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Family Malvaceae
Hibiscus mutabilis Linn.
Mu fu rong

Scientifric names  Common names 
Abelmoschus mutabilis (L.) Wall. ex Hassk. Amapola (Tag.)
Abelmoschus venustus Walp. Mapula (Tag.)
Hibiscus immutabilis Dehnh. ex Walp. Changeable rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus immutabilis Dehnh. Changing rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus javanicus Weinm. Chinese rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus malvarosa Noronha             Unresolved Confederate rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus mutabilis Linn. Cotton rose (Engl.)
Hibiscus sinensis Mill. Cotton rose hibiscus (Engl.)
Ketmia mutabilis (L.) Moench Dixie rose-mallow (Engl.)
Hibiscus mutabilis L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Sthal padma, Thul padma.
CHINESE: Mu fu rong, Fu rong hua, Shan fu rong.
CREOLE: Shoubak.
INDONESIAN: Ngali-ngali.
JAPANESE: Fuyoo, Fuyou.
KOREAN: Bu yong.
SPANISH: Rosa algodon, Palo de la reina.
THAI: Phuttan.

The species name lives up to the epithet, mutabilis meaning changeable or variable. Many of the common names draw upon its colorful mutability - opening up pale pink or white and darkening into shades of red as the day advances. Confederate Rose is a common name that colors the epithet with the drama of the Civil War, a felled soldier bleeding unto a bed of white hibiscus flowers, the petals slowly soaking red.

Amapola is an erect, branched bushy shrub or small tree, about 2 to 4 meters high, densely covered with short, grayish, stellate hairs. Leaves are broadly ovate to orbicular ovate, 5-lobed or 5-angled, 7 to 20 centimeters long, with pointed tip, heart-shaped base and toothed margins. Calyx is 3 to 4 centimeters long, with 5 oblong-ovate lobes, connate below. Corolla is 10 to 12 centimeters in diameter, single or double, opening pale pink or nearly white, growing darker in color as the day advances.

- Occasionally planted for ornamental purposes in the larger towns of the Archipelago.
- Not spontaneous.
- Native of the Old World.
- Now pantropic.

- Study isolated five flavonol glycosides from the ethanol extract of petals.
- Study isolated ten compounds: tetracosanoic acid, B-sitosterol, daucosterol, salicylic acid, emodin, rutin, kaemferol-3-O-B-rutinoside, kaemferol-3-O-B-robinobinoside, kaemferol-3-O-B-D-(6-E-p-hy-droxycinnamoyl)-glucopyranoside. (5)
- Study yielded various compounds from different plant parts: stems—Naringenin-5,7-dimethyl ether,4'-β-D-xylopyranosyl- β-D-arabinopyranoside, Eriodictyol-5,7-dimethyl ether-4'-β-D- arabinopyranoside; flowers—Quercetin, Quercemeritrine, Quercetin-3-D-Xyloside, Quercetin-3-sambubioside, Isoquercetin, Meratrin, Hybridin, Kaempferol, Hyperin, Guaijaverin, Cyanidine-3-xlosyl glucose, Cyanidin-3-monoglucoside, Hibiscones, Hibiscoquinones; and leaves— β-Sitosterol, β-Carotene, Quercetin). (10)
- Study on flavonoid aglycones in fresh flowers yielded quercitin, 80 mg/g fresh tissue; kaempferol, 8 mg/g; and cyananidin, 5 mg/g. (13)

- Flowers are considered pectoral, emollient and febrifuge, depurative, stimulant.
- Leaves are anodyne, antidote, demulcent, expectorant and cooling.
- Considered expectorant, cooling, antidotal.
- Studies have shown antiproliferative, antioxidant, anti-tyrosinase, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory properties

Parts used
Leaves, roots, flowers.

- Famine food: In China, leaves reportedly used as famine food, boiled, then eaten with oil and salt. (14)
- In China, flowers and leaves considered expectorant, cooling, analgesic and antidote to all kinds of poison.
- In Chinese medicine, leaves one of the component in a medicine used for treating tuberculous lymphadenitis; the flowers for treating nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
- Used by Dong people for migraine and otitis media; by She people for pulmonary hemoptysis, by Yao for appendicitis and epidemic parotitis, by She, Jingpo, Lisu people for menorrhagia. (20)
- Decoction of flowers considered pectoral; used for lung ailments.
- For mumps, egg whites are added to dried powdered leaves and applied to to affected areas.
- Used for persistent coughs, menorrhagia, dysuria and wounds, especially burns and scalds that are slow to heal.
- Leaves and flowers applied to swellings and skin infections.
- In Guiana, plant used as emollient.
- Infusion of flowers used for chest and pulmonary complaints; also used as stimulant.
- Rope:
Fiber from bark used for making rope.

