Family • Melastomataceae - Melastoma malabathricum Linn. - SINGAPORE RHODODENDRON - Ye mu dan

Common names

Bubtoi (Sbl.)
Malatungau (Ibn.)
Malatungaw (Tag.)
Yagomyum (C. Bis.)
Singapore rhododendron (Engl.)
Malabar melastome (Engl.)

Scientific names

Melastoma malabathricum Linn.
Melastoma heterostegium Naud.
Melastoma fuseum Merr.
Melastoma congestum Elm.

Other vernacular names

CHINA: Ye mu dan.
INDIA: Shapti (Hindi), Bobuchunmei, Rongmei, Rindha, Palore (Marathi), Palore (Malayalam), Nekkarike (Telugu), Ankerki, Kinkenrika (Kannada), Gongoi, Koroti (Oriya), Myetpyai (Konkani), Phutuki, Phutkala (Assamese).
INDONESIA: Harendong, Senggani, Kemanden, Kluruk.
MALAYSIA: Senduduk, Sekedudok, Sikadudok, Kendudok, Kedudok, Sedudok, Lingangadi, Gosing-gosing, Gagabang, Ngongodo, Gata-gata, Kelarit.
NEPAL: Diklak, Gabrasai, Koilar, Anguri, Tun kaphal, Angeri, Kali angeri Thulo chulesi, Chulesi, Lemlang.
PALAU: Matakul.
SRI LANKA: Bowitiya, Mahabowitiya, Katakaloowa.
THAILAND: Khlong khleng, Khlongkhleng khee nok, Mang khre, Mang re, Re, Bre, Kadu-da, Chuk naaree.
VIETNAM: Mua da hung, Mua se.

Malatungau is a spreading shrub growing to a height of 2 meters. Twigs and flower stalks are rough with small, triangular, upward pointing scales. Leaves are broadly lanceolate, 7 to 12 centimeters long, slightly rough and hairy on both surfaces. Flowers are 4 to 7 centimeters across, clustered, and mauve purple. Calyx is closely set with short, chaffy, silky or silvery scales. Fruit is ovoid, about 6 millimeters wide and pulpy within.


– In thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes in Zambales, Nueva Viscaya, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bataan, and Cavite Provinces in Luzon; in Mindoro; in Sibuyan; and in Negros.
– Domesticated in Baguio as an ornamental.
– Also occurs in India to Indo-China and through Malaya to New Guinea, Australia, and Madagascar.

– Study reports the extraction of three classes of compounds – triterpenoids, glycolipids and flavonoids from the leaves and flowers.
– Study of ethyl acetate extract yielded naringenin, kaempferol and kaempferol-3-O-d-glucoside.
– Study of leaves with white petals yielded flavonoids quercetin 1 and quercitrin 2.
– Phytochemical analysis of various parts have yielded flavonoids, flavan-3-ols, triterpenes, tannins, anthocyanins, saponins, steroids, glycosides, and phenolics.
– n-hexane extract yielded a-amyrin, patriscabatrine and auranamide, ethyl acetate extract gave quercetin and quercitrin, and methanol extract gave quercitrin and kaempferol-3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-p-trans-coumaroyl)glucoside.


Seeds are thinly coated with red flesh which stain the mouth when eaten.
Considered astringent, sedative, digestive, antiflatulent.

Parts used
Leaves, roots, flowers, young shoots.

– Fruit flesh is rather sweet, slightly astringent.
– Seeds are thinly coated with red flesh, staining the mouth when they are eaten.
– In Java, sour leaves, when young, eaten with other foods.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antinociceptive effect of Melastoma malabathricum ethanolic extract in mice / M R Sulaiman, M N Somchit et al / Fitoterapia, Vol 75, Issues 7-8, December 2004, Pages 667-672 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2004.07.002

(2) Antidiarrhoeal Activity of Leaves of Melastoma malabathricum Linn. / J A J Sunilson, K Anandarajagopa et al / Indian J Pharm Sci. 2009 Nov–Dec; 71(6): 691–695. / doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.59556.

(3) Anti-inflammatory Action of Components from Melastoma malabathricum. / M P Mazura et al / Summary
Pharmaceutical Biology, 2007, Vol. 45, No. 5, Pages 372-375

(4) Antioxidant and cytotoxic flavonoids from the flowers of Melastoma malabathricum L. / Deny Susanti, Hasnah M Sirat et al / Food Chemistry, Volume 107, Issue 3, 1 April 2008, Page 1275

(5) Antimicrobial Activity and Ethnomedicinal Uses of Some Medicinal Plants from Similipal Biosphere Reserve, Orissa / H N Thatoi, S K Panda et al / Asian J. Plant Sci., 7: 260-267.

