Melochia corchorifolia L.

Last updated: 08 Dec 2016

Scientific Name

Melochia corchorifolia L.


Geruma subtriloba Blanco, Hibiscus donii Walp., Hibiscus endlicheri Walp., Lochemia corchorifolia Arn., Melochia affinis Wall., Melochia burmanni Zoll. & Moritzi, Melochia concatenata L., Melochia erecta Burm. f., Melochia longibracteolata Arènes, Melochia pauciflora Wall., Melochia supina L., Melochia truncata Willd., Mougeotia corchorifolia (L.) Kunth, Polychlaena ramosa G. Don, Polychlaena simplex G. Don, Riedlea capitata Bojer, Riedlea concatenata (L.) DC., Riedlea corchorifolia (L.) DC., Riedlea radiata Blume, Riedlea supina (L.) DC., Riedlea truncata (Willd.) DC., Sida cuneifolia Roxb., Visenia concatenata (L.) Spreng., Visenia corchorifolia (L.) Spreng., Visenia supina (L.) Spreng. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bayam rusa, bunga padang, lemak kepiting, lemak ketam, limah ketam, pulut-pulut [2]
English Chocolateweed, juteleaf melochia, red-weed, redweed, wire bush [2]
China Ma song zi [2]
India Bettada thuttthi, bihar, ceruvuram, chitrabeez, chit-tentakura, cittentakura, chittentha koora, chunch-khapat, dhakna, gangupindi kura, konkaramacukkirai, methurigida, niruren, nolita, paripattiram, pinnakkuk-kirai, pinnakkucceti, pinnukuk kirai, punnakkuppuntu, punnakupoodu, sitha kura, sithantakoora, sitnata kura, thulak, thutthurubenda, tiki-okra, tikiokra, tutturubenda [2]
Indonesia Gendiran, jarring, orang-aring [2]
Thailand Khaang paak put, sa aeng bai mon, seng lek [2]
Sri Lanka Gal kura [2]
Philippines Bankalanan, kalingan [2]
Vietnam Tr[uws]ng cua, v[ai]i gi[aas]y [2]
Gambia Tumarraturo [2]
Senegal Ghud a mbèl, pag hug or, ntogoyo, tias a mbèl [2]
Sierra Leone Ndopa-yenge, ngingili, suri [2]
Tanzania Pombo [2].

Geographical Distributions

Melochia corchorifolia is a weed throughout the tropics and subtropics, including South-East Asia. It originates from the Old World tropics and has been introduced in the Americas. [3]

Botanical Description

M. corchorifolia is a member of the family Malvaceae. This is a perennial herb or partially woody plant up to 130 cm tall, erect or spreading and often widely branched with tough bark. [3]

The leaves are spirally-arranged, simple, triangular or broadly egg-shaped to lance-shaped. The lower leaves are often slightly 3-lobed while its margin is crenate-serrate, 3-veined or 5-veined from the base. Leaflet is hairy on the veins, with green or purplish tinge. The stalk is sparsely hairy to slightly long weak hairs. The stipules are about 5 mm long, present on young twigs. [3]

The inflorescence is arising from the axils or terminal head-like determinate inflorescence and rarely less compact. They are subtended by 1-4 leaves with their stipules forming a kind of ring of many-flowered stalk. [3]

The flowers are with stalk bearing 3-4 hairy long soft hairs bracteoles at apex. Sepals are bell-shaped and about 2.5 mm long, hairy with teeth much shorter than tube. The petals are reverse egg-shaped-spoon-shaped, 4-7 mm long, lilac or white with a yellow spot at the base and withers rapidly. Their stamens are opposite the petals while filaments are connate to midway or more. The anthers are 2-lobed and broad. The ovary is superior, 5-celled, with dense, long soft hairs. Each cell with 1-2 ovules, styles 5 and united at base. [3]

The fruit is small spherical capsule size 3.5-5 mm in diameter that is green, whitish or pink to purplish-black. They are dorsal suture but valves easily dehiscing along the septa of the ovary. Each cell is 1-2-seeded. [3]

The seeds are small and wingless. The endosperm is abundant. Embryo is straight while cotyledons are flattened. Their seedling germinates above the ground. [3]


M. corchorifolia is a common weed in many regions. It thrives in sunny or slightly shaded, usually humid localities, at watersides, in fields, waste places and open forest, up to 700 m altitude in Java. Although it is adapted to xerophytic conditions, M. corchorifolia has retained its ability to grow in mesophytic and hydrophytic habitats. In the Philippines, it is reported as one of the dominant weeds in highland rice fields, together with Echinochloa colona (L.) Link. In Thailand and Indonesia it is also a weed in lowland rice, as well as in soy bean. [3]

