Family • Sterculiaceae - Ambroma augusta Linn. - DEVIL'S COTTON - Shuo ma

Scientific names

Ambroma augusta Linn.
Abroma fastuosa Jacq.
Abroma obliqua Presl
Abroma mollis DC.
Ambroma communis Blanco
Ambroma alata Blanco
Theobroma augusta Linn.

Common names

Ambong (Tag.) Labon (P. Bis.)
Anabo (Ibn., Ilk., Tag., Bis., Ting.) Nabo (Ibn., C. Bis.)
Anabong (Bik.) Negnegan (Iv.)
Anibong (Tag.) Pakalkal (Pamp.)
Anabu (Pang.) Sayapo (Mag.)
Anafu (Is.) Sayapu (Mag.)
Bago (Bik.) Perennial Indian hemp (Engl.)
Bodo-bodo (Ilk.) Devil’s cotton (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

ASSAMESE: Bon kopashi.
BENGALI: Ulat kambal.
CHINESE: Shuo ma.
HINDI: : Ulat kambal.
TAMIL: Sivapputtutti.


Anabo is a shrub or small tree, growing 2 to 3 meters high. Branches and branchlets are downy. Leaves are alternate, ovate, 10 to 15 centimeters in length, 10 to 12 centimeters wide, with a pointed tip, heart-shaped base, and toothed margins. Flowers are bisexual, about 5 centimeters across, yellowish with purple bases. Fruit is a capsule, obpyramidal, about 3.5 centimeters in diameter, covered with irritating hairs, ultimately smooth, with five prominent angles or wings, which are 4 to 7 centimeters across. Seeds are subellipsoid, numerous and finely punctate.

– Found from the Batan Islands and northern Luzon to Mindanao.
– In thickets, waste places, and open secondary forests at low and medium altitudes.
– Also reported from India to southern China to Malaya.

– Whole plant has yielded alkaloids and secondary metabolites including steroids, triterpenes, flavonoids, megastimanes, benzohydrofurans, and glycosides, and phenylethanoid glycosides.
– Root contains a fixed oil, resins, an alkaloid in minute quantity (0.01%), and water soluble bases.
– Study of roots yielded some alkaloid bases, reducing sugars and some phytosterols.
– Study reported a large amount of magnesium salts in combination with hydroxy acids, gums, resins and other organic residues.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Preliminary studies on the hypoglycaemic effect ofAbroma augusta in alloxan diabetic rats / Halim Eshrat, M. Ali Hussain, Kaiser Jamil and Mala Rao / INDIAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL BIOCHEMISTRY
Volume 16, Number 1, 77-80, DOI: 10.1007/BF02867572


(3) Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment / Dr. A. A. Mundewad /

(4) Comparative study of antidiabetic effect of Abroma augusta and Syzygium cumini on alloxan induced diabetic rat / Laizuman Nahar, Farhana Alam Ripa et al / Agric. Biol. J. N. Am., 2010, 1(6): 1268-1272

(5) Effects of Aqueous Extract of Fresh Leaves of Abroma augusta L. on Oral Absorption of Glucose and Metformin Hydrochloride in Experimental Rats / Tariqul Islam, Ajijur Rahman, and Anwar Ul Islam / ISRN Pharmaceutics, Volume 2012 (2012) /

(6) COMPARATIVE STUDY OF ANTIBACTERIAL, ANTIFUNGAL AND CYTOTOXIC EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT EXTRACTS OF DILLENIA INDICA THUNB AND ABROMA AUGUSTA LINN / Md. Zia Uddin*, Dibyajyoti Saha, Aninda Kumar Nath, Anowara Jenny, Mycal Dutta and Swati Paul / Bulletin of Pharmaceutical Research 2012;2(3):124-8

(7) Wound healing activity of Abroma augusta in Wistar rats /Shanbhag T, Dattachaudhuri A, Shenoy S, Bairy K L. / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine 2009 Vol. 2 No. 4 pp. 6-10 /

(8) In vitro prevention of chick pancreatic lipase activity by Abroma augusta extract / Nidhi Gupta, Aditya Ganeshpurkar, Nishikant Jatav, Divya Bansal, Nazneen Dubey / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 2012 |2(2), Supplement S712-S715

(9) Antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities of Abroma augusta Lnn. leaves extract / FK Saikot, Alam Khan, MF Hasan* / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012), S1418-S1422

(10) In vitro Effect of Aqueous Extract of Fresh Leaves of Abroma augusta L on the Diffusion of Glucose / Md Tariqul Islam, Md Ajijur Rahman, Md Anwar-Ul Islam / Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Journal, Vol 16, No 1 (2013)

– The presence of magnesium salts with some hydroxy acids have made it valuable as a styptic for use in uterine hemorrhages.
– Considered emmenagogue.