(6) Melastoma malabathricum (L.) Smith Ethnomedicinal Uses, Chemical Constituents, and Pharmacological Properties: A Review / S Mohd Joffry, N J Yob, M S Rofie et al / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2012, Article ID 258434, 48 pages doi:10.1155/2012/258434

(7) BIOACTIVE CONSTITUENTS FROM THE LEAVES OF MELASTOMA MALABATHRICUM L. / Deny Susanti, Hasnah M. Sirat, Farediah Ahmad, Rasadah Mat Ali / Jurnal Ilmiah Farmasi Vol.5 No.1 Tahun 2008 1

(8) BIO-GUIDED STUDY ON MELASTOMA MALABATHRICUM LINN LEAVES AND ELUCIDATION OF ITS BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES / Mourouge Saadi Alwash, Nazlina Ibrahim and Wan Yaacob Ahmad / American Journal of Applied Sciences, Vol 10, Issue 8, pp 767-778 / DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2013.767.778

(9) Thrombocyte counts in mice after the administration of methanolic extract of Melastoma malabathricum / Sundram Karupiah*, Zhari Ismail / Journal of Coastal Life Medicine 2013; 1(4): 327-329

(10) Anthocyanins from Hibiscus sabdariffa, Melastoma malabathricum and Ipomoea batatas and its color properties / Aishah, B., 2Nursabrina, M., Noriham, A., 1Norizzah, A.R. and Mohamad Shahrimi, H. / International Food Research Journal 20(2): 827-834 (2013)

(11) Melastoma malabathricum / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(12) Acute Toxicity Evaluation, Antibacterial, Antioxidant and Immunomodulatory Effects of Melastoma malabathricum / Zahra A. Amin Alnajar*, Mahmood A. Abdulla, Hapipah M. Ali, Mohammed A. Alshawsh and A. Hamid A. Hadi / Molecules 2012, 17, 3547-3559; doi:10.3390/molecules17033547

(13) Wound Healing Activities of Melastoma malabathricum Leaves Extract in Sprague Dawley Rats / Nurdiana S.*, Marziana, N. / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 20(2), May – Jun 2013; n° 04, 20-23

(14) Hepatoprotective Activity of Methanol Extract of Melastoma malabathricum Leaf in Rats / Farah Hidayah Kamisan, Farhana Yahya, Noor Aisyah Ismail, Syafawati Shamsahal Din, Siti Syariah Mamat, Zalina Zabidi, Wan Noraziemah Wan Zainulddin, Norhafizah Mohtarrudin, Hadijah Husain, Zuraini Ahmad, Zainul Amiruddin Zakaria / Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, Volume 6, Issue 1 , Pages 52-55, February 2013

(15) Antinociceptive and Anti-inflammatory Properties of Melastoma malabathricum Leaves Chloroform Extract in Experimental Animals / Z.A. Zakaria, R.N.S. Raden Mohd Nor, M.R. Sulaiman, Z.D.F. Abdul Ghani, G. Hanan Kumar and C.A. Fatimah / Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 1: 337-345 / DOI: 10.3923/jpt.2006.337.34


– In Southeast Asian folklore medicine, leaves, shoots, bark, seeds, and roots are used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, cuts and wounds, toothache, stomachache.
– Leaves are chewed up, pounded, and applied as poultice to cuts or wounds; also, squeezed to apply the juice to stop bleeding.
– Young leaves are eaten to treat diarrhea; premature leaves are consumed raw to cure dysentery.
– Roots are used as mouthwash to relieve toothache or to treat epilepsy.
– Shoots are ingested to treat puerperal infections, high blood pressure and diabetes.
– Decoction of leaves and young shoots given for diarrhea, alone or with mangosteen bark or fruit husks.
– Boiled young shoots, alone or with extract of mangosteen husks are mixed with sambong leaves for same purpose.
– As a bath, for flatulence, acidity, and tenderness of the legs.
– Shoots taken internally for puerperal infections.
– Juice from roots applied to lessen the soreness associated with thrush in children.
– Powdered leaves used as astringent for dysentery.
– Juice of leaves and roots used as a digestive aid.
– Flowers used as a nervous sedative and for hemorrhoidal bleeding.
– Leaves and flowers used as astringent in leucorrhea and chronic diarrhea.
– In India, flowers are used in the treatment of cancer.
– In Tahiti, plant used for diarrhea and dysentery; decoction of the bark as gargle.
– Decoction of roots and leaves, or roots alone, given to women after childbirth.
– Powdered leaves and roots sprinkled over wounds; also sprinkled over healing pustules of smallpox to prevent scarring.
– Handful of leaves, boiled with vinegar, ginger and “bonglai,” given as decoction for leucorrhea.
– In traditional Chinese medicine, seeds used in the “poh chi” pills to treat diarrhea.


