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Family Sterculiaceae
Melochia corchorifolia L.

Ma song zi

Scientific names Common names
Lochemiaa corcorifolia Arn. Bankalanan (Ilk.)
Melochia affinis Wall. Kaliñgan (P. Bis.)
Melochia borbonicaa Cav. Chocolate weed (Engl.)
Melochia corchorifolia L. Crab's eggs (Engl.)
Melochia concatenata Linn. Redweed (Engl.)
Melochia fasciculata Noronha Wirebush (Engl.)
Melochia pauciflora Wall.  
Melochia supina Linn.  
Melochia truncata DC.  
Mougetia corchorifolia (L.) Kunth  
Polychlaena ramosa G.Don.  
Polychlaena simplex G.Don.  
Riedelia borbonica (Cav.) DC.  
Riedelia capitata Boj.  
Riedelia concatenata (L.) DC.  
Riedelia corchorifolia (L.) DC.  
Riedelia radiata Bl.  
Riedelia supina (L.) DC.  
Riedelia truncata DC.  
Visenia concatenata (L.) Spreng.  
Visenia concatenata (L.) Spreng.  
Visenia supina (L.) DC.  
Melochia corcorifolia is the accepted name. Catalogue of Life / ITIS Species 2000

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ye lu cai, Ma song si.
INDIA: Yennaichedi.
INDONESIA: Orang-aring, Jarring (Sundanese), Gendiran (Javanese).
MALAYSIA: Lemak ketam, Lemak kepiting, Bayam rosa.
SINHALA: Galkura.
TAMIL: Punnakkukkirai.
THAILAND: Khaang pakk put, Sa aeng bai mon, Seng lek.
VIETNAM: Tr[uws]ng cua, V[ai]i g[aas]y.

Bankalanan is an erect or spreading, branched, half-woody shrub, usually less than 1 meter high. Leaves are oblong-ovate, and 2 to 6 centimeters long, with pointed tip and broad, rounded, or heart-shaped base. Flowers are somewhat crowded in terminal or axillary heads. Petals are obovate, white, pink or pale purple, and about 7 millimeters long. Fruit is a small capsule, depressed-globose, 4 to 5 millimeters in diameter, green, whitish or pink to purplish black. Cells are 1-2 seeded. Seeds and small and wingless. Endosperm is abundant.

- A weed common in waste places, open grasslands, fallow fields, settled areas, etc., at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines
- Pantropic.
- Prevalent in tropical areas of Africa, Asia, and Australia.
- Reported in Peninsular Malaysia

- Study isolated a cyclopeptide alkaloid, franganine, and a pseudooxindole alkaloid, melochicorine. (2)
- Phytochemical screening of leaves of M. corchorifolia yielded triterpenes (friedelin, friedelinol, and ß-amyrin), flavonol glycosides (hibifolin, triflin, and melocorin), aliphatic compounds, flavonoids (vitexin and robunin), ß-D-sitosterol and its stearate,-D-glucoside, and alkaloids.
- Study yielded adouetine and a new cyclopeptide alkaloid, melofoline.
- Study isolated a cyclopeptide alkaloid, franganine, and a new pseudooxindole alkaloid, melochicorine.
- A glycoside, melocorin, was isolated from the leaves of M. corchorifolia along with hibifolin and trifolin.
- Phytochemical screening of methanol extract of aerial parts yielded alkaloids, terpenoids, steroids, phenolic compounds, flavanoids, and glycosides. (12)
- Proximate composition of leaves (DW basis) were crude lipid (13.33±2.89%), ash (10.00±0.10%), crude fiber (23.33±2.89%).and available carbohydrate (30.03±2.83%). Mineral composition in mg/100 g DW were: K(7.250±37.50), Ca (750.37 ±10.58), Mg (108.33±5.77) and P (101.89±0.08), Na (95.00—1.15), Cu (33.50±2.55), Fe (19.91±3.01), Mn (9.68±0.59) and Zn (6.73—0.62). (15)

- Studies have shown antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, insecticidal, hepatoprotective, insecticidal, anti-inflammatory properties.

Parts used
Leaves, roots, stems, sap.


Edibility / Culinary
- Consumed as a potherb in West Africa and Southern Africa.
- Leaves eaten in northern India and Annam
- Leaves are cooked into a popular, slimy side-dish in Malawi.
- Leaves used for poulticing sores.
- Roots and leaves used for snakebites.
- Sap used for wounds poisoned by Antiaris.
- Leaves used for poulticing swellings of the abdomen and the heart.
- Leaves and roots used for poulticing in small pox.
- Decoction of roots and leaves used for dysentery.
- Simple leaf decoction used to stop vomiting; compound decoction, with Millettia and Celosia, used for urinary troubles.
- Plant is used to relieve gastralgia and headaches.
- In Tamil Nadu, India, decoction of leaves taken orally twice daily on an empty stomach for dysentery.
- In India, leaves and roots used for treatment of urinary tract disorders, abdominal swelling, dysentery, and snakebites. (12)
- In coastal East Africa, leaves used for stomach disorders. In Benin seeds used to treat stomach aches.
- In Malaysia, leaves are used for poulticing sores and swelling of the abdomen. Sap applied as antidote to wounds caused by arrows poisoned with Antiaris toxicaria. (13)
- Leaves and roots used for poulticing in small pox. (13)
- In Sri Lanka ayurveda, leaves used in the treatment of intestinal bowel syndrome, diabetes mellitus.   (15)

