Abutilon (Abutilon indicum)

Abutilon (Abutilon indicum)

Botany, Geographical Distribution, and Horticultural Information of Abutilon indicum


Abutilon indicum, commonly known as Indian abutilon or Indian mallow, belongs to the family Malvaceae. It is a small shrub characterized by its valuable medicinal and ornamental properties. The plant features roots and leaves that are used for curing fevers and other ailments.

Geographical Distribution:

Abutilon indicum is native to tropical and subtropical regions. Its native range includes Afghanistan, Andaman Islands, Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, Caroline Islands, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Gilbert Islands, Hainan, Howland-Baker Islands, India, Jawa, Kazan-retto, Laccadive Islands, Laos, Lesser Sunda Islands, Malaya, Maldives, Maluku, Marianas, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nauru, Nepal, Nicobar Islands, Ogasawara-shoto, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Rodrigues, Réunion, South China Sea, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Taiwan, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

It has been introduced to various other regions, including Brazil North, Chagos Archipelago, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Fiji, Haiti, Hawaii, Iraq, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Madeira, Niue, Norfolk Islands, Peru, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Seychelles, Society Islands, Trinidad-Tobago, Tubuai Islands, Turks-Caicos Islands, and Windward Islands.

Horticultural Information:

As a horticultural plant, Abutilon indicum is valued for its ornamental and medicinal properties. It is often cultivated in gardens for its attractive foliage and flowers. The plant prefers a seasonally dry tropical biome and can be grown in a variety of soil types, provided they are well-drained. It requires moderate watering and full to partial sunlight for optimal growth.

The plant is propagated through seeds or stem cuttings. When growing from seeds, it is advisable to sow them in a well-draining soil mix and keep them moist until germination. Stem cuttings can be rooted in water or directly in soil. Regular pruning helps maintain the desired shape and size of the plant.

In terms of care, Abutilon indicum is relatively low-maintenance. It is resistant to most pests and diseases, although it may occasionally be affected by common garden pests such as aphids.


1. “Abutilon indicum subsp. indicum | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science” – https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:53203-3
2. “Abutilon indicum – Wikipedia” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abutilon_indicum


History, Traditional Herbal & Culinary Uses of Abutilon indicum


Abutilon indicum, commonly known as Indian abutilon or Indian mallow, is a small shrub in the Malvaceae family. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions and has been widely introduced outside of its native range. Over time, it has become an integral part of traditional medicine in various cultures due to its diverse medicinal properties.

Traditional Herbal Uses:

Abutilon indicum has been used extensively in traditional medicine systems across various cultures. The plant is known for its demulcent, aphrodisiac, laxative, diuretic, sedative, astringent, expectorant, tonic, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, and analgesic properties. It has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including:

– Leprosy
– Ulcers
– Headaches
– Gonorrhea
– Bladder infections
– Fevers

In traditional practices, various parts of the plant, such as the root, bark, flowers, leaves, and seeds, are used for medicinal purposes. The whole plant is often uprooted, dried, and powdered for use in various treatments. For example, in ancient practices, maidens were made to consume a spoonful of this powder with honey for a safe and quick pregnancy.

In Siddha medicine, a traditional system of healing that originated in South India, Abutilon indicum is used extensively. The leaves are used as an adjunct to medicines for pile complaints, and the flowers are believed to increase semen in men.

Culinary Uses:

While the primary use of Abutilon indicum is medicinal, certain parts of the plant are also used in cooking. In some cultures, the leaves and young shoots are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The plant’s mild flavor and nutritional value make it a suitable addition to various dishes. However, its use in mainstream culinary practices is limited compared to its medicinal applications.


1. “Abutilon indicum – Wikipedia” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abutilon_indicum
2. “Medicinal properties of Abutilon Indicum – Peertechz Publications” – https://www.peertechzpublications.org/articles/OJPS-3-111.php


Pharmacological/Medicinal Scientific Studies on Abutilon indicum

Abutilon indicum, commonly known as Indian mallow or Atibala, has been the focus of various scientific studies due to its broad spectrum of pharmacological properties. These studies have highlighted the plant’s potential in traditional and modern medicine.

Key Findings from Scientific Studies:

1. Diverse Pharmacological Activities: Abutilon indicum has been reported to exhibit a wide range of pharmacological activities, including diuretic, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-malarial, wound healing, and anti-diarrheal properties. These findings support its use in different traditional systems of medicine (https://dx.doi.org/10.5958/2321-5836.2016.00031.8).

2. Phytochemistry and Pharmacognosy: The plant contains various chemical constituents like flavonoids, phenols, sterols, tannins, etc., and has been investigated for activities such as immune stimulation, diuresis, anti-epileptic, anti-ulcer, and anti-parasitic activities (https://dx.doi.org/10.26452/ijpib.v5i1.1191).

3. Comprehensive Pharmacological Profile: Abutilon indicum has been found to possess immunomodulatory, anticonvulsant, larvicidal, lipid-lowering, diuretic, and anti-ulcer activities. The plant contains mucilage, tannins, β-sitosterol, asparagines, flavonoids, alkaloids, hexoses, n-alkane mixtures, alkanol, gallic acid, and sesquiterpenes ((98842af6aa7e2a9f2f0d6556af95be6ade3c4191)).

4. Ethnomedicinal, Pharmacological, and Phytochemical Properties: The plant is used as a demulcent, aphrodisiac, laxative, diuretic, pulmonary, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, and sedative. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of alkaloids, amino acids, saponins, flavonoids, glycosides, and steroids ((9148c63a9ceaf095cb86b69d1e48233a3c950e6b)).

These studies collectively demonstrate the significant potential of Abutilon indicum in various therapeutic applications, underlining its importance in both traditional and modern medicinal practices. The diverse range of pharmacological activities associated with this plant makes it a valuable subject for further research and development in the field of herbal medicine.


1. https://dx.doi.org/10.5958/2321-5836.2016.00031.8
2. https://dx.doi.org/10.26452/ijpib.v5i1.1191
3. (98842af6aa7e2a9f2f0d6556af95be6ade3c4191)
4. (9148c63a9ceaf095cb86b69d1e48233a3c950e6b)


Specific Phytochemical Molecules in Abutilon indicum:

1. β-sitosterol: A phytosterol with a structure similar to cholesterol, known for its potential in reducing cholesterol levels and improving heart health.

2. Asparagine: An amino acid that plays a crucial role in the biosynthesis of glycoproteins and is essential for the development and functioning of the brain.

3. Gallic Acid: A type of phenolic acid, known for its antioxidant properties.

4. Sesquiterpenes: These are a class of terpenes consisting of three isoprene units and have various biological activities.

5. Alkanes: Hydrocarbons that consist entirely of hydrogen and carbon, contributing to the plant’s medicinal properties.

6. Alkanol: A type of alcohol derived from alkanes, known for various biological activities.

7. Hexoses: Simple sugars, which are fundamental carbohydrates and a source of energy.

8. Flavonoids: Specific types of flavonoids in Abutilon indicum contribute to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

9. Amino Acids: Specific amino acids, other than asparagine, which contribute to protein synthesis and various metabolic functions.

10. Glycosides: Specific glycosides that have therapeutic properties, particularly in cardiovascular health.


1. “Pharmacologicals and Phytochemicals Potential of Abutilon indicum: A Comprehensive Review” – http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ajbio.s.2015030201.12.pdf