Chemical Constituent

Phytochemical study of M. corchorifolia had reported the leaves extract to contain the presence of triterpenes: friedelin, friedelinol and β-amyrin; flavonol glycosides: hibifolin, triflin and melocorin; aliphatic compounds; flavonoids: vitexin and robunin; β-D-sitosterol and its stearate; β-D-glucoside and alkaloids. [4]

Adouetine and a new cyclopeptide alkaloid, melofoline, have been isolated from M. corchorifolia. The latter was characterized from its mass spectrum and hydrolysis products. [5]

A cyclopeptide alkaloid, franganine, and a new pseudooxindole alkaloid, melochirorine, have been isolated from M. corchorfolia. The latter compound was characterized from its spectral data and by acetylation product. [6]

Nutritional content

The proximate analysis of the dried powdered leaves showed the following composition (dry weight content %):

High crude protein content (23.31 ± 2.27%), crude lipid value (13.33 ± 2.89%), low available carbohydrate value (30.03 ± 2.83%), high dietary fibre content (23.33 ±2.89%) and high ash content (10.00 ± 0.10%). The fresh leaves have high moisture content (620.16 ± 6.11 % wet weight) with low energy value (275.66 ± 23.20kcal/100g). [7]

Macro- and microelements play a vital role in human nutrition as they are dietary essential. Mineral analysis showed that the leaves contain a high level of potassium (7.250 ±37.5mg/100g DW), followed by calcium (750.37 ± 0.58mg/100g DW), magnesium (108.33 ± 5.77mg/100g DW) and then phosphorus (101.89 ± 0.08mg/100g DW). Sodium content (94.00 ± 1.15 mg/100g DW) is the lowest among the macroelements determined. Other mineral compositions in mg/100g DW are: Cu (33.50±2.55), Fe (19.91±3.01), Mn (9.68±0.59) and Zn (6.73±0.62). [7]

Plant Part Used

Leaf, root, sap. [8]

Traditional Use

Traditional uses of M. corchorifolia in South-East Asia are only reported for Malaysia. The leaves are used for poulticing sores and swellings of the abdomen, and the sap is applied as an antidote to wounds caused by arrows poisoned with Antiaris toxicaria Lesch. Leaves and roots are used for poulticing in cases of smallpox. A decoction of the leaves and roots are used internally to treat dysentery, and a decoction of the leaves to stop vomiting. A leaf decoction is prescribed in a compound mixture against urinary disorders. A decoction of the plant is applied in folk medicine in India as a cure for abdominal swelling, dysentery and snake bites. In Papua New Guinea, the leaves of an unidentified Melochia species are applied to the forehead to treat headache, and the fruit is eaten. The leaves of M. corchorifolia are sometimes eaten in Indo-China and India. The plant yields a beautifully silvery-white, fine and strong fibre, but in too small quantity to be important. [3]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

The anti-inflammatory activity of M. corchorifolia was tested using carrageenan-induced rat paw edema model and the results were compared with standard drug Indomethacin. Of all extracts, methanol extract of M. corchorifolia possess significant activity compared to other extracts in reducing paw edema inflammation on carrageenan induced rats. The methanol extract at a dose of 500 mg/kg showed more percentage inhibition i.e 53.47±2.19. [9]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing




Figure 1: The line drawing of M. corchorifolia [3].


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Melochia corchorifolia L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 26; cited on 2016 Dec 08]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p.104.
  3. Ysrael MC. Melochia corchorifolia L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 342-344.
  4. PROTA4U. Melochia corchorifolia L. [homepage on the Internet]. [cited on 2016 Dec 8]. Available from:,corchorifolia&p=Melochia+corchorifolia#Synonyms.
  5. Bhakuni RS, Shukla YN, Thakur RS. Cyclopeptide alkaloids from Melochia corchorifolia. Phytochemistry 1987; 26(1):324-325.
  6. Bhakuni RS, Shukla YN, Thakur RS. Melochicorine, a pseudooxindole alkaloid from Melochia corchorifolia. Phytochemistry. 1991; 30 (9): 3159-3160.
  7. Umar KJ, Hassan LG, Dangoggo SM, et al. Nutritional content of Melochia corchorifolia (Linn.) leaves. Int J Biol Chem. 2007; 1 (4): 250-255.
  8. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 134.
  9. Rao TM, Ganga RB, Venkateswaea RY. Anti-inflammatory activity of Melochia corchorifolia. Int J Phytomed Rel Indus. 2016;8(3):260-265.