Melochia corchorifolia densiflora K.Schum.
Waltheria americana L.
Waltheria elliptica Cav.
Waltheria laxa Thulin
Waltheria indica is a short-lived, perennial plant producing several erect or ascending stems that that can be branched from the base. The stems become more or less woody and persist. The plant can grow from 0.5 - 2 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use and is also the source of a fibre.
Widely spread through the tropics and subtropics.
Woodland and bushland; often on rocky hills or on gravelly soil; river-beds; humid sand of depressions; dune and sandy, grassy plains; flooded areas; also ruderal; savannah; cultivated ground; at elevations up to 1,650 metres in Africa[
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Succeeds in a wide range of soils.
The plant is a ubiquitous weed and early colonizer in disturbed ground, tolerant of a wide spectrum of habitats and elevations[
]. It is considered to be invasive in many areas[
The plant can flower and produce fruit all year round[
Whereas Waltheria indica plants from Central America are homostylous, plants in India are reported as heterostylous[3.
The plant (part not specified) is antisiphylitic and febrifuge[
A decoction of various plant parts is taken as a treatment for fever and syphilis[
]. It is applied externally on skin eruptions and wounds[
A decoction of the leafy stems is taken to relieve fevers, coughs, colds, bladder ailments, vaginal infections, hypertension, ulcers and as a remedy for haemoptysis[
A decoction of the root is given as an antidiarrhoeal and general tonic to children[
]. It is also used as a cough medicine and for healing wounds[
A general screening of the plant revealed the presence of some general flavonoids and caffeic acid[
Three peptide alkaloids have been isolated: adouétine X, Y and Z[
]. Adouétine Z (in the form of its amidosulphonate) acts as a sedative of the central nervous system and as a stimulant of the medulla. In dogs it produces hypertension, slows down the heartbeat, and has a relaxing action on the smooth muscle fibres of the intestine[
Two antifungal flavonoids have been isolated from the chloroform extract of the plant. The first showed high antifungal activity against Candida albicans and low activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes, while the second showed moderate antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger and Trichophyton mentagrophytes[
A total aqueous extract of the plant showed in vitro antibacterial activity against 3 entero-bacteria: Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi and Shigella dysenteriae at a minimum inhibitory concentration of 5, 2.5 and 2.5 mg/ml, respectively[
|The bark yields a fibre similar to jute (Corchorus spp.), but is of no commercial interest[
Seed - the fruit is a small, round, dry capsule containing one seed. Collect the tiny capsules when they are mature, but before they have turned completely brown. Dry them in a paper container for about a week and sift the resulting material though a strainer to separate the seeds. Sow the seeds on the surface of a planting mix; gently firm the seeds into the soil; place them in a shaded area and keep the mix damp until germination, although be careful to avoid excessive moisture. Germination takes 1 to 3 months[
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