Family • Sterculiaceae - Melochia concatenata Linn. - CHOCOLATE WEED - Ma song zi

Scientific names

Melochia concatenata Linn.
Melochia corchorifolia Linn.
Melochia supina Linn.
Riedelia corchorifolia DC.
Geruma subtriloba Blanco
Ma song si (Chin.)

Common names

Bankalanan (Ilk.)
Kaliñgan (P. Bis.)
Chocolate weed (Engl.)
Crab’s eggs (Engl.)
Redweed (Engl.)
Wirebush (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Ye lu cai.
INDONESIA: Orang-aring, Jarring (Sundanese), Gendiran (Javanese).
MALAYSIA: Lemak ketam, Lemak kepiting, Bayam rosa.
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

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Melochia corchorifolia / GLOBin MED

(2) 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

(3) Melochia concatenata Linn. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China

(4) Melochia corchoriflia / Common names / GLOBinMED

(5) 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.

(6) 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


(8) 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)


– 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.


– Dried powdered leaves show (by dry weight content %): a high crude protein content (23%), crude lipid value (13.33%), low carbohydrate (2.83%), high dietary fiber (23.33%), high ash (10%). Fresh leaves have a low energy value (275 kcal/100g).
– Contains dietary minerals: potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

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.

Study Findings
• 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.
• 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.
• Antibacterial: Study evaluated aerial parts of Melochia corchorifolia and Spilanthes acmella for antibacterial activity against eight bacterial strains. Results showed concentration dependent antibacterial activity.
• 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.