Clavillia - Mirabilis jalapa Clavillia - Mirabilis jalapa

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(Mirabilis jalapa)

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Mirabilis jalapa Clavillia - Mirabilis jalapa PLANT

Clavillia - Mirabilis jalapa


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  • Family: Nyctaginaceae
    Genus: Mirabilis
    Species: jalapa
    Synonyms: Mirabilis lindheimeri, M. dichotoma, M. odorata
    Common Names: Clavillia, four-o’clocks, jalap, maravilla, bonina,
    boa-noite, bonita, a’bbass, beauty of the night, belle de nuit, bella di notte, buenas tardes, bunga pukul empat, dondiego de noche, false jalap, flower of a’bbas, gecesefase, geje safa, gulabbas, gulbank, gulbas, isabelitta, morning rose, marvel of Peru, nodja, noche buena, numera, pathrachi, sanji phuli, segerat, slavelilla, tiare moe, tzu mo li, ubat jerawat, zi mo li
    Part Used: Leaves, root, flowers

    From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

    Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • kills viruses
  • kills parasites
  • Roots
  • kills bacteria
  • reduces spasms
  • Infusion: 1/2 cup twice daily
  • kills fungi
  • increases urination
  • Tincture: 1-2 ml twice daily
  • strongly laxative
  • Capsules: 1 g twice daily
  • aids digestion

    Clavillia is a perennial herb that reaches a height of 50-100 cm from a tuberous root. Some cultivated hybrid species also can grow up to a meter in height. It produces beautiful flowers that usually open around 4 o'clock in the afternoon-hence its common name, four o'clocks. It is a popular ornamental plant grown worldwide for the beauty of its flowers (which can be white, red, pink, purple, or multicolored) and their sweet fragrance. It was officially botanically recorded in 1753 although it already had long been distributed as an ornamental plant throughout the tropics of the world. There is some disagreement about where it came from originally: Mexico, Chile, or India. Today, clavillia is naturalized throughout the tropics of South America, Latin America, France, and India. In Brazil the plant is known as clavillia, maravilha, or bonina; in Peru it is known as jalapa or maravilla. Hybrids of clavillia can be found in nurseries throughout the U.S. where they are sold as ornamental landscape plants.


    The indigenous people of the Amazon enjoy the beauty of clavillia's flowers as much as city dwellers, and often plant it in their gardens. They employ the plant medicinally as well. Indigenous Peruvian people use a root decoction as a diuretic; the Shipibo-Conibo Indians put the flowers in baths to treat colds and flu. In Brazil, the Kayapo Indians inhale the powdered, dried flowers as a snuff for headaches, and use a root decoction to wash wounds and to treat such skin afflictions as leprosy. The Assuraní Indians in Brazil crush the seeds to use as a peppery condiment on foods, and grate the tuberous root into cold water and drink it for intestinal parasites. The tribal people of Orissa, India grind the roots of the plant into a paste with black pepper and take it orally for conjunctivitis. They also apply the juice of the leaves to fungal infections of the skin.

    These indigenous practices impelled clavillia's presence in herbal medicine systems around the world. In Peru, the plant and/or tuber is used as a diuretic, laxative, and bowel cleanser. The juice of the flower is used to clear herpes lesions and for earaches. In Brazilian herbal medicine, a paste is made of the leaf and flower and applied to affections of the skin such as itchiness, eczema, herpes, skin spots, and skin infections. The juice of the root is dropped into the ear for earaches. Brazilians also use the root to combat worms, intestinal parasites, leucorrhea, edema, diarrhea, dysentery, abdominal colic, syphilis, and liver affections. In Mexico, the entire plant is decocted and used for dysentery, vaginal discharge, infected wounds, and bee and scorpion stings. In the United States, the plant is used for mumps, bone fractures, and as an uterine stimulant to hasten childbirth.


    Chemical analysis of clavillia shows that it is rich in many active compounds including triterpenes, proteins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and steroids. Of particular interest to researchers is a group of amino acid-based proteins, called mirabilis antiviral proteins (MAPs). These chemicals have shown specific antiviral and antifungal actions. They are produced in the seeds, roots, and young shoots, and help the plant protect against various plant viruses and soil-borne fungi. In 1994, a Japanese tobacco company was awarded a U.S. patent on the MAPs in clavillia as being effective in protecting economically-important crops (such as tobacco, corn, and potatoes) from a large variety of plant viruses (such as tobacco mosaic virus, spotted leaf virus and root rot virus). Researchers in Hong Kong isolated another MAP in the roots of clavillia with the same antiviral actions, and also noted, "The MAP demonstrated to possess abortifacient [abortion-causing] activity in pregnant mice, inhibitory effects on cell-free protein synthesis, and antiproliferative effects on tumor cells." The MAPs found in clavillia have shown to inhibit cellular processes in viral cells.

