Atibala (Indian Mallow) Abutilon indicum Information, Uses and More

Atibala, Kanghi, Kakhi, Kakhiya, Petari, Country Mallow, Flowering Maples, Chinese Bell-flowers, Indian mallow, Kanghi, Kakahi, Kakahiya are few common names of plant Abutilon indicum. It is a medicinal plant with showy golden-yellow flowers and used in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani system of medicine for preparation of many medicines. Traditionally, all parts of plant are used for medicinal purpose.

By Yercaud-elango (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Yercaud-elango (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Atibala is used for medicinal purpose since ancient times. For medicinal purpose, all parts of plant (leaves, roots, seeds) are used. Atibala is aphrodisiac and nervine tonic. It is diuretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic. Atibala is used in inflammation, piles, gonorrhea, impotence, low libido, infertility, sperm loss, debility and as an immune stimulant.

Acharya Charak gave extract of whole plant for fever, weakness and joint problems. It was used as Rasayan to promote health and keep diseases at bay. It treats wounds, ulcers and vaginal infections.

Root and bark are used as aphrodisiac, anti-diabetic, nervine tonic, and diuretic. They have diuretic and anthelmintic properties. The roots reduces fever, nerves weakness and helps in urinary problems. They are given for neurological disorders (hemiplegia, facial paralysis, sciatica) and debility.

Leaves are astringent and stop Bleeding and are helpful in bleeding piles, diarrhea etc.

Seeds are very nutritive and strengthening. They are aphrodisiac, emollient and demulcent. They contain about 30 % protein of good quality. They are used for treating impotency, loss of semen (spermatorrhoea) and low libido. The seeds are also used in urinary disorders, as a laxative in piles and in the treatment of cough.

General Information

Plant Description: Abutilon indicum, is a perennial plant with very finely downy branches. It is hairy herb or under-shrub reaching upto a height of 1.0-1.5 m.

The leaves of plant are simple, alternate, stipulated, 1.9—5 cm long, broadly ovate, very cordate at base, acute, irregularly and coarsely dentate. Petioles are very long, 2.5—7.5 cm.

Flowers are regular, bisexual, orange yellow, solitary and axillary and of 2.5 cm diameter. Sepals are 5, fused into a 5-lobed, cup-shaped calyx. Lobes are shallow, apiculate. Petals 5, convolute, adnate to stamen-tube; stamens numerous, fused into a tube.

Ovary is superior, 10-carpellary. style pass through the stamen-tube and dividing into 5 branches each terminating in a capitate stigma. Seeds minutely dotted.

Tap roots are fairly long with a number of lateral branches, 1.5-2 cm in diameter, light brown, outer surface smooth with dot like lenticels, bark thin and can be easily peeled off, odour, feeble, taste, astringent and bitter.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of Atibala / Indian mallow is Abutilon indicum. It belongs to plant family Malvaceae.

Malvaceae includes herbs, shrubs, or less often trees. It consists of about 82 genera, 9 subfamilies and more than 1,500 species, distributed more abundantly in warm and temperate regions. There are about 22 genera and 125 species of this family in India.

Plants of the family bears flowers which are often showy and beautiful. They mostly have five petals and sepals and a filament.

Most of the plants belonging to this family contain free mucilage, and, generally speaking, have emollient, laxative, anti-bilious, and antiscorbutic properties. Some members yield volatile oils which are stimulant, diaphoretic, and diuretic. The seeds are often oleaginous. Very few species have toxic properties.

Some of the economically important plants belonging to Malvaceae are, The cotton plant (Gossypiurn sp.), Corchorus (Jute), Hibiscus, Okra (A. esculentus), Bombax (Silk cotton tree), Marshmallow (Althaea ojficinalis Linn.) and Sida.

Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.

  • Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (Vascular plants)
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta (Seed plants)
  • Division: Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
  • Class: Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
  • Subclass: Dilleniidae
  • Order: Malvales
  • Family: Malvaceae – Mallow family
  • Genus: Abutilon Mill. – Indian mallow
  • Species: Abutilon indicum (L.)


