Corchorus capsularis L.

Last updated: 9 Jun 2016

Scientific Name

Corchorus capsularis L.


Corchorus cordifolius Salisb., Corchorus marua Buch.-Ham. [Invalid] [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Jelita, kanching baju, senerong betina [2], pokok betong [3]
English White jute, deshi jute [2], jute [3], juteplant, white jute, nalta jute, tossa jute [5]
India Banpat, cancu, chaunchan, chiench, chinchala gida, choche, dhalaa jhota, janascha, janumu, jut, jute, kalasaka, beeja, kulichi bhaaji, kurru chantz, nadibhanga, nadika, nalita, narcha, naruvalli, pat, pata, pita nalitaa, sanabu, singhin, titamara [4]
Indonesia Serani (Aceh); silangkang (Padang Sidempuan); ganja cina (Moluccas) [2]
Thailand Seng, po seng (Northern); pak kom [2], paw kachao [3]
Philippines Pasau-na-bilog (Tagalog); tagabang (Bisaya) [2]; lumhai, panigbin, saluyot, sumpa [4]
Cambodia Dok kah pha, krachav [2]
Vietnam Day qu[ar] tr[of]n [2]
France Chanvre de Calcutta [2].

Geographical Distributions

The centre origin of Corchorus capsularis is the Indo-Burman region, including southern China and Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia cultivation as a fibre plant mainly occurs in Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and Vietnam. [2]

Botanical Description

C. capsularis is a member of the Malvaceae family. It is an annual erect herbaceous plant measures 1-2.5 m tall (up to 4 m in cultivation). The base is often becoming woody with smooth branching near the top. The branchlets are cylindrical. [2]

The leaves are with linear-ovate stipules sized 0.5-1 cm long. The leaf stalk is 0.5-3 cm long and covered with soft short hairs at above. The 5-14 cm x 1-6 cm blade is narrowly egg-shaped to elliptical. Its base is round. The margin is with 2 lower teeth prolonged into fine pointed auricles up to 1 cm long. The apex is acuminate, smooth above and minutely papillose below. [2]

The inflorescences are lateral, solitary at nodes, 2-3-flowered. The inflorescence stalk is 1-2 mm long while its pedicel is 0.5-1.5 mm long and erect in fruit. There are 5 sepals that linear-obovate and 3-4 mm x 1-1.5 mm in size, hooded while the apex ends abruptly in a short point. The petals are 5, obovate, 4-4.5 mm x 2.5 mm and the claw is 1 mm long. The stamens are 20-25 while the filaments are 2.5-3 mm long. The ovary is obovoid. It is 10-celled with 10 ovules per cell. The style is 1-1.5 mm long and stigma is 5-toothed. [2]

The fruits are depressed spherical and 1-1.5 cm in diametre, longitudinally grooved, coarsely warty, 10-valvate and with 35-50 seeds. The seeds are rhomboid to obovoid, about 2-3 mm long and dark brown. [2]


Young C. capsularis seedlings can withstand drought better. C. capsularis is tolerant of fairly saline soils (maximum 1% salt content). Sandy soils increase the risk of wilting of young crops in the case of late starting monsoon rains. Most C. capsularis is grown on soils of alluvial origin, especially those of riverbanks that are inundated every year and enriched by deposits of silt. In Southeast Asia C. capsularis grows wild in open grassland, waste places, arable land and along watercourses, up to 300 m altitude. [2]

Chemical Constituent

C. capsularis has been reported to contain capsin, a glycoside, which is responsible for the major bitter taste of the leaves of C. capsularis.  Another glycoside (capsugenin-30-O-β-glucopyranoside) was also isolated from the leaves of C. capsularis [6]. The capsin was identified as the 3-glucoside of 20, 24-epoxy-3β, 12β, 25, 30-tetrahydroxydammarane [7].

The leaf of C. capsularis has been reported to contain flavonoids, saponins, tannins, steroids and triterpenes [8]. It is also rich in vitamin, carotenoid, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber.  C. capsularis leaves contain two functional compounds; phytol (3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecen-1-ol) and monogalactosyldiacylglycerol(1,2-di-O-α-linolenoyl-3-O-β-D- galactopyranosyl-sn-glycerol) [5].

The polysaccharides and lignin (estimated as klason lignin) were the major constituents in bark, stem and fibre of the C. capsularis. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, six low-molecular weight sugar alcohols (glycerol, erythreitol, threitol, rhamnitol, arabinitol, and mannitol), and two inositols (myo-inositol and scyllitol) were identified and quantified in the bark; all these compounds, except rhamnitol were also measured in the stick.  Cellulose, xylans and pectins were the major polysaccharide constituents which were produced during fibre production by the retting process. [9]

The bark and the stem of unretted C. capsularis were found to contain various free, glycosidic and ester-linked phenolic acids. About 80% of the aqueous ethanol extract contained p-coumaric (major component), ferulic, caffeic, vanillic and p-hydroxybenzoic acids. The ferulic and p-coumaric acids were the main components of phenolic acid in fresh and retted bark. p-hydroxybenzoic, protocatechuic, vanillic and caffeic acids were present in varying amounts in different C. capsularis fractions. [10]

The acid components of the seed fats of C. capsularis consist of palmitic,stearic, arachidic, behenic, lignoceric, cerotic, oleic, linolenic and C20 mono-ethenoid fatty acids.  The components of the fatty acids were 20% saturated acids, 37% oleic acid and 43% linoleic acid. [11]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, seeds and fruits [8][12]

