Family • Malvaceae - Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn. - SEA ROSEMALLOW - Huang jin

Scientifric names

HIbiscus tiliaceus Linn.
HIbiscus tortuosus Roxb.
Paritium tiliaceum St. Hil.

Other vernacular names

FRENCH: Purau (Tahiti).
JAPANESE: Yama-asa, Oo-hamaboo.
PORTUGUESE: Algodão da praia (Brazil).
SPANISH : Algondoncillo, Hibisco marítimo, Majagua, Mahoe.
THAI : Po fai, Po na, Pho thale, Po thale.

Common names

Bago (Ilk., Bon., Tag.) Malubago (Tag., Bik.)
Balabago (S. L. Bis.) Marakapas (Ibn.)
Balibago (Tag., Bis.) Mayambago (Bik., C. Bis.)
Bauan (Ibn.) Mulabago (Mag.)
Dangliu (Tag.) Ragindi (Bis.)
Danglog (Sul.) Ragindi (Bis.)
Hanot (Iv.) Beach hibiscus (Engl.)
Laogo (Bag.) Bladder ketmia (Engl.)
Malabago (Tag., S. L. Bis.) Cottonwood (Engl.)
Lambagu (Sul.) Lagoon hibiscus (Engl.)
Majagua (Bik., C. Bis) Sea hibiscus (Engl.)
Malabagu (Ilk.) Sea rosemallow (Engl.)
Malibago ( Tag., P Bis., Sul.) Huang jin (Chin.)

Malabago is a much branched tree, 4 to 12 meters high. Leaves are suborbicular, 10 to 15 centimeters long, green, smooth and shining on the upper surface, grayish and hairy on the under surface, with a pointed tip and heart-shaped base, and minutely toothed margins. Sepals are hairy, 5 in number, oblong and about 2 centimeters long. Petals are yellow, dark purple at the inside base, orbicular-obovate or rounded, about 5 centimeters in length and width. Capsules are hairy, ovoid, 1.5 centimeters long, surrounded by persistent sepals and, at the base, by the bracteolar cup, falsely 10-celled, and 5-valved.



– Found throughout the Philippines, along the seashore and tidal streams.
– Occasionally planted inland for ornamental purposes.
– Pantropic along the seashore.



– Study isolated 10 compounds: friedelin, pachysandiol, glutinol, lupeol, germanicol, stigmast-4-en-3-one, stigmast-4, 22-dien-3-one, ergosta-4, 6, 8, 22-tetraen-3-one, β-sitosterol, and stigmasterol.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antitumour Activity of Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn. Roots / Anbu Jeba Sunilson et al / IRANIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS • Vol 7 No 1, pp 123-125, Jan 2008.

(2) Antioxidant and Antimutagenic Properties of Hibiscus Tiliaceus L. Methanolic Extract / Renato Moreira Rosa et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2006, 54 (19), pp 7324–7330 / DOI: 10.1021/jf061407b

(3) Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Hibiscus tiliaceus Leaves / Narender, Sunil Kumar et al / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research 2009, 1(1): 15-17

(4) Protective effects of Hibiscus tiliaceus L. methanolic extract to V79 cells against cytotoxicity and genotoxicity induced by hydrogen peroxide and tert-butyl-hydroperoxide / Renato Moreira Rosa et al / Toxicology in Vitro • Volume 21, Issue 8, December 2007, Pages 1442-1452 / doi:10.1016/j.tiv.2007.06.004

(5) Evaluation of Antioxidant, Anti-tyrosinase and Antibacterial Activities of Selected Hibiscus Species / S.K. Wong, Y.Y. Lim, and E.W.C. Chan / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 781-96. 2010.

(6) Sorting Hibiscus names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne

(7) CHARACTERISTICS AND PROPERTIES OF HIBISCUS YARN / Thepthida Arrak * Suthusanee Boonyobhas, Sakorn Chonsakorn, and Rattanaphol Mongkholrattanasit / RMUTP International Conference: Textiles & Fashion 2012 July 3-4, 2012, Bangkok Thailand

(8) Phytochemical and anti-ulcer investigations of 95% ethanolic- benzene-chloroform leaf extract of Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn. in albino rat model / Mukesh Chandra Sharma*, Smita Sharmaa, Dharm Veer Kohlib / Annals of Biological Research, 2010, 1 (1) : 15-20

(9) Evaluation of Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn Wood Extract / PS Borhade*, PS Dalal, AD Pachauri, KD Lone, NA Chaudhari and PK Rangari / International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 3 (3) Jul – Sep2012


(11) Antidepressant-like effects of methanol extract of Hibiscus tiliaceus flowers in mice / Cláudia Vanzella, Paula Bianchetti, Sabrina Sbaraini, Samanta Inês Vanzin, Maria Inês Soares Melecchi, Elina Bastos Caramão and Ionara Rodrigues Siqueira* / Vanzella et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:41

(12) Evaluation of Antioxidant, Anti-Tyrosinase and Antibacterial Activities of Selected Hibiscus Species / S.K. Wong, Y.Y. Lim1 and E.W.C. Chan * / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 781-96. 2010.

– Bark is mucilaginous.
– Considered aperitive, emollient, emetic, diuretic, febrifuge, sudorific, and laxative.