  • Abutilon asiaticum W.&A.
  • Sida indica Linn.
  • Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Fruit, leaves, seed and roots
  • Plant type / Growth Habit: Shrub Subshrub
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Distribution: Hotter parts of India, in the sub-Himalayan tract and other hills up to 1200 m.
  • Habitat: Warm, temperate regions, as a common weed on road sides and other waste places in plains and hills.
  • Group: Dicot
  • Unani: Mizaj (Temperament): Hot2 Moist1

Vernacular names / Synonyms

  1. Scientific name: Abutilon indicum (L.) Sweet ssp. Indicum
  2. Sanskrit: Atibala, Balika, Balya, Bhuribala, Ghanta, Rishiprokta, Shita, Shitapushpa, Vikantaka, Vatyapushpika, Vrishyagandha, Vrishyagandhika
  3. Siddha: Thuthi
  4. Unani: Kanghi, Kangahi, Kakahiya, Kakahi, Beejband surkh, siyah
  5. Hindi: Kanghi
  6. Assamese: Jayavandha, Jayapateri
  7. Bengali: Badela
  8. Kannada: Shrimudrigida, Mudragida, Turube
  9. Kashmiri: Kath
  10. Malayalam: Uram, Katuvan, Urubam, Urabam, Vankuruntott, Oorpam, Tutti
  11. Marathi: Chakrabhendi, Petari, Mudra
  12. Maharashtra: Peeli booti, karandi
  13. Oriya: Pedipidika
  14. Punjabi: Kangi, Kangibooti
  15. Rajasthan: Tara-Kanchi, Kanghi, Debi, Jhili, Itwari
  16. Tamil: Nallatutti, Paniyarattutti, Perundutti, Tutti, Vaddattutti
  17. Folk: Kanghi, Kakahi, Kakahiyaa
  18. Arabic: Musht-ul-ghoul
  19. Sinhalese: Anoda
  20. English: Country Mallow, Flowering Maples, Chinese Bell-flowers, Indian mallow

Constituents of Abutilon indicum

The leaves contain mucilage, tannin, amino acids, glucose, fructose, galactose, gallic acid sesquiterpene alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, triterpenoids, saponins, cardiac glycosides and asparagin (11.5 %). Asparagin has diuretic activities.

Mucilage present in the plant protects the mucous membrane, urinary system and helps in gastro-intestinal inflammations, lesions and ulcers. Mucilage is diuretic and demulcent (relieve irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth by forming a protective film). It reduces acidity.

Tannin is astringent and stops bleeding on topical application and diarrhea on oral use.

Roots contain fatty acids (linoleic, oleic, stearic, palmitic, lauric, myristic, caprylic, capric etc.).

Flowers contain seven flavonoid compounds including quercetin and its glycosides.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action (Atibala)

In Ayurveda, term Atibala is used for roots of plant Abutilon indicum. Atibala is sweet in taste (Rasa), sweet after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya).

Atibala is a Madhur Vipak herb. Madhur-Vipak digests into sweet. It has building, moistening and nourishing effect on body. It is heavy to digest and reduces metabolism. It is cooling and reduces swelling. It increases Kapha and decreases Pitta. Madhur Vipak has Anabolic effect on body.

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Madhura (Sweet)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Snigdha (Unctuous)
  • Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Madhura (Sweet)
  • Action / Karma
  • Balya, Vrishya: Increases strength
  • Vatahara: Pacify Vata/Wind.
  • Grahi: Inspissants, stomachic, digestive and heating qualities dry the fluids of the bod
  • Shukral: Improves sperms.
  • Mutral: Diuretic.

Atibala is a Sheet Virya herb. Sheet Virya or Cool potency herb, subdues Pitta (Bile) Vata (Wind) and increases Kapha (Mucus). Sheet Virya herb gives nourishment to body and steadiness. It supports building of body fluids.

Atibala roots are used in Ayurveda for treatment of bleeding disorders (Raktapitta), gout (Vatahar) and urinary disorders (Meha).