Traditional Use

The leaves of C. capsularis have been claimed to possess stimulant, demulcent, laxative, appetizer and stomachic effects.  The infusion of the leaves is traditionally used to treat fever, constipation, dysentery, liver disorders and dyspepsia. In Japan, the young leaves were used as a substitute for coffee or tea and were regard as a health food. [12]

A decoction of the unripe fruits or roots was used to treat dysentery. [8]

Preclinical Data


Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity

The chloroform extract of C. capsularis leaves was investigated for antinociceptive activity using acetic acid-induced abdominal constriction and hot plate tests in male Balb-C mice and the formalin tests in rats. The extract was given 30 minutes prior to subjection to acetic acid-induced abdominal constriction and the hot plate tests.  All concentrations used (10, 50 and 100% strength) showed significant reductions in the number of abdominal constrictions when compared to the control.  The effective antinociceptive activity was seen at 100 mg/kg of the chloroform extract when compared to acetylsalicyclic acid (100 mg/kg).  The thermally induced noniceptive peripheral stimulus in male Balb-C mice using the hot plate test at 50°C showed a significant concentration-independent antinociceptive activity in the chloroform extract of C. capsularis leaves.  This activity was observed 30 min after the extract administration compared to morphine (5 mg/kg) which showed significant activity after 1 hour of its administration. These findings revealed the extract’s effectiveness in inhibiting chemically and thermally-induced nociception. [8]

In the formalin test in rats, the chloroform extract of C. capsularis leaves was given 30 minutes prior to formalin injection.  The extract exhibited significant antinociceptive activity at the early phase of nociception, indicating a neurogenic type of pain response, and also at the late phase of nociception, indicating an inflammatory type of pain response. [8]

The anti-inflammatory profile of the chloroform extract of C. capsularis leaves was measured using carrageenan-induced paw edema test in rats.  The extract at all concentrations (20, 50 and 100 mg/kg) caused a significant decrease in the thickness of edematous paw for the first 6 hours compared to the control.  The activity diminished in the last 2 hours of the experimental time compared to the control group.  The positive reference compound used was acetylsalicyclic acid (100 mg/kg) which produced significant anti-inflammatory activity.  This test revealed the ability of the extract to block the inflammatory phase of the formalin test, which confirmed the folkloric use of C. capsularis as a demulcent. [8]

Based on all of these findings, the chloroform extract of C. capsularis, possessed antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities which confirmed the traditional claims of using C. capsularis to treat various ailments related to inflammation and pain. [8]

Antitumor promoting activity

Two active components of C. capsularis were identified. These components showed activity against tumor promoter-induced Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) activation in Raji cells.  They were isolated from the fresh leaves of C. capsularis.  The active components were colorless oils and were identified as phytol (3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecen-1-ol) and monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (1,2-di-O-α-linolenoyl-3-O-β-D-galactopyranosyl-sn-glycerol). [5]

The antitumor-promoting activity was examined by an immunoblotting analysis using a mouse antiserum against EBV producer P3HR-1 cells. Phytol and monogalactosyldiacylglycerol completely inhibited the induction of EBV early antigen at concentrations of 15 µg/mL (50.7 µM) and 30 µg/mL (38.8 µM), respectively. However insufficient inhibitory effects were shown by both compounds at concentrations of 10 µg/mL and 25 µg/mL, respectively. [5]

This study also revealed that both components increased gradually with an increasing in the period of treatment with hot water, indicating that the components were not easily decomposed by high temperature. These findings suggest that treatment of vegetables with hot water effectively increased the amount of active components with activity against tumor-promoting chemicals that may be consumed together with food. [5]


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Clinical Data

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Poisonous Management

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  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Corchorus capsularis L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Jun 9]. Available from: M, Escobin RP, editors.
  2. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 17: Fibre plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers; 2003.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 215.
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 416-417.
  5. Furumoto T, Wang R, Okazaki K. Antitumor promoters in leaves of jute. (Corchorus capsularis, Corchorus olitorius). Food Sci Technol Res. 2002;8(3):239-243.
  6. Quader MA, Ahmed M, Hasan CM. Capsugenin-30-O-p -glucopyranoside: A new glycoside from the leaves of Corchorus capsularis. J Nat Prod.1987;50(3):479-481.
  7. Hasan CM, Islam A, Ahmed M.  Capsugenin, a dammarane triterpene from Corchorus capsularis. Phytochemistry. 1984;23(11):2283-2587.
  8. Zainul AZ, Sulaiman MR, Gopalan HK. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties of Corchorus capsularis leaves chloroform extract in experimental animal models. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2007;127(2):359-365.
  9. Mosihuzzamana M, Theander O, Amanb P. Analysis of carbohydrates in the jute plant (Corchorus capsularis. J Sci Food Agric. 1982;33(12):1207-1212.
  10. Mosihuzzaman M, Chowdhury TA, Mollah AH, Theander O, Lundgren LN. Phenolic acids in the jute plant (Corchorus capsularis). J Sci Food Agric. 1986;37(10):955-960.  
  11. Meara M L, Sen NK. The component fatty acids ad glycerides of jute-seed oils. J Sci Food Agric. 1952;3(5):237-240.
  12. Plants for A Future. Corchorus olitorius L. [homepage on the Internet]. c1996-2012 [cited 2016 Dec 01]. Available from: