimer), nobotanin G (dimer), nobotanin H (dimer), nobotanin J (trimer), pterocarinin C, strictinin, casuarictin, pedunculagin, 1,4,6-tri-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose, and 1,2,4,6-tetra-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose) and a flavonoid glycoside (e.g. isoquercitrin 6”-O-gallate). [12]

Ethyl acetate and methanol extract of M. malabathricum flowers has been reported to contain flavonoids (e.g. ethyl acetate: naringenin, kaempferol and kaempferol-3-O-d-glucoside; methanol: kaempferol-3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-p-trans-coumaroyl)glucoside and kaempferol-3-O-d-glucoside). [13]

Chloroform fraction from aqueous methanol extract of M. malabathricum fresh leaves has been reported to contain pentacyclic triterpene (e.g. ursolic acid, asiatic acid, and 2α-hydroxyursolic acid), steroidal glycoside (e.g. β-sitosterol 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside), and glycolipid (e.g. glycerol 1,2-dilinolenyl-3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside). [14]

Ethyl acetate fraction from aqueous methanol extract of M. malabathricum flowers has been reported to contain flavonoids (e.g. kaempferol, kaempferol 3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-(2”,6”-di-O-E-p-coumaryl)-β-D-galactopyranoside, and quercetin) and a phenol (e.g. ellagic acid). [14]

The leaves of M. malabathricum have been reported to contain amino acids (e.g. glycine, leucine, valine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, methionine, tyrosine, isoleucine, and hydroxyproline). [15]

M. malabathricum has also been reported to contain other pentacyclic triterpenes (e.g. α-amyrin, betulinic acid) and flavonoid (e.g. quercitrin). [16]

Plant Part Used

Shoots, leaves, flowers, barks, and roots. [3][4]

Traditional Use

The shoots can be ingested to treat puerperal infections, high blood pressure, and diabetes [17][18] while the shoots juice can also be used as a mouthwash to relieve a toothache or to treat leucorrhoea. In addition, the bark was reported to treat skin diseases. [4]

The leaves are considered antiseptic and are used to clean wounds and cuts. It is applied over smallpox to prevent the development of pox marks [13]. M. malabathricum leaves are used to treat allergic reaction to caterpillars by applying the pounded leaves over the lesions. It is also used to treat keloid and acne [18]. In Fiji the people chew the leaves to relieve oral thrush [17]. The leaves of M. malabathricum are believed to rejuvenate women immediately after delivery through decoction with other plants [19]. The juice of mature leaves is considered to have the ability to heal internal injuries and is given to women after delivery for the same purpose. To treat leucorrhoea a decoction of the leaves together with ginger, sugar and Zingiber cassumunar is given [4].

The Kadazan Dusun, an ethnic group indigenous to the state of Sabah in Malaysia made use of the purple flowers to reduce scars from wounds. The root decoction is a remedy for measles. They also make tea from the flowers to treat stomachache. [20]

Decoction of the roots is a mouthwash for relieving toothache [21]. The roots decoction taken three times a day can treat haemorrhoids [18]. The roots also can be applied to wounds and pox scars to aid the healing process [19], to treat epilepsy [18][22]. The decoction of the roots is used to treat diarrhoea [23]. In addition, the roots’ liquid can be applied to lessen the soreness due to thrush in children [17][18]. Amongst the community in Sabah the roots are given to women after delivery as an aid to healing, strengthening the womb and also to relieve rheumatism, arthritis and tenderness in the legs [2][17][18].

Preclinical data


Antinociceptive activity 

Aqueous extracts of M. malabathricum leaves administered subcutaneously 30 min prior to subjection to the abdominal constriction, hot-plate, and formalin induced nociceptive effects on animal models showed significant (P < 0.05) antinociceptive activity in dose independent manner. [24]

Ethanol extracts of M. malabathricum leaves showed superior antinociceptive activity with significant dose dependent increased in the response latency period to thermal stimuli using hot-plate test. It was reported that naloxane (nonselective opioid receptor antagonist) blocked the anticociceptive effect of the extract in abdominal writhing test and hot-plate test suggesting that the extracts may act both peripherally and centrally. [25]

Antipyretic activity 

Aqueous extracts of M. malabathricum leaves administered subcutaneously 30 min prior to subjection to the brewer’s yeast-induced pyrexia tests on animal models showed significant (p < 0.05) antipyretic activity in concentration-independent manner [24].