    The highest concentration of MAPs are found in the seeds of the plant, followed by the roots, then leaves. The seeds, however, are a significant source of other peptide chemicals with actions similar to the neurotoxic peptides found in spider venom. These peptides are in the same classification as (and act similarly to) another plant-derived toxic peptide, ricin (now being employed as a biological weapon). As compared with ricin, though, clavillia's peptides are only about 1/30th as toxic. Because of this toxicity, though, the seeds are not generally used in herbal medicine systems (despite researchers' documentation of the significant antimicrobial actions attributed to them).

    Clavillia's main chemicals include: alanine, alpha-amyrins, arabinose, beta amyrins, betalamic acid, betanin, brassicasterol, beta-sitosterols, 2-carbosyarabinitol, campesterol, daucosterol, d-glucan, dopamine, hexacosan-1-ol, indicaxanthin, isobetanin, 6-methoxyboeravinone C, methylabronisoflavone, mirabilis antiviral proteins, mirabilis peptides, miraxanthins, n-dotriacontane, n-hentriacontane, n-heptacosane, n-hexacosane, n-nonacosane, n-octacosane, n-pentacosane, n-pentatriacontane, n-tetracosane, n-tetratriacontane, n-triacontane, n-tricosane, n-tritriacontane, oleanolic acid, stigmasterol, tartaric acid, trigonelline, tryptophan, ursolic acid, and vulgaxanthin I.


    The plant and root have demonstrated other biological activities in addition to the antiviral actions of the MAPs. In 2001, researchers found new phenolic compounds in clavillia which demonstrated in vitro action against the yeast Candida albicans. A hot water extract of the flower, leaf, and root of clavillia has shown antifungal activity in another in vitro study. Other research on the leaf and branches of clavillia did not confirm any antimicrobial actions, therefore, these properties are probably attributed only to the root of the plant. In early research, the root of the plant (in water and ethanol extracts) also demonstrated mild uterine stimulant actions in rats, and antispasmodic actions in guinea pigs.


    Clavillia, the lovely, sweet-smelling ornamental, has also earned its place in herbal medicine practices around the world; its array of biological activities continue to support its use worldwide for viruses, fungi and yeast. As most research surrounding this plant's activity has occurred in the past ten years, more findings regarding clavillia's power and versatility will likely explain more of its indigenous uses and unearth new applications for it. Today, clavillia is generally employed as an antiviral herbal remedy for herpes, hepatitis, influenza and other upper respiratory viruses as well as for candida and yeast infections.

    Main Preparation Method: infusion or capsules

    Main Actions (in order):
    antiviral, antibacterial, anticandidal, antifungal, antispamodic

    Main Uses:

    1. as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial for bacterial, fungal, and viral infections
    2. for Candida and yeast infections
    3. as a bowel cleanser and laxative
    4. for skin problems (eczema, dermatitis, acne, rashes, liver spots, skin fungi, ringworm)
    5. for vaginal discharge, infections, and sexually transmitted diseases
    Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
    abortive, antibacterial, anticandidal, antifungal, antiviral, antispasmodic, uterine stimulant

    Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
    antidysenteric, antiparasitic, carminative (expels gas), detoxifier, digestive stimulant, diuretic, purgative (strong laxative), tonic (tones, balances, strengthens overall body functions), vermifuge (expels worms), wound healer

    Cautions: Do not use during pregnancy.

    Traditional Preparation: For viruses and candida generally one-half cup of a standard root infusion or 1-2 ml of a 4:1 tincture is taken twice daily. 1 gram of powdered root in capsules or tablets twice daily can be substituted if desired.


    • The seeds of the plant contain neurotoxic chemicals and should not be ingested.
    • Chemicals found in clavillia have been documented to have abortive actions. Clavillia itself has been documented with a mild uterine stimulant effect, therefore; its use during pregnancy is not advised.

    Drug Interactions: None known.

    Brazil for candida, chagas disease, colic, constipation, contusions, diarrhea, dysentery, earache, edema, eczema, freckles, herpes, hives, itch, intestinal parasites, liver problems, pain, skin problems, skin infections, syphilis, vaginal discharge, urinary insufficiency, wounds, worms
    Cuba for herpes, intestinal parasites
    Guatemala for abscesses, aches, boils, bruises, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, fungal infections, gonorrhea, inflammation, mucosal lesions, ringworm, scrofula, skin problems, sores, ulcers (skin), vaginal discharge, vaginitis, wounds
    India for conjunctivitis, edema, fungal infections, inflammation, pain, swellings
    Mexico for bee stings, dysentery, scorpion stings, vaginal discharge, wounds
    Peru for constipation, dermatitis, earaches, herpes, urinary insufficiency
    U.S.A. for abortions, bone fractures, childbirth, mumps
    Elsewhere for abscesses, arthritis, boils, bowel cleansing, burns, bruises, colic, constipation, diabetes, digestion stimulation, dropsy, dyspepsia, fungal infections, gonorrhea, hepatitis, herpes, hypochondria, intestinal gas, intestinal parasites, libido stimulation, liver problems, menstrual irregularities, muscle pains, piles, pimples, sores, splenitis, strains, syphilis, thrush, tonic, tumors, urinary insufficiency, urogenital inflammation, urticaria, wounds

    The above text has been printed from The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs by Leslie Taylor, copyrighted © 2005
    All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.


