A las doce

Family • Malvaceae - Hibiscus cannabinus Linn. - BROWN INDIAN HEMP - Da ma jin

Scientifric names

HIbiscus cannabinus Linn.
HIbiscus verrucosus Guill. & Perr.
HIbiscus unidens Lindl.
Abelmoschus verrucosus Walp.
Furcaria cavanillesii Kostel.
Da ma jin (Chin.)

Common names

Alas doce (Span., Tag.)
Bastard jute (Engl.)
Brown Indian hemp (Engl.)
Guinea hemp (Engl.)
Hemp hibiscus (Engl.)
Hibiscus hemp (Engl.)
Roselle hemp (Engl.)
Thorny mallow (Engl.)
Wild stockrose (Engl.)
Fu rong ma (Chin.)

Alas doce is an herb with smooth and prickly stems. Lower leaves are entire and heart-shaped, the upper ones are deeply palmately-lobed. Sepals are bristly, lanceolate and connate below the middle, with a gland at the back of each. Corolla is large, spreading, yellow with a crimson center. Capsules are rounded and bristly. Seeds are nearly smooth.

– Planted for ornamental purposes but is scarcely naturalized.
– Found in the Bontoc and Pangasinan Provinces and in Manila.
– Old World native.
– Pantropic.

– Seeds yield 23.5% fixed oil.
– Whole plant has abundant polysaccharides, 9.7%; starch, dextrin, pectin, tannin, phosphatide, protein.

– Considered antibilious, aphrodisiac, purgative.
– Seeds considered purgative.
– Seed oil considered aphrodisiac.

Parts used
Leaves and flowers.

– Leaves used as pot-herb.
– Seeds are roasted or ground into a flour.
– Root is edible, although a bit fibrous.

– Leaves used as purgative.
– In Gambia, infusion of leaves used for coughs.
– Flowers used for biliousness and constipation.
– Seeds oil used externally for pains and bruises; and internally as an aphrodisiac.
– In India and Africa, used for blood and throat disorders, bilious conditions, fever and puerperium.
– In African folk medicine, used for anemia and liver diseases

Other vernacular names

AFRIKAANS: Stokroos.
CHINESE: Yang ma.
CROATIAN: Predivni oslez.
DANISH: Hamp, Javajute , Kenaf , Rosellahamp, Rosellehamp, Siamjute.
FRENCH: Chanvre de Bombay, Chanvre du Deccan, Kenaf, Ketmie a feuilles de chanvre, Roselle.
GERMAN: Ambari, Dekkanhanf, Gambohanf, Hanfeibisch, Javajute, Kenaf, Rosellahanf, Roselle..
HUNGARIAN: Rostmalyva.
ITALIAN: Canapa di Bombay , Canapa rosella, Ibisco, Juta del Siam, Jute di giava, Kenaf.
NEPALESE: Kudram, Kunjar, Maarangii, Patsan.
POLISH: Czyli kenaf, Ketmia konopiowata.
PORTUGUESE: Canhamo-brasileiro, Canhamo rosella, Juta de Java , Papoula do Sao Francisco.
SPANISH: Cáñamo de la India, Cáñamo Rosella , Pavona encendida, Yute de Java , Yute de Siam.
THAI: Po, Po dai, Po kaeo.
TURKISH: HIibiskus.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Phytotoxic and Fungitoxic Activities of the Essential Oil of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) Leaves and Its Composition / Mozaina Kobaisy et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2001, 49 (8), pp 3768–3771
DOI: 10.1021/jf0101455

(2) Immunomodulatory effect of Hibiscus cannabinus extract on macrophage functions / Yong Gyu Lee et al / Journal of ethnopharmacology • 2007, vol. 113, no1, pp. 62-71 / INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 18028, 35400014669916.0060

(3) ANTIDIABETIC ACTIVITY OF METHANOLIC EXTRACT OF HIBISCUS CANNABINUS IN STREPTOZOTOCIN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS / T Sundarrajan et al / International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences, Vol 2, No 1, Jan-Mar 2011

(4) Antihyperlipidemic effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) leaves in high fat diet fed rats / Shivali, N. Mahadevan , and Pradeep Kamboj / Annals of Biological Research, 2010, 1 (3) : 174-181


(6) Toxicity Study of Hibiscus cannabinus / Agbor GA, Julius E Oben et al / Journal of the Cameroon Academy of Science 01/2004; 4(1):27-32.