Parts used
Root, bark, sap.

– Root used as efficient emmenagogue.
– Infusion of fresh stems and leaves in cold water is a demulcent and used in gonorrhea.
– In Ayurveda, used for chronic dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
– In Bangladesh, leaves and stems used for menstrual disorders and diseases of the uterus; bark and roots for leucorrhea and menstrual problems. Also, used for stomachaches, diabetes, dermatitis, and whitish urinary discharge in men.
– In India, used for dysmenorrhea. Fresh and dried root bark used as uterine tonic and emmenagogue.
– In Indonesia, used for scabies.
– Fresh viscid sap is useful in congestive and neuralgic varieties of dysmenorrhea. Used as a regulator of menstrual flow and as uterine tonic.
– Fiber: Bast fiber is silky and valued for its strength. In the Philippines, used for making rope, twine, fish-lines, pouches, etc. A favorite clothes-line material because it does not stain.

Study Findings
• Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic: Study of aqueous extract of Abroma augusta on alloxan diabetic rats showed both hypoglycemic effects with gradual and significant fall in fasting glucose and improvement in glucose tolerance. It also showed lowering of total and LDL cholesterol.
• Combined Herbal Effects / Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Antioxidant: Study showed on the hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of Curcuma longa and Abroma augusta constituents on STZ-induced diabetic rats showed that the combination of herbal extracts showed better efficacy as compared to individual herbal plant extracts used.
• Anti-Diabetic / Comparative Study: A comparative study was made on the antidiabetic activities of methanolic extracts of Abroma augusta and seeds of Syzygium cumini in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction of glucose level. The activity was attributed to inhibition of free radical generation and tissue damage induced by alloxan or potentiation of insulin effect. Comparatively, SC was more efficacious than AA.
• Anti-Diabetic / Effect of Metformin Absorption / Fresh Leaves: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of root bark in the management of type 2 DM and to observe its effects on the absorption of metformin from the GI tract of rats. Results showed significant reduction of glucose absorption There was also significant reduction of absorption of metformin in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results suggest benefit in improving glycemic control in diabetic patients, but should not be coadministered with metformin in the management of type2DM.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated a methanolic extract of different parts of Abroma augusta for anti-inflammatory activity by carrageenan-induced paw edema method. Results showed potent anti-inflammatory activity comparable to diclofenac and probably due to alkaloid and flavonoid contents.
• Antibacterial / Antifungal / Cytotoxic: Study evaluated the in-vitro antibacterial, antifungal, and cytotoxic effects of ethanolic and petroleum ether extracts of two Bangladeshi medicinal plants Dillenia indica and Abroma augusta. Results showed both plants possessed moderate antimicrobial and cytotoxic properties.
• Wound Healing: Study evaluated the wound healing profile of an alcoholic extract of Abroma augusta and its effect on dexamethasone suppressed wound healing in Wistar rats. Results showed wound healing properties with significantly increased breaking strength of the incision wound, while the dexamethasone treated animals was significant decreased. The alcoholic extract was found to reverse dexamethasone suppressed wound healing.
• Prevention of Pancreatic Lipase Activity: Study evaluated the chick pancreatic lipase activities of Abroma augusta. The extract effectively inhibited lipase activity in a concentration dependent manner. At 100 µg/mL there was 88.6% enzyme activity.
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic: Study evaluated the antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity of acetone extracts of leaves. Results showed significant antibacterial activity and antifungal activity. Extract showed cytotoxicity against brine shrimp nauplii.
• Reduced Post-Prandial Glucose Absorption / Fresh Leaves: Study showed the dietary fiber present in the aqueous extract of leaves may be potentially effective in the management of T2DM by reducing post-prandial glucose absorption from the gastrointestinal tract.
• Biochemical and Histomorphological Effects / Leaves: Study of aqueous extract of leaves showed an increase in the number of beta cells in treated diabetic rabbits. Results suggest antioxidant effect or regenerative ability in ameliorating biochemical and histomorphological abnormalities in diabetic rabbits.