Abutilon Indicum

Botanical Name: Abutilon indicum

Sanskrit Name: AtiBala

Family Name: Malvaceae


Vernacular names :

  1. Hindi – kangi
  2. Kannada –srimudrigida
  3. Malayalam –jhonkaped
  4. Tamil –perumkutti, ponnaithutti


Risyaprokta, Kankatika, Balika, Risyagandha,   Bhliribala

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka: madhuraskandha, balya


Atibala is quoted in the AtharvaParisista (5/1/4-5& 5/1/1-3) along   with Bala   and other   drugs   for rituals. Charakadescribed it among   the Balya group of drugs whereas Charakapani considered it as Pitabala (yellow variety).

Atibala is extensively quoted in the Nighantugranthas   in the context of Balachatustaya(four varieties   of Bala). Susruta   quoted Atibalaamong Madhuradravyas while Caraka did not describe it under Madhuraskandha.

Controversial Studies

Another speciesA.theophrastiiMdic. (A. avicennaeGaertn) is also used by some as Atibalabecause of their similarity in   appearance

Varieties :

Bala andAtibala are together known as Baladvaya. ‘Baladvaya’   along with Nagabala and Mahabala may be called as ‘Balatraya’ and ‘Balachatuska’   respectively.

The plant is variable and is divided into subsp. Indicumsyn. A. indicum (Linn.) Sweet including var. populifolium (Lam.) Wight&Arn. ex Mast.; A. asiaticum Wight&Arn., nop'(Linn.) Sweet; Mast. (Fl Br Ind) in part; subsp. albescens(Miq.) Borssum var. australienseHochr. syn. A. graveo[ens Britten, non (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Wight &Arn.ex Wight, a new record for India from Andhra Pradesh; and   subsp.   guineense (Schumach.) Borssum   syn.   A. asiaticum (Linn.) Sweet; Mast.(Fl Br Ind) in part. These subspecies are not distinguished for economic purposes (Borssum, loc. cit.; Chandrabose, Bull bot Surv India,

1970, 12, 276).

Botanical details

It is a perennial softly tomentose shrub, upto 3mhigh.

Stem-round, frequently tinged with purple.

Leaves – ovate toorbicular-cordate, 1.9-2.5 cm. long.

Flowers – Solitary on jointed   peduncles,   orange-yellow or yellow.     Capsules   hispid,   hardly   larger than the calyx,   arms erect.

Seeds – 3-5, reniform, tubercled or minutely stellate-hairy, black or dark brown. (Flowers and fruits almost throughout the year)

A herbaceous or shrubby, softly tomentose perennial, up to 3 m in height, abundantly found as a weed in the sub-Himalayan tract and other hills, up to 1,200 m, and in the hotter parts of India. Stems round, often tinged with purple; leaves ovate to orbicular-cordate; flowers yellowor orange-yellow, solitary, on jointed peduncles, often forming a panicle-like terminal inflorescence due to reduction in leaves; fruits hispid, scarcely longer than calyx, awns erect; seeds three to five, kidney-shaped, dark brown or black, tubercled or minutely stellate-hairy.


Found as a weed in the sub-Himalayan tract and hills upto 1,200m and in hotter parts of India.

Chemical constituents

Hescoses, n-alkane mixtures, alkanols, beta sitosterol, vanillic, p-coumaric, caffeic, fumaric& amino acids; alantolactone, isoalantolactone etc.


Rasa –madhura

Guna –laghu, snigdha

Virya – sita

Vipaka –madhura

Karma –vata- pitta, prameha, raktapitta, kshaya


Vatavyadhi, prameha, raktapitta, kshaya

Part used –root


Decoction 50-100ml , powder – 3-6g

Therapeutic uses

  1. Slipada- Bala and Atibala   are taken with milk early   in the morning.
  2. Mutrakricchra- Decoction of Atibala will be useful (C.D.& B. P.)
  3. RaktaPradara- Root powder of Atibala is given   with sugar & honey (B.P.)

Country Mallow is used as a drug in both Ayurvedic and Unani systems. The drug is available as dried whole plant. It is collected after the rainy season when in fruit, and c 7.4 tonnes are annually collected in India. The drug is reported to be useful as a febrifuge, anthelmintic, anti inflammatory, and in urinary and uterine discharges, piles and lumbago. The juice of the plant is applied as an emollient to relieve soreness of the nates in young children. An ethanolic extract of the plant showed anti cancer and hypothermic activity, and affected the central nervous   system in mice. The bark is astringent and diuretic.

Preparations – Atibalarasayana

Fibre from Atiballa

The fibre is extracted from the green plants at the time of flowering and fruiting. The leaves and   roots   are sheared, the stems are bundled and retted in water for six to eight days; the time for retting depends upon the season and maturity of stems. The tipres are removed with hand as in jute. They are then wailXd, dried and bundled. The method of extraction is almost similar for all the species. The percentage of fibre is 11-14; an yield of 494 kg/ha has been reported but higher yields of fibre can be obtained 1954, 16, 301; Betrabet, J sciindustr Res, 1956, 15C, 146 Rakshit&Maitra, Jute Bull, 1967-68, 30, 50).

