Sunday, November 30, 2008

Abelmoschus esculentus

Family : Malvaceae

Synonym(s) : Hibiscus esculentus L.

English Name:
Lady's Finger, Bindi, Gombo, Gumbo, Okra, Lady's finger, Gumbo.


Annual herbaceous shrub growing to a height from 3 feet in dwarf varieties to 7 or 8 feet in others. Leaves orbicular, 5-7 lobed, lobes ovate to oblong, obtuse or acute, base cordate, margin crenate to coarsely serrate; petiole 1-6cm; stipules linear. 0.5-1.5 cm. The flowers are hermaphrodite, solitary, axillary, pedicels 2-3 cm. Epicalyx segments 7-12, free, linear, 1-2 cm. Calyx c. 2 cm. Corolla yellow, sometimes with red base 4.5-7 cm across. Staminal tube c 2 cm, pollen-bearing throughout. The fruit is a long pod, generally ribbed, and spineless in cultivated kinds. They attain lengths of 6 to 8 inches, and up to 1 inch or more in diameter.

Active Ingredients

Alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, folacin, methionine, niacin, thiamin, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine (fruit); alpha-tocopherol (oil); ascorbic acid (plant); gossypol, linoleic acid, oleic acid (seed); quercetin (flower)

Herb Effects

Fungitoxic against Helminthosporium oryzae (seed extract); inhibits growth of cancerous cells (seed); diuretic, demulcent and emollient (fruit capsule); as dietary protein sources (seed); gastroprotective.

Medicinal Use

Gonorrhoea and problems with the urogenital system (mucilage of fruit); catarrh and throat problems (fruit capsule); as a poultice (leaf and fruit capsule); gonorrhea (roots and leaves);the immature capsules is demulcent, diuretic and emollient; the seeds are antispasmodic, cordial, stimulant and allay thirst, cure stomatitis, dyspepsia, urinary discharge,leucoderma and itch.

  1. Chandel et al., Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.
  2. Johnson T. Medicinal Plants (Bentley and Trimen), CRC Ethnobotany Desk Reference (

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