Antiproliferative / Anti-HIV1 Reverse Transcriptase / Lectin:
Study isolated a hexameric 150-kDa lectin from dried H mutabilis seeds. The galactonic acid-binding lectin potently inhibited HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. It also exhibited weak antiproliferative activity towards hepatoma HepG2 cells and breast cancer MCF-7 cells. (1)
Nitric Oxide Scavenging Activity: Study of the ethanol extracts of four medicinal plants, including Hibiscus mutabilis, showed dose-dependent NO scavenging activity. Results suggest a potential for the plants as novel therapeutic agents in the regulation of pathologic conditions caused by excessive generation of NO and its oxidation product. (2)
Anti-Tyrosinase Activity: In a study of four species of Hibiscus, H mutabilis was second to H tiliaceus in anti-tyrosinase and antioxidant activities. Total phenolic content (TPC) of leaves was 861 ± 92 mg GAE/100 g and an ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant capacity (AEAC) of 877 ± 137 mgAA/100g. (6)
Bacteriostasis: In a study of extracts of H. mutabilis, the bacteriostasis effect was highest with E. coli and best with a 70% alcohol extract. (8)
Ferulic Acid / Leaves / Anti-Diabetic: Ferulic acid (FRL) purified from the leaves of Hibiscus mutabilis, showed impressive effects in preventing saturated fatty acid (SFA)induced defects through reduction of insulin receptor ß in skeletal muscle cells. Impairment of insulin signaling molecules by SFA was waived by the FRL. In high fat diet fed diabetic rats, FRL reduced blood glucose level and enhanced lipid uptake activity of adipocytes isolated from adipose tissue. Collective, FRL exhibited features for prevention of lipid induced insulin resistance, with a therapeutic potential use for T2DM. (9)
Antimicrobial / Anti-Inflammatory: Antimicrobial testing on various organisms showed satisfactory results. A methanolic extract showed good activity against Bacillus subtilis. An ethyl acetate extract showed comparable anti-inflammatory activity when compared to standard drug Nimuselide. (10)
Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated a methanolic extract of leaves for anti-diabetic activity in alloxan induced diabetic wistar rats. Results showed significant protection and maximum reduction in glucose in comparison to standard glibenclamide. (11)
Hepatoprotective / Leaves: Defatted phenolic fraction of leaf, stem, and flowers of Hibiscus mutabilis was evaluated against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic injuries in rats. Results showed curative potential of the defatted antioxidant ethanolic fractions with treatment significantly modulated the enzymes to normal values accompanied by histopathological evidence. (12)
Anti-Allergic Effects / Petals: In vivo assay of aqueous extract of petals on mice isolated various flavanoids. Flavonol triglycoside, quercetin 3-o-1-beta-D-xylopyranosyl and beta-D-galactopyranoside showed significant anti-allergic effects. (15) (16)
• Analgesic / Bark: Study evaluated a bark extract of Hibiscus mutabilis in Wistar albino mice for analgesic activity using hot plate method and peripheral activity by acetic-acid induced writhing test. All the extracts showed significant analgesic activity. A methanol bark extract showed more inhibitory effect. The peripheral analgesic activity may be attributed to PG synthesis inhibition. (18)
• Anti-Diabetic / α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-diabetic (α-glucosidase inhibitory) effect of H. mutabilis leaf extract. Ferulic acid and caffeic acid were identified as α-glucosidase inhibitors present in H. mutabilis. Results suggest further study of the plant for its potential use in the management of diabetes. (19)
• Rutin and Isoquercetin / Seasonal and Age Variation: Rutin and isoquercitrin are flavonoid glycosides with significant biologic activities i.e., anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, anitoxidant, and antitumor. Study reports on a precise and simple method for the determination of rutin and isoquercitrin contents in HM folium. Rutin and isoquercitrin in MNF (mature green leaf) harvested in different periods showed significant differences and were highest in mid-December, and both were higher in mature green leaf than in nearly withered leaf. (20)

