Uses of Abutilon Indicum

The Indian mallow (Abutilon Indicum), also called Atibala in India, is a tropical or semitropical plant in the mallow family. It’s a small shrub that rarely grows taller than 6 feet. Its small yellow-orange flowers resemble the tropical hibiscus flower, to which it is related. Used as herbal medicine in many countries, the Indian mallow plant is said to be useful for a wide range of ailments, from colds to diarrhea.

Ear Problems

Herbalist David Bruce Leonard reports on his website, Medicine At Your Feet, that the Indian mallow is used for deafness, earaches and ringing in the ears in China. The entire plant is chopped or ground and used to prepare a tea or decoction that is drunk to relieve the symptoms of ear problems. An herbal oil is sometimes made with this plant’s leaves and flowers and then dropped into the ears.

Lung Ailments

In China and India, Abutilon indicum has long been used to treat diseases of the lungs, such as tuberculosis and all types of coughs and bronchitis. All parts of the plant are boiled down into a decoction and drunk as a strong tea that is said to relieve the symptoms of these ailments.

Colds and Fevers

Colds and fevers are other ailments the Abutilon indicum plant is said to help, in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The aerial portions of this plant are simmered to produce an infusion that when consumed several times each day is said to relieve the symptoms of colds and fevers.

Diarrhea and Worms

Seeds of the Indian mallow plant are used in China and India to help alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea and to rid the body of certain worms, such as threadworms. Seeds are crushed in a mortar and pestle and then simmered to make a tea, which is said to help the body rid itself of not only worms but also of irritants that can cause diarrhea.

Keywords: Abutilon indicum, Indian mallow Atibala, medicinal plants herbs

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.