Flavonoids / Antifungal:
Aerial parts of M. corchorifolia yielded 5,7-dihydroxyflavone, apigenin, kaempferol and quercetin. The flavonoids exhibited significant antifungal activity.
Antifeedant / Insecticidal / Ovicidal: Study evaluated the antifeedant, insecticidal, oviposition deterrent and ovicidal activity of different fractions obtained from the crude extracts M. corchorifolia against the armyworm, Spodoptera litura. MC showed feeding deterrent activity and significant ovicidal and larvicidal activity. (3)
Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study evaluated extracts of aerial parts of Melochia corchorifolia for hepatoprotective and antioxidant capacity against CCl4-induced liver toxicity in rats. Results showed concentration dependent decrease in serum enzymes and percentage inhibition of free radicals. (6)
Antibacterial: Study evaluated aerial parts of Melochia corchorifolia and Spilanthes acmella for antibacterial activity against eight bacterial strains. Results showed concentration dependent antibacterial activity. (7)
Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of corchorifolia extract showed strong free radical scavenging activity in all tested methods. Antioxidant activity may be due to phenolic compounds flavonoids and tannins. (9)
• Antioxidant / Anticancer / Aerial Parts: Study of methanol extract of M. corchorifolia aerial parts showed significant antioxidant and antiproliferative properties. The IC50 of DPPH radical, ABTS radical cation, OH-radcical scavenging assays were 35.26, 10.50, and 49.36 µg/mL concentration, respectively. On in vitro MTT assay for anticancer activity using MCF7 breast cancer cell line
, results showed cytotoxic activity of 66.84% at 100 µg/mL concentration. (12)
• Antifungal Flavonoids / Aerial Parts: Study of aerial parts isolated 5,7-dihydroxyflavone, apigenin, kaempferol, and quercetin. The flavonoids exhibited significant antifungal activity. (14)
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated M. corchorifolia extracts for anti-inflammatory activity in a carrageenan-induced rat paw edema model. The methanol extract showed most significant activity compared to other extracts tested, showing more percentage inhibition (53.47 ± 2.19) at 500 mg/kg dose. (16)


Updated Julay 2017 / October 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: File:Melochia corchorifolia by kadavoor.jpg / The Chocolate Weed / Jkadavoor / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license / Clikc on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Melochia corchorifolia L. - chocolate weed / Larry Allain @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Melochia corchorifolia
Melochicorine, a pseudooxindole alkaloid from Melochia corchorifolia / Rajendra S Bhakuni et al / Phytochemistry, Volume 30, Issue 9, 1991, Pages 3159-3160 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)98281-5
Bioefficacy of Hyptis suaveolens and Melochia chorcorifolia against the armyworm, Spodoptera litura (Fab.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) / Arandan A, Krishnappa K et al / International Journal of Current Research
Melochia concatenata Linn. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Melochia corchoriflia / Common names / GLOBinMED
Hepatoprotective and antioxidant capacity of Melochia corchorifolia extracts. / Rao BG, Rao YV, Rao TM. / Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2013 Jul;6(7):537-43. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(13)60092-9.
Anti-Bacterial Activity of Different extracts of Melochia corchorifolia and Spilanthes acmella aerial parts / B. Ganga Rao, Y.Venkateswara Rao and T. Mallikarjuna Rao * / JPR: BioMedRx: An International Journal, Vol 5, No 6 (2012)
Melocorin a new herbacetin glucuronide from melochia corchorifolia / Nair, A. G. R.; Ramesh, P.; Subramanian, S. S., 1977 / Indian Journal of Chemistry Section B Organic Chemistry Including Medicinal Chemistry 15(11): 1045
Traditional uses of medicinal plants among the rural people in Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu, Southern India / S Shanmugam*, K Rajendran, K Suresh / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012)
Melochia corcchorifolia / Synonyms / Catalogue of Life
Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities of Methanol Extract of Melochia corchorifolia L. / Harini .V, Vijayalakshmi .M, Sivaraj .C, Arumugam .P / International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), Vol 5, Issue 1, January 2017
Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacology of Melochia corchorifolia L. / T. Pullaiah / Int. Re. J. Pharm. 2014, 5(7)
Antifungal flavonoids of Melochia corchorifolia / R C Tripathi, M B Pandey, Sarita Singh, V B Pandey / Research Gate
Nutritional Content of Melochia corchorifolia (Linn.) Leaves / K J Kumar, L G Hassan, S M Dangoggo, M Inuwa, M N Almustapha / International Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1: 250-255. /
DOI: 10.3923/ijbc.2007.250.255 
Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Melochia corchorifolia / Talluri Mallikarjuna Rao, Rao Battu Ganga, Rao Y. Venkateswaea / International Journal of Phytomedicines and Related Industries, 2016, Vol 8, Issue 3 /
DOI: 10.5958/0975-6892.2016.0022.8

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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