(7) Demonstration of the potential of Hibiscus cannabinus Linn. flowers to manage oxidative stress, bone related disorders and free radical induced DNA damage / S Mukherjee, S D Jagtap, A A Kuvalekar, Y B Kale, O P Kulkarni, A M Harsulkar and P K Pawar / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, Vol 1 (3), Sept 2010, pp 322-327


(9) Hibiscus cannabinus extract as a potential green inhibitor for corrosion of mild steel in 0.5 M H2SO4 solution /
M. Ramananda Singh *, Gurmeet Singh / J. Mater. Environ. Sci. 3 (4) (2012) 698-705

– Fiber / Rope: Cultivated for its fiber. Stem yields a fiber, a good jute substitute although a bit coarse. Fiber strands used for making rope, cordage, sacking, nets.
– Paper: Pulp from stems used for making paper.
– Dye: Soot from stems used as black pigment in dyes.

Study Findings
• Haematinic Activity: Study on hemolytic anemic rats induced by phenylhydrazine showed the leaf extract of H cannabinus induced a significant increase in RBC count, Hb concentration and pack cell volume. Results suggest H cannabinus leaves may have hematinic properties.
• Phytochemicals / Fungitoxic Activity: Essential leaf oil characterized 58 components, among them: (E)-phytol, (Z)-phytol, n-nonanal, benzene acetaldehyde, (E)-2-hexenal and 5-methylfurfural as major constituents. Oil had antifungal activity against Colletrotrichum fragariae, C gloeosporioides and C accutatum.
• Antioxidant Activity: Study results suggest that the leaves of H cannabinus possess erythrocyte protective activity against drug induced (carbon-tetrachloride or paracetamol) oxidative stress.
• Immunomodulatory: Study showed crude extract of H cannabinus fresh leaves significant suppressed TNF-a production and mRNA expression of IL-3 and IL-12, with induction of expression of a potent cytoprotective molecule. Results suggest that H cannabinus may be able to modulate macrophage-mediated responses.
• Hepatoprotective: Aqueous leaf extract showed significant hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride and paracetamol induced damage evidenced by absence of necrosis in liver cells of pretreated rats. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation is suggested as a possible mechanism.
• Antidiabetic: Study of methanol extract of H. cannabinus in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed significant lowering of blood glucose. Phytochemicals yielded phytosterols, flavonoids, and glycosides.
• Antihyperlipidemic: Study of a 50% hydroalcoholic extract of HC leaves showed a strong dose-dependent antihyperglycemic effect with significant decreases in TC, TG, LDL-C, VLVL-C and TBARS. Also, the extract markedly prevented liver microvesicular steatosis in hyperlipidemic rats.
• Mucilage / Excipient: Mucilage from the seeds of the plant was shown to have good suspending action in 2% concentration. As a suspending agent, it was comparable to standard marketed formulation, 1.e., Calcimax. Results suggest a potential as pharmaceutical excipient.
• Antioxidative / Erythrocyte Protective Activity: Study evaluated the antioxidative activity of an aqueous leaf extracts in rats with carbon tetrachloride and paracetamol-induced erythrocyte damage. Results showed the leaves of H. cannabinus possess an erythrocyte protective activity against drug-induced oxidative stress.
• Toxicity Study: Study evaluated dried aqueous extract of leaves for toxicity in mice and Wistar albino rats. Results showed the extract was well tolerated by experimental animals and may also possess hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties.
• Antioxidative / Control of Oxidative Stress and Free Radical DNA Damage / Flowers: Study showed flower extracts can be used as a potent functional food to control stress, free radical induced DNA damage, and bone related disorders like osteoarthritis.
• Anti-Obesity Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated ethanolic extracts of leaves in an in vivo study on high cholesterol diet induced obesity in female albino rats. Results showed significant antiobesity effect, with reduction of body cholesterol and histopathological study showing reduced fat accumulation in the liver tissue of rats.
• Green Inhibitor of Corrosion: Study investigated the inhibitory effect of HC extract on corrosion of mild steel in aqueous 0.5 M H2SO4. Results confirmed adsorption of inhibitor molecules on mild steel surface, with concentration dependent inhibition efficiency and decrease with rise in temperature.