The comparative chemical composition of the Abutilon fibre and jute (oven-dry) is as follows: cellulose, 87.48, 89.40; lignin, 13.18, 12.30; fat & wax, 0.5, 1.2; nitrogen, 0.21, 0.39; and ash, 1.29, 1.25%. The ultimate cells have a length of 1.9 mm, a diameter of 14.8 µ and a length and diameter ratio of 128. The fibre is inferior to jute in its intrinsic strength (1.66 g/denier), due to its lower cellulose content and higher lignin content, but is comparable to the fibre from Malachracapitata Linn. The percentage of elongation at break isnil(Paul,lndian Text J, 1950-51, 61,413; Betrabet&Navalkar, ibid, 1956-57, 67, 684).

The fibre is white and lustrous but is coarser than jute, and   has   an   anti-clockwise drying-twist.   It can   be profitably substituted for or mixed with jute in products made of the latter. If the fibre is to be used in low count, it can only be mixed to the extent of 10 per cent with jute; for higher counts as much as 73 per cent can be mixed with jute. The fibre is suitable for cordage (Kirby, 143; Betrabet.Ioc. cit.; Betrabet&Navalkar, loc. cit.; Paul, loc. cit.)

The Leaves

The leaves contain mucilage. They are cooked and eaten for bleeding piles. Their extract is reported to be used as a diuretic and demulcent and as an emollient fomentation; along with ghee it is considered a remedy for diarrhoea. A decoction of the leaves is used as mouth wash in toothache and tender gums; it is also stated to be useful in gonorrhoea, inflammation, of bladder, as a wash for wounds   and   ulcers,   and   for enema   and   vaginal injection. The leaves and stems contain vitamin C, 31.1 mg/I 00 g (Fl Assam, I, 141; Hedrick, 17; Kirtikar&Basu, I, 315; Chopra et al, 1958, 492; Biswas, 38; Rama Rao, 39; Caius, loc. cit.; Quisumbing, 575; Shah et al, Pakist J sci Res, 1962, 14, 4).

The Flowers

The flowers are eaten raw. They are reported to be employed   as an application to boils and ulcers. The powdered flowers are eaten in ghee as a remedy in blood vomitting and in cough. An alcoholic extract of flowers and   fruits   has shown   activity   against   Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus   and  Escherichia coli Castell &Chaim. The petals (from Pondicherry) contain cyaniding rutinoside, gossypetin-8-glucoside and   gossypetin-7- glucoside (Hedrick, 17; Quisumbing, 575; Biswas, 38; Rama Rao, 39; Kump, J sciindustr Res, 1956, lSC, 153; Subramanian & Nair, Phytochemistry; 1972, 11, 1518).

The Roots

The root is a nervine tonic and antipyretic, and is given in piles. Mixed with honey, chaulmoogra oil and fresh paste   of sandalwood, the root is reported to be an efficaceous treatment for leucoderma; addition of the oil from Psoraleacorylifolia Linn. may improve the efficacy of the treatment. An infusion of the roots is considered a good   cooling   remedy   in fevers and is also given in strangury and haematuria. The decoction is stated to be internally given for stones in bladder and also applied as a wash in eye diseases (Bhatnagar et al, loc, cit; Macmillan, 364; Biswas, 38; Biswas, J AsiatSocSci, 1956-57, 22, 61; Caius, loc. cit.; Rama Rao, 38; Fl Assam, I, 141).

The Seeds

The seeds contain water-soluble mucilage andcrude protein (18.57%). They are eaten; infused in water, they form a cool drink. They are considered laxative in piles, demulcent and used in treating cough and are also distinctly useful in gonorrhoea, gleet and chronic cystitis. The seeds yield a pale-yellow,semi-drying oil (5.0-14.3 %)

Caution & Side Effects

Atibalais used as asupplement to keep body healthy and stay away from diseases related to nervous system and musculoskeletal disorders.

It is LIKELY SAFE in natural crude form of the plant parts. The dosage should not exceed from 12 grams per day. There is no information available for safety and efficacy of Indian mallow in heavy dosages. There are no side effects reported with recommended dosage.

The extract of roots and seeds of Indian mallow is not studied properly for safety, so you should not use extracts of Indian mallow.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

In natural form is POSSIBLY SAFE in pregnancy and breastfeeding, but you should avoid using its extract in pregnancy. Extract of Atibala may have side effects.

Natural remedies with Abutilon indicum

  • Abutilon indicum has many health benefits ranging from elimanation of thread worms to colds and fevers. Abutilon indicum benefits also include treating piles and the symptoms of tuberculosis
  • The seeds are used to help alleviate the symptoms of diarrhoea and to rid the body of thread worms. Seeds are crushed and then simmered in water to make a tea. It also cures irritants that can cause diarrhoea.
  • It has also been used traditionally as a home remedy to treat colds and fever. The part of the plant that is above the ground are simmered to produce an infusion. This is said to relieve the symptoms of colds and fevers when consumed several times each day.
  • The whole plant can be boiled down into a decoction to relieve the symptoms of lung ailments, tuberculosis and bronchitis.
  • The roots and bark of the plant are diuretic and help in the discharge of urine. It is therefore used in urinary tract infections
  • The juice of the leaves helps to relieve toothache. An infusion made out of the twigs of the plant are used as a mouthwash for tooth pain.
  • Its health benefits include its being used as a drug to stimulate intestinal secretions.
  • The seeds are a laxative and very effective home remedy for curing piles.
  • A decoction made from the leaves is useful to cure gout, tuberculosis, ulcers, and bleeding disorders.

Courtesy : The Wealth of India series , DravyaGuna by Dr. J.L.N. Sastry , InidanMateriaMedica by VaidyaBhagwan Dash , DravyaGuna by Dr. GnjanendraPandey