Family • Convolvulaceae - Calonyction muricatum (Linn.) G. Don - LILAC BELL - Tian ji er

Scientific names

Calonyction muricatum (Linn.) G. Don
Convolvulus muricatus Linn.
Convolvulus colubrinus Blanco
Ipomoea muricata Jacq.
Ipomoea petiolaris (Kunth) G. Don
Ipomoea turbinata Lag.

Common names

Tonkin (Tag.)
Tunkin (Tag.)
Lilac bell (Engl.)
Purple moonflower (Engl.)
Tian ji er (Chin.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Phytopharmacologic studies of Ipomoea muricata seeds / M L Gupta, J P Tewari et al / Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 56, Issue 6, pages 771–773, June 1967 / Publ OnLine 17 Sept 2006.

(2) Medicinal plants used by the tribal and rural people of Satna district, Madhya Pradesh for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and diseases / S N Dwivedi, Sangeeta Dwivedi and P C Patel / Natural Product Radiance

(3) Studies on alkaloids from seed of Calonyction muricatum / Ying-Ming Wang, Xiao-Juan Li et al / CHINESE. TRADITIONAL AND HERBAL DRUGS, 2002, 33 (2)

Tunkin is a smooth, climbing vine. Stems are rough, with small tuberculous outgrowths or prickles. Leaves are smooth, soft, heart-shaped, 5 to 10 centimeters long, and tapering abruptly into a narrow point at the tip. Flowers are large, 5 to 6 centimeters long, pale purple, and borne singly or in small-stalked clusters resembling the morning glory. Fruit is rounded, 10 to 15 millimeters in diameter. Seeds are polished, black, and smooth.



– Introduced from tropical America.
– Found in cultivation in Pampanga, Luzon.

– Seeds have yielded indolizidine alkaloids, two resin glycosides and muricatins VII and VIII.

– Seeds considered purgative, vulnerary and antidotal.
– Considered analgesic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antifungal.

Parts used
Seeds, plant juice.

– In the Philippines, seeds are used for wound healing.
– Used as efficacious antidotal remedy.
– Also used as purgative.
– Seeds used as substitute for Ipomoea hederacea, sharing the same medicinal properties.
– Juice of the plant used as insecticide and for destroying bedbugs.
– Rural people of Madhya Pradesh use the immature floral pedicels as appetizer and digestive capacity.
– Seeds, stems and leaves used for various skin ailments – gangrenous wounds,, cuts, and burn blisters.
– In Vedic myth and Hindu practice, used as aphrodisiac; mystically, used in tantric lovemaking, with the salve rubbed into the forehead ‘third eye.’

Study Findings
• Glycoside Muricatin / Pharmacologic Activities: Seeds yielded a glycoside muricatin which showed to be a cardiac depressant, spasmolytic to the smooth musculature of the gut, and blood pressure lowering on the anesthetized dog.
• Seed Alkaloids: Study of seeds yielded five nitrogen indene alkaloids: ipalbidine, ipalbidinium, ipaldinium, isolpomine and ipomine.