    † The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.

    Third-Party Published Research on Clavillia

    All available third-party research on clavillia can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on clavillia is shown below:

    Antimicrobial Actions (virus, bacteria, fungi, and yeast):
    Michalet, S., "N-caffeoylphenalkylamide derivatives as bacterial efflux pump inhibitors." Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2007 Mar; 17(6): 1755-8.
    Bolognesi, A. et al. “Ribosome-inactivating and adenine polynucleotide glycosylase activities in Mirabilis jalapa L. tissues.” J. Biol. Chem. 2002; 277(16) 13709–16.
    Yang, S. W., et al. “Three new phenolic compounds from a manipulated plant cell culture, Mirabilis jalapa.” J. Nat. Prod. 2001; 64(3): 313–17.
    Vivanco, J. M., et al. “Characterization of two novel type 1 ribosome-inactivating proteins from the storage roots of the Andean crop Mirabilis expansa.” Plant Physiol. 1999; 119(4): 1447–56.
    Dimayuga, R. E., et al. ”Antimicrobial activity of medicinal plants from Baja California Sur (Mexico).” Pharmaceutical Biol. 1998; 36(1): 33–43.
    De Bolle, M. F., et al. “Antimicrobial peptides from Mirabilis jalapa and Amarantus caudatus: expression, processing, localization and biological activity in transgenic tobacco.” Plant Mol. Biol. 1996; 31(5): 993–1008.
    Kataoka, J., et al. “Adenine depurination and inactivation of plant ribosomes by an antiviral protein of Mirabilis jalapa (MAP).” Plant Mol. Biol. 1992; 20(6): 111–19.
    Wong, R. N., et al. “Characterization of Mirabilis antiviral protein—a ribosome inactivating protein from Mirabilis jalapa L.” Biochem. Int. 1992; 28(4): 585–93.
    Cammue, B. P., et al. “Isolation and characterization of a novel class of plant antimicrobial peptides from Mirabilis jalapa L. seeds.” J. Biol. Chem. 1992; 267(4): 2228–33.
    Caceres, A., et al. “Plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of dermatophytic infections. Screening for antimycotic activity of 44 plant extracts.” J. Ethnophamacol. 1991; 31(3): 263–76.
    Kusamba, C., et al. “Antibacterial activity of Mirabilis jalapa seed powder.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1991; 35(2): 197–99.
    Caceres, A., et al. “Screening of antimicrobial activity of plants popularly used in Guatemala for the treatment of dermatomucosal diseases.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1987; 20(3): 223–37.

    Antispasmodic & Anti-inflammatory Actions:
    Singh, M., et al. "Anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extract of Mirabilis jalapa Linn. leaves." Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Nov;2(6):364-7.
    Aoki, K., et al. "Pharmacological study of antispasmodic activity of Mirabilis jalapa Linn flowers." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Feb; 116(1): 96-101.
    Dhar, M. L., et al. “Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: Part I.” Indian J. Exp. Biol. 1968; 6: 232–47.

    Pain-Relieving Actions:
    Walker, C., et al. "Antinociceptive activity of Mirabilis jalapa in mice." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Nov; 120(2): 169-75.

    Anti-Diabetic & Cholesterol-lowering Actions:
    Zhou, J., et al. "Hypoglycemic and Hypolipidemic Effects of Ethanolic Extract of Mirabilis jalapa L. Root on Normal and Diabetic Mice." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:257374.
    Zhou, J., et al. "Experimental diabetes treated with trigonelline: effect on beta cell and pancreatic oxidative parameters." Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Dec 16.
    Ghule, A., et al. "Trigonelline ameliorates diabetic hypertensive nephropathy by suppression of oxidative stress in kidney and reduction in renal cell apoptosis and fibrosis in streptozotocin induced neonatal diabetic (nSTZ) rats." Int Immunopharmacol. 2012 Dec;14(4):740-8.
    Zhou, J., et al. "Trigonelline: a plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for diabetes and central nervous system disease." Curr Med Chem. 2012;19(21):3523-31.

    Antihistamine Actions:
    Maxia, A., et al. "Inhibition of histamine mediated responses by Mirabilis jalapa: confirming traditional claims made about antiallergic and antiasthmatic activity." Nat Prod Res. 2010 Nov;24(18):1681-6.

    Plant Chemicals Identified:
    Lai, G., et al. "Studies on chemical constituents from roots of Mirabilis jalapa." Zhongguo. Zhong. Yao. Za. Zhi. 2008 Jan; 33(1): 42-6.
    Wei, Y., et al. "Studies on chemical constituents from the root of Mirablis jalapa." Zhongguo. Zhong. Yao. Za. Zhi. 2003; 28(12): 1151-2.

    * The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.

    © Copyrighted 1996 to present by Leslie Taylor, Milam County, TX 77857.
    All rights reserved. Please read the Conditions of Use, and Copyright Statement for this web page and web site.
    Last updated 12-28-2012