- Wild-crafted.
- Cultivated.
- Flower extracts and seeds in the cybermarket.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated May 2018 / May 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: PHOTO / Hibiscus mutabilis / Picture by Doctoroftcm / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license / GNU Free Documentation License / click on photo to see source image / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Hibiscus mutabilis Blanco1.175-original.png / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Novel galactonic acid-binding hexameric lectin from Hibiscus mutabilis seeds with antiproliferative and potent HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitory activities / Sze Kwan Lam and Tzi Bun Ng / Acta Biochinica Polonic • Vol. 56 No. 4/2009, 649–654
In Vitro Nitric Oxide Scavenging Activity of EthanolLeaf Extracts of Four Bangladeshi Medicinal Plants
/ Moni Rani Saha, Rumana Jahangir et al / Stamford Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences • 1 (1&2): 57-62
Flavonol Glycosides in the Flowers of Hibiscus mutabilis f. versicolor / Nariyuki Ishikura / Agri Biol Chem, 46 (6), 1705-1706, 1982
Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis), the Changeable Beauty / Marie Harrison / Dave's Garden
Studies on chemical constituents of Hibiscus mutabilis / Yao Li-yun, Lu Yang, Chen Ze-nai / Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs, 2003-03
Evaluation of Antioxidant, Anti-tyrosinase and Antibacterial Activities of Selected Hibiscus Species / S K Wong, Y Y Lim and E W C Chan / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 781-96. 2010.
Sorting Hibiscus names / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASEStudy on bacteriostasis of extracts of Hibiscus mutabili leaf
Study on bacteriostasis of extracts of Hibiscus mutabili leaf / Li Chang-ling, Liu Sheng-gui et al / Science and Technology of Food Industry, 2009-11
A polyphenol rescues lipid induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle cells and adipocytes / Bhaskarjyoti Gogoi, Priyajit Chatterjee, Sandip Mukherjee, Alak Kumar Buragohain, Samir Bhattacharya, Suman Dasgupta / Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Volume 452, Issue 3, 26 September 2014, Pages 382–388
Phytochemical and Pharmacological Evaluation of Hibiscus mutabilis leaves / Vandana H. Barve*, S. N. Hiremath, Shashikant. R. Pattan and S. C. Pal / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(1): 300-309
Antidiabetic Activity of Methanolic Extract of Hibiscus Mutabilis Leaves Against Alloxan Induced Diabetes in Rats / Sattwik Das*, Shailendra Lariya and Girendra Kumar Gautam / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL AND CHEMICAL SCIENCES, Vol. 2 (3) Jul-Sep 2013
Hepatoprotective effect of standardized antioxidant phenolic fractions of Hibiscus mutabilis Linn. / Subhash C. Mandal, Subodh C. Pal and Dipak N. Raut* / Der Pharmacia Sinica, 2014, 5(3):46-51
Analyses for Flavonoid Aglycones in Fresh and Preserved Hibiscus Flowers* / Lorraine S. Puckhaber, Robert D. Stipanovic, and Georgia A. Bost / Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
Famine Foods / Compiled by Robert Freedman / hort.purdue.edu
Health and Nutrition from Ornamentals / Sharma Yashaswini, Hedge R V, and Venugopal C K / IJRAP, 2(2), 375-382 (2011)
Allergy preventive effects of H. mutabilis 'versicolor' and a novel allergy preventive flavanoid glycoside / Ewaoka E et al / Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2009; 32(3): 509-512
Hibiscus mutabilis / Synonyms / The Plant List
Analgesic Activity of Bark of Hibiscus mutabilis / P.B. Ghogare, R.D. Bhalke, A.S. Girme, S. A. Nirmal, R.S. Jadhav and V.D. Tambe / Dhaka Univ. J. Pharm. Sci., June 2007; 6(1): pp 55-57
Bio‐assay Guided Isolation of α‐Glucosidase Inhibitory Constituents from Hibiscus Mutabilis Leaves
/ Deepak Kumar, Hemanth Kumar, J R Vedasiromoni, Bikas C Pal / Phytochemical Analysis, Sept-Oct 2012; vol 23, Issue 5: pp 421-425
Determination of Rutin and Isoquercetin Contents in Hibisci mutabilis Folium in Different Collection Periods by HPLC  / Diangang Liu, Qing Mei, Xiangluan Wan, Hongling Que, Luyang Li, Dingrong Wan / Journal of Chromatographic Science, Vol 53, Issue 10; 1 Nov 2015: pp 1680-1684 / https://doi.org/10.1093/chromsci/bmv071

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Potential Herbal Medicines and Drug Interactions
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