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Abelmoschus esculentus


Hibiscus esculentus

Vernacular Names:


Kacang Bendi, Kacang Lendir

English Okra, Lady’s Finger

Kopi Arab


Vendai (Tamil); Benda (Telagu); Bhendi, Dhanrhas (Bengali)




Gombo commun, Gombo, Gumbo, Bamie-okra


Quiabeiro, Quabo, Bamia


Mbinda [3]


General Information


Ablemoschus esculantus is a member of the Malvaceae family. It is considered an annual herb. The plant can reach up to 4 m tall, sturdy and woody, branching and nearly glabrous. The stems are either green or red. The leaves are alternate, cordate-ovate, lobed or divided, often tinged red. They measures 10-25cm long and 10-35cm wide, palmately 3-7 lobes, hirsute, margins coarsely toothed. The flowers are yellow with a reddish center. The petals measure 5-7cm long, free, obovate, the staminal column united to the base of the petals, measures 2-3cm long, with numerous stamens, ovary superior with 5-9 small deep red stigmas. The epicalyx of up to 10 narrow hairy bracteoles, measuring to 1.6cm long, usually falling before fruit matures. The fruit a long-beaked, pyramidal-oblong capsule, measuring 10-30cm long, 2-3cm in diameter, longitudinally furrowed, hirsute or glabrous, dehiscing longitudinally and becoming woody when ripe. The seeds are dark green to dark brown, 5mm in diameter, rounded and tubreculate.

Plant Part Used

Fruit [1]

Chemical Constituents

12,13-epoxyoleic acid; 9-hexadecenoic-acid; alanine; alpha-tocopherol; arginine;  ascorbic-acid; ash; aspartic-acid; calcium; carbohydrates; copper; cyanidin-3-glucoside-4'-glucoside; cyanidin-4'-glucoside; cystine; folacin; gamma-tocopherol;  glutamic-acid; glycine; gossypetin; gossypol; histidine; iron; isoleucine; leucine; linoleic-acid; lysine; magnesium; manganese; methionine; mufa; myristic-acid; niacin;     oleic-acid; oxalic-acid; palmitic-acid; pantothenic-acid; pectin; pentosans; phenyalanine; phosphorus; phytosterols; potassium; proline; protein; pufa; quercetin; riboflavin; serine; sfa; sodium; starch; stearic-acid; sugar; sulfur; thiamin; threonine; tryptophan; tyrosine; valine; vit-b-6; zinc. [3][4][5]

Traditional Used:

The fruit of A. esculentus is considered an emollient, demulcent and diuretic with stimulant and a vulnerary activity. The seeds on the other hand is considered antispasmodic, cordial, stimulant and sudorific. [1][2]

Gastrointestinal activity

The mucliaginous preparation of the pod is used in treatment of chronic dysenery while the mucillage rich roots with strong demulcent activity makes good remedy for gastritis. The fruit is used as a cure for haemorrhoids. [1][2]

Respiratory acitivity

The fruit boiled in milk is used to treat cough. A decoction of the fresh fruits is given for fever and catarrhal ailments. [1]

Sexually transmitted diseases activity

When gonorrhoea and syphilis was introduced into Asian society by the western colonialist, the local traditional practitioners found the remedy in A. esculentus. They made used of the green pods to treat ardoe urinae, dysuria, irritability of the genito-urinary canal and in particular gonorrhoea. In the Malay Peninsula the root infusion is used to treat syphilis. [1][2] 

Other uses

The mucilaginous preparation made from the pods is used as a plasma replacement or blood-volume expander. In Latin America the leaves and seeds are folk remedies for tumour. In Nepal they use the juice of the roots to treat cuts, wounds and boils. [1][2]


Pre-Clinical Data


Antioxidant activity

The chemical composition of A. esculentus showed that it contained some antioxidants within it. Adelakun et al. found that by roasting the seeds at 160oC for 10-60 minutes they could increase the antioxidant activities significantly. [4]

Antiulcer activity

Lengsfeld studied the effects of various extracts from young fruit of A. esculentus on the adhesiveness of Helicobacter pylori to gastric mucosa. They found that pretreatment of the bacteria with a fresh juice preparation inhibited bacteria adhesion almost completely. Lyophilization and reconstitution of an extract solution reduced this effect while a purified highly acidic subfraction was high antiadhesive qualities. Heat denaturation of fresh juice or protein precipitation reduced the antiadhesive properties. These indicates that both carbohydraytes and protiens play an important role in this actions. They concluded that this antiadhesive qualities were due to a combination of glycoproteins and highly acidic sugar compound making up a complex three-dimensional structure that is fully developed only in the fresh juice of the fruit. The active fractions did not show inhibitory effects on bacterial growth in vitro.


Hairs on the plant can cause itching and contact dermatitis. Dried seeds may contain poisonous substances which are removed by cooking. Gossypol has been reported. [1]

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1) Botanical Info


  1. James A. Duke, Judith L. DuCellier CRC handbook of alternative cash crops CRC Press LLC Boca Raton, 1993 pg. 1 – 3
  2. Peter, K.V.Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops:, Volume 2 New India Publishing Agency New Delhi 2007 pg. 212
  3. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases ( Accessed on 16th August 2010
  4. Adelakun OE, Oyelade OJ, Ade-Omowaye BI, Adeyemi IA, Van de Venter M. Chemical composition and the antioxidative properties of Nigerian Okra Seed (Abelmoschus esculentus Moench) Flour. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Jun;47(6):1123-6.
  5. Lengsfeld C, Titgemeyer F, Faller G, Hensel A. Glycosylated compounds from okra inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Mar 24;52(6):1495-503.

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