Parts used
Flowers, bark and roots.

• In the Pacific Islands, the bark is sometimes used as famine food.
• Roots used as food Queensland aborigines.
• Bark used as famine food.

• Macerated fresh bark in water is mucilaginous and used for dysentery.
• Infusion of roots used for fevers.
• Flowers boiled in milk used for cure of earaches.
• Flowers used for birth control and treating skin infections.
• In Amboina and Pahang, foot infusion used for fevers.
• In Java, decoction of roots used for fever.
• In Brazil, infusion of roots used as diuretic and febrifuge.
• Roots used in preparation of embrocation.
• In Mexico, roots and bark are used as aperitive, emollient, sudorific and laxative.
• Root preparation used externally for sprains and strains.
• In Indo-China, leaves used as laxative and resolutive.
• In Biduanda, leaves are rubbed over swellings.
• In Java, young leaves are boiled with sugar for bronchitis and coughs.
• Leaves and flowers used as emollient; used for ulcers.
• In China, flowers used for headache.
• In Brazil, infusion of seeds used as an emetic; infusion of roots used as diuretic and febrifuge.
• In the Antilles, decoction of flowers and root-bark used as laxative and emollient.

• Fiber: Bast fibers make a strong rope; also for making string and hog traps.


Study Findings
• Antitumor Activity / Roots:Study of antitumor activity of the roots of Hibiscus tiliaceus against Dalton’s ascitic lymphoma in mice showed a significant enhancement of survival time with inhibition of tumor cell growth.
• Antioxidant / Antimutagenic / Flowers: Study on the methanolic flower extract of HT showed the a clear antioxidant activity, attributed to vitamins and phytosterols. Extract also showed significant antimutagenic action against oxidative mutagens in S cerevisiae.
• Antioxidant / Flowers:Aqueous flower extract of H tiliaceus exhibited significant reducing power and free radical scavenging. The antioxidant activities were concentration dependent. The total phenolic content were gallic acid equivalents and the total flavonoids as catechin equivalents.
• Antiproliferative / Cytotoxicity: Study showed the acetone extract of HS exhibited better cytotoxic effect on lung cancer cells than the methanol and water extract. Results show HS-AE exerts significant dose-dependent anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory: Study on the different leaf extracts of H tiliaceus showed significant anti-inflammatory activity and antinociceptive activity on two types of noxious stimuli.
• Antimutagenic / Antigenotoxic: Study showed the methanolic extract strongly inhibited the mutagenic action of hydrogen peroxide and tert-butyl-hydroperoxide. Results showed antioxidant activity and both antigenotoxic and antimutagenic effects against oxidative DNA damage.
• Antioxidant / Antityrosinase: The flowers and leaves of six Hibiscus species were studies for antioxidant, antityrosinase and antibacterial activities. The leaves and flowers of H. tiliaceus showed outstanding antioxidant property. Leaves of TH had the strongest antityrosinase activity. Results suggest HT have the potential for development into functional food and skin care products.
• Hibiscus Yarn: Study evaluated the characteristics and properties of Hibiscus tiliaceus fiber of different ages. Results showed the 4-month H. tiliaceus fiber could produce the smallest and longest yarn (45 meters) while the 3-month yarn had the highest average strength (111.39 N). The differences on physical properties of fiber and yarn of different ages were statistically significant at level of 0.5.
• Immunomodulatory / Leaves: Study evaluated the immunomodulatory effect of a methanolic leaf extract of H. tiliaceus in pyrogallol induced immunosuppressed Wistar rats. Oral administration of the MLHT showed dose-dependent immunomodulatory effect in Wistar rats with significant effect on both humoral and cellular immunity. The results may be attributed to the polyphenols and flavonoid content of the extract.
• Antiulcer / Leaves: Study evaluated fresh leaf extracts of H. tiliaceus for anti-ulcer activity in albino rats. Results showed pretreatment of extract showed significant reduction in lesion index, total area affected and percentage of lesion in cold restraint stress-induced and pylorus ligation ulcer models.
• Anti-inflammatory / Wood / Safety Study: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of a methanolic wood extract in experimental acute and chronic inflammatory animal models. Results showed dose-dependent significant results with the 200 and 4000 mg/kg body weight extracts. The acute toxicity study showed the methanolic extract of plant wood to be safe up to 200 mg/kbw.
• Antidiabetic / Hypolipidemic / Flowers: Study evaluated the antidiabetic and hypolipidemic activities of a methanolic extract of flowers of H. tiliaceus in STZ-induced diabetic wistar rats. Results showed antidiabetic activity with significant improvement in body weight. There was also significant reduction of serum cholesterol and triglycerides, with improvement of HDL levels.
• Antidepressant / Flowers: Study evaluated a methanol flower extract of HT for antidepressant, anxiolytic, and sedative effects in animal models. Results showed an antidepressant-like action without sedative side effect.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Tyrosinase / Flowers: In a study of leaves and flowers of selected Hisbiscus species, the leaves and flowers of H. tiliaceus showed outstanding antioxidant property. The leaves showed the strongest antityrosinase activity. The AOP and AT activities suggest potentials for used in functional food and skin care products.