Atibala is a nourishing, strength promoting with Rasayana and fetal growth promoting action. A study was done to find role of Atibala (abutilon indicum) in garbha sthapaka and garbha vruddhikara prabhava in pregnant women with history of repeated abortion by Department of Kaumarabritya Prasuti Stree Roga Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research Gujarat Ayurved University Jamnagar.

The study was designed to find out the effect of Atibala as a single drug for Garbhasthapaka prabhava and Garbha vruddhikara prabhava in pregnancy with repeated abortion history. Sixty pregnant women of second and third trimester were included and they were divided into two groups. The effect of Atibala was compared to that of combination of Amalaki, Godanthi and Garbhapalarasa (Amalaki group). Studying results of Atibala and Amalaki groups during the treatment or after no abortion took place.

The study concluded Ati Bala (Abutilon indicum) powder is highly effective for fetal development in compared with powder of Amalaki, Godanthi Bashma and Garbhapala rasa in pregnant women who have previous repeated abortions due to Garbhasthapaka (beneficial for maintenance of pregnancy) and Garbha Vriddhikara Prabhava (Promote fetal development).

Important Formulations

Atibala is generally as used an ingredient in preparation of Ayurvedic medicated oil used externally for massaging in Vatavyadhi (diseases due to Vata dosha) such as gout, rheumatism, facial palsy, paraplegia etc.

  1. Bala Taila
  2. Narayan Taila
  3. Mahanarayan Taila

Important Medicinal Properties

Abutilon indicum is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it.

Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

  1. Antioxidant: Seeds, Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
  2. Anti-inflammatory: Leaves, Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  3. Antifungal: Leaves, inhibit fungal infections.
  4. Analgesic: Roots, Relieve pain.
  5. Anti-convulsant: Leaves, Prevent or reduce the severity of epileptic fits or other convulsions.
  6. Anti-diarrheal: Leaves, gives relief in diarrhoea.
  7. Antidiabetic: Leaves, controls diabetes level.
  8. Anti-estrogenic: Estrogen antagonist.
  9. Demulcent: Seeds-Leaves, Relieving inflammation or irritation.
  10. Diuretic: Seeds-Root extract, Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
  11. Hepatoprotective: Whole plant, Prevent damage to the liver.
  12. Hypoglycemic: Leaves, Reducing level of the sugar glucose in the blood.
  13. Immunomodulatory: Leaves, Modifies the immune response or the functioning of the immune system.
  14. Laxative: Seed-Leaves, Tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
  15. Lipid lowering: Leaves, lowers lipid.

Medicinal Uses of Abutilon indicum (Atibala)

Atibala is used both internally and externally. It possess potent anti-hemorrhagic, diuretic, demulcent and laxative properties. Its topical application stops bleeding from wounds and heals ulcers, wounds and infections. The seeds give strength and vigor.

  1. Aphrodisiac, piles, cough: The seeds are used.
  2. Bleeding piles: The leaves are cooked and eaten.
  3. Dental problems: Leaf juice and root are taken orally.
  4. Indigestion: Leaves made into a chutney and consumed.


1. Root extract is taken orally twice a day for two weeks to cure piles.

2. Atibala Abutilon indicum leaves + Makoi (Solanum nigrum) leaves + kali mirch ( Piper nigrum seeds), are ground and paste is taken in dose of 5 grams for 2 weeks.

3. Leaves paste of Atibala is taken in dose of 5 grams for one month.

Rheumatism: Paste of leaves prepared with mustard oil applied externally.

Toothache and tender gums: As mouthwash decoction of leaves is used.

Ulcers: juice of the leaves prepared into an ointment is applied.

Urinary problems, strangury and hematuria: The roots of plant are used due to diuretic activities.

Vaginal infections, wounds and ulcers: Decoction of leaves is used.

Dosage of Abutilon indicum

  1. Leaf powder is taken in dose of 5-7 grams.
  2. Seed powder is taken in dose of 1-3 grams. Seed Extract is taken in dose of 125 mg-500 mg.
  3. Root powder is taken in dose of 3-6 grams. Root extract is taken in dose of 250mg-750mg.

Maximum dose of root powder or seed powder is 12 grams.

Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings Abutilon indicum

  1. It is cool in potency and may increase phlegm.
  2. It reduces Pitta.
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