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Mirabilis jalapa


Jalapa congesta, Nyctago versicolor, Nyctago jalapae  [3]

Vernacular Names:


Kembang Pukul empat, Kembang Lohor, Kembang Dzohor

English Four o’clock, Marvel of Peru, False Jalap

Kembang Pagi Sore, Kembang Pukul Empat, Bunga Waktu Kechil (Melayu); Kederat, SegeratTegerat (Java); Noja (Bali); Bungga Ledonosko (Roti); Loro Laka (Timor); Bunga-bunga Paranggi (Makasar); Pukul Ampa (Minahasa); Kupa Oras (Ambon); Cako Rana (Ternate)


Zi Mo Li


Gilalas (Tagalog); Maravillas, Suspiros (Spanish-Filipino)




Maritidhs, Nakajali (Gurung); Lankaphul, Lankasoni, Malati (Nepali); Labujana, Langasani (Tamang); Barka gurubands (Tharu)




Clavellina, Maravilla, Hoja de Xalapa [1] [2] [3] [4] [8]

General Information


Mirabilis jalapa is a member of the Nyctaginaceae Family. It is an herbaceous plant that could reach up to 1 m high. It has tuberous root. The leaves are opposite measuring 3.5-7.5 cm long and 1.5-5 cm wide, unequal, ovate to subcordate, acuminate, base often subtrancate. The flowers are showy measuring 5-6 cm long, pink, white or yellow with elongated corolla tube. The calyx petaloid, infundibuliform, limb spreading, measures 2-2.5 cm across. The stamens 5 in number unequal. The fruit is ellipsoid to narrowly ovoid, black and finely ribbed, and leathery.[4]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, roots and fruits (for external use) [1] [9]

Chemical Constituents

(2, 5-dioxoimidazolidin-4-yl)-urea; 2’-O-methylabronisoflavone; 3, 4-dihydroxybenzaldehyd; 4'-hydroxy-2,3-dihydroflavone-7-b-D-glucopyranoside; 6-methoxybioeravinone C; astragaloside II; astragaloside IV; astragaloside VI; beta-sitosterol; betaxanthins; boeravinone; daucosterol; flazin; gingerglycolipid A; glycerin monoeicosate; p-hydroxybenzaldehyde; trigonellin;[1] [6]

Traditional Used:

Gastointestinal Diseases

The leaves and roots of M. jalapa are considered a purgative with the roots being used most frequently. In Madagascar the roots are used to treat intestinal pains.[1] [5] [9]

Inflammatory Diseases

The plant is used to treat infectious conditions like tonsillitis, pharyngitis, genitor-urinary infection, prostatitis, abscesses, carbuncle, furuncle and leucorrhoea in Indonesia and Africa. The leaves are also placed on boils, blisters to hasten suppurations and to relieve urticaria.[1] [8] [9]

Other uses

Juice of the leaves are used to treat wounds and at the same time considered a tonic. The Chinese prepare the tonic by using the juice with pork. A decoction of the root with or without pork helps relieve colds, inflammation and leucorrhoea. The leaves are considered an aphrodisiac. It is also a remedy for stones of the kidney and gall bladder, diabetes and chyluria.[1] [5] [9]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antinociceptive activity

Traditionally M. jalapa leaves were prescribed for inflammatory and painful conditions is Brazil. Studies on [10] the antinociceptive activity of extracts of the leaves and stem is models of pain in mice. They found that the crude extract of the stem was more effective than the hydroethanolic extract of the leaves while amongst the fractions studied the ethyl-acetate fraction of the leaves was more effective and potent to induce antinociception. The mode of action of the Eta fraction seem to be dependent upon the cholinergic system. It did not alter locomotor activity, body temperature, gastrointestinal transit nor did it produce any gastric lesions.

Antispasmodic activity

The extract of M. jalapa showed inhibitory effect on gut smooth muscle contractility while at the same time stimulated the contraction of rabbit aortic muscle in a concentration-dependent manner. These effects were not due to either ACh  of HIS receptors blockage, IP(3), cAMP, cGMP, Ca2+ release from intracellular storage or protein kinase mediated contraction-relaxation mechanism. This effect may be  mediated via serotoninergic mechanism which in turn interacts with other adrenergic systems.[11]

Trypsin inhibitors activity

Study [12] identified five serine proteinase inhibitors in the seeds of M. jalapa and Spinacia oleracea.

Antifungal activity

A bioassay-guided fractionation of an organic extract of the cell mass form manipulated plant cell culture of M. jalapa resulted in the isolation of three new phenolic compounds. Two of the phenolic compounds showed active inhibitory activity against Candida albicans.[13]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

The strong purgative action of the roots believed to be caused by the oxymethylanthraquinone and trigonelline, can be incapacitating to some people especially children. The sap irritates skin and mucous membranes while handling the roots or seeds have been known to cause dermatitis. Flowers, fruit sap or root products can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.[2]

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

Its use is contraindicated in pregnancy.[9]

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)  Poisonous


    1. Hwee Ling Koh, Chua Tung Kian, Chay Hoon Tan A Guide to Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated, Scientific and Medicinal Approach World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. Singapore 2009 pg 101
    2. David W. Nellis Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean Pineapple Press Inc. Sarasota 1997 pg. 220
    3. Peter Hanelt Manfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops, Volume 2 Springer Verlag. Berlin 2001 pg. 232
    4. N.P. Manandhar, Sanjay Manandhar Plants and People of Nepals Timber Press Inc. Portland 2002 pg. 320
    5. R. Vardhana Direct Uses of Medicinal Plants and their Identification Sarup & Sons New Delhi 2008 pg. 231
    6. Lai GF, Luo SD, Cao JX, Wang YF. [Studies on chemical constituents from roots of Mirabilis jalapa] Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008 Jan;33(1):42-6.
    7. Wei Y, Yang XS, Hao XJ. [Studies on chemical constituents from the root of Mirablis jalapa] Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2003 Dec;28(12):1151-2.
    8. T.H. Pardo De Tavera The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines P. Blakiston’s Son & Co. Philadelphia 1901 pg. 200
    9. Hembing Wijayakusuma Ensiklopedia Milenium: Tumbuhan Berkhasiat Obat Indonesia Jilid 1 PT. Prestasi Insan Indonesia Jakarta 2000 pg. 90 – 93
    10. Walker CI, Trevisan G, Rossato MF, Franciscato C, Pereira ME, Ferreira J, Manfron MP. Antinociceptive activity of Mirabilis jalapa in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Nov 20;120(2):169-75. Epub 2008 Aug 8.
    11. Aoki K, Cortés AR, Ramírez Mdel C, Gómez-Hernández M, López-Muñoz FJ. Pharmacological study of antispasmodic activity of Mirabilis jalapa Linn flowers. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Feb 28;116(1):96-101. Epub 2007 Nov 17.
    12. Kowalska J, Pszczoła K, Wilimowska-Pelc A, Lorenc-Kubis I, Zuziak E, Ługowski M, Łegowska A, Kwiatkowska A, Sleszyńska M, Lesner A, Walewska A, Zabłotna E, Rolka K, Wilusz T. Trypsin inhibitors from the garden four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) seeds: isolation, characterization and chemical synthesis. Phytochemistry. 2007 Jun;68(11):1487-96. Epub 2007 May 3.
    13. Yang SW, Ubillas R, McAlpine J, Stafford A, Ecker DM, Talbot MK, Rogers B. Three new phenolic compounds from a manipulated plant cell culture, Mirabilis jalapa. J Nat Prod. 2001 Mar;64(3):313-7.

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