Study Findings
• Antinociceptive: Study of ethanolic extract of M malabathricum demonstrated strong dose-dependent antinociceptive effect. Naloxone, a nonselective opioid receptor antagonist blocked the antinociceptive effect suggesting MM may act both at peripheral and central levels.
• Gastroprotective / Anti-Ulcer: Study of the aqueous leaf extract of M malabathricum against ethanol-induced gastric mucosal injuries in rats showed significant and dose-dependent inhibition of ethanol-induced gastric ulcers.
• Antidiarrheal / Non-Toxicity: Study of the water extract of M malabathricum on diarrhea models in Swiss mice showed significant reduction of fecal output and protection from castor oil-induced diarrhea. No mortality or toxicity signs were observed at doses up to 2000 mg/kg dose.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study results suggest that the natural flavonoid and pentacyclic triterpenes from M malabathricum possess selective antagonistic activity toward platelet activating factor (PAF) and may be a potential candidate as an anti-inflammatory compound.
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Study of flower extracts and isolated compounds showed radical scavenging activity. Naringenin and kaempferol-3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-p-trans-coumaroyl)glucoside showed inhibition of cell proliferation of MCF7 cell line.
• Antimicrobial: In a study of ethnomedicinal uses of 40 medicinal plants and antimicrobial activity against S aureus, B licheniformis, B brevis, B subtilis, P aeruginosa, E coli among others, M malabathricum (leaf) was one of 14 plants that showed outstanding antimicrobial activity.
• Wound Healing Activity: An extract, prepared as a 5% ointment, exhibited wound healing activity with wound contracting ability, closure time, tensile strength, and regeneration of tissues at the wound site, comparable to standard drug, nitrofurazone.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory: Leaf extracts yielded n-hexane extract yielded a-amyrin, patriscabatrine and auranamide, quercetin and quercitrin, and kaempferol-3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-p-trans-coumaroyl)glucoside. Quercetin, quercitrin, and kaempferol-3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-p-trans-coumaroyl)glucoside showed strong activities with FTP radical scavenging assay. a-Amyrin and kaempferol showed the strongest activity in the anti-inflammatory assay.
• In vitro Anticoagulant Activity: An aqueous leaf extract was observed to possess potent anticoagulant property, affecting the intrinsic pathway of coagulation cascade by causing clotting factor/s deficiency.
• Antibacterial / Antioxidative / Cytotoxicity: Study evaluated a methanol extract of leaves and fractions of Melastoma malabathricum for antibacterial activity, and antioxidative and cytotoxic effects. Results showed antibacterial activity against all test bacterial pathogens. Further testing showed cytotoxicity and antioxidative effects.
• Increased Thrombocyte / Platelet Count: Study investigated the effect of a methanolic extract of M. malabathricum in thrombocyte counts in mice. Results showed a significant rise in thrombocytes/platelets in vivo with an increment of 51.64% compared to baseline count, and suggests a potential remedy in treating thrombocytopenic conditions.
• Anthocyanins / Colorants: Anthocyanins are water soluble plant pigments commonly found in varous fruits and vegetables. Study showed the potential useage of H. sabdariffa, M. malabathricum and I batatas as natural coloring agents to replace synthetic colorants used in the food and beverage industries.
• Antiulcer / Leaf Extract: An ethanol leaf extract exhibited significant and dose-dependent antiulcer activity in both ethanol-induced and indomethacin-induced ulcer models.
• Antibacterial / Antioxidant / Immunomodulatory / Toxicity Evaluation: Study of ethanol and aqueous extracts showed abilities to scavenge DPPH and ABTS free radicals. The MM extract was shown to be safe at high dose with no oral toxicity. Also, the extract showed high activity against S. aureus and S. agalactiae. Immunomodulatory activity was evidenced by increased percentage of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
• Wound Healing Activity: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of M. malabathricum on Sprague Dawley rats. An aqueous extract of leaves showed the highest concentration of flavonoids and also the presence of tannins wich improved the wound healing activity for the excised wound.
• Hepatoprotective Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated a methanol extract of leaves for hepatoprotective activity in rat models. The methanol extract showed significant hepatoprotective activity against both inducers (paracetamol and carbon tetrachloride), attributed possibly to phychemical constituents.
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study of a chloroform extract of leaves of Melastoa malabathricum showed significant antinociceptive, mediated via peripheral and central mechanisms, and anti-inflammatory activity.