Anti-inflammatory activity 

Aqueous extracts of M. malabathricum leaves administered subcutaneously 30 min prior to subjection to the carrageenan-induced paw edema on animal models showed significant (p < 0.05) anti-inflammatory activity in concentration-independent manner [24].

M. malabathricum leaves also showed anti-inflammatory activity with strong inhibition (more than 90 percent) in the tetradecanoylphorbal acetate (TPA)-induced ear oedema test at a dose of 2 mg per ear compared to 11 Malaysian medicinal plant species examined for their anti-inflammatory activities. [26]

Antimicrobial activity 


Methanol extracts of M. malabathricum showed moderate antiviral activities against herpes simplex virus-1 and significant activity on poliovirus with 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50) > 1000 μg/mL and 1000 μg/mL, respectively while the cytotoxicity activity was reported against murine and human cancer lines 3LL, L1210, K562, U251, DU145, MCF-7 with IC50 19, 21, 67, 30, 133, and > 400 mg/mL. [27]


Methanol extract of M. malabathricum inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and six clinical isolates of Methicilin Resistant Stapyhlococcus aureus (MRSA 1-6) with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was 1.565 mg/mL and the minimum bacteriocidal concentration (MBC) was 3.125 mg/mL. The molecular and proteomic analysis showed that the inhibition of MRSA growth was probably through the inhibition of DNA synthesis, peptidoglycan production, and nuclease production. [28]  

Cytotoxic activity 

Flavonoids (naringenin and kaempferol-3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-p-trans-coumaroyl) glucoside) isolated from M. malabathricum flowers showed active inhibition on cell proliferation of breast cancer line (MCF7) with IC50 values of 0.28 μM and 1.3 μM, respectively. [13]

Methanol extracts of M. malabathricum showed cytotoxic activities on against murine and human cancer lines 3LL, L1210, K562, U251, DU145, MCF-7 with IC50 19, 21, 67, 30, 133, and > 400 mg/m, respectively. [27]

Antioxidant activity 

Naringenin, kaempferol, kaempferol-3-O-d-glucoside, kaempferol-3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-p-trans-coumaroyl) glucoside isolated from the ethyl acetate and methanol extracts of M. malabathricum flowers were found to be active as radical-scavengers with IC50 values of 0.52 mm, 81.5 μm, 1.07 mm, 35.8 μM, 7.21 μg/mL and 6.59 μg/mL, respectively. [13]

Antiplatelet activating factor activity

α-amyrin, betulinic acid, and natural flavonoids (quercetin and quercitrin) isolated from M. malabathricum administered to platelet activating factor (PAF)-induced inflammation in rabbits showed inhibiting activities on the PAF receptor binding with IC50 values of 33.0, 45.4, 20.0, and 22.2 µM, respectively comparable to a known PAF receptor antagonist, Cedrol with IC50 13.1 µM. [16]

Gastroprotective activity

Aqueous extract of M. malabathricum leaves (250, 500 mg/kg) administered orally 60 minutes before ethanol-induced gastric mucosal injuries in adult Sprague Dawley rats showed gastroprotective activity by significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the gastric mucosal damage at dose-dependent manner (250 mg/kg: 75.15% inhibition, 500: 91.72%) comparable to 20 mg/kg standard omeprazole (96.45% inhibition). [29]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Side effects

No documentation.

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

A study for natural compounds useful against anti-inflammatory activity, inhibitory effects of α-amyrin, betulinic acid and isolated flavonoids (including quercetin and quercitrin), were assessed in vitro. Results from this study that show the presence of anti-platelet activating factor (PAF) in extracts of M. malabathricum warrants some caution for patients on anticoagulant therapy. Natural flavonoid and pentacyclic triterpenes from M. malabathricum possess selective antagonistic activity toward PAF and could be an attractive candidate as a natural anti-inflammatory compound. [16]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.


No documentation.

Case Report

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The inflorescence of M. malabathricum L. [11]


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