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Family Malvaceae
Gossypium herbaceum name L..
Cao mian

Scientific names Common names
Gossypium albescens Raf. Bulak (Tag.)
Gossypium album Buch.-Ham. Common cotton (Engl._
Gossypium amblospermum Raf. Cotton (Engl.)
Gossypium arboreum var. perrieri (Hochr.) B.L.Rob. Indian cotton (Engl.)
Gossypium aureum Raf. Levant cotton (Engl.)
Gossypium bicolor Raf. Short-staple cotton (Engl.)
Gossypium chinense Fisch. &Otto ex Steud.  
Gossypium cinereum Raf.  
Gossypium convexum Raf.  
Gossypium croceum uch.-Ham.  
Gossypium decurrens Raf.  
Gossypium divaricatum Raf.  
Gossypium eglandulosum Cav.  
Gossypium eatum Salisb.  
Gossypium frutescens (Delile) Roberty  
Gossypium fuscum Raf.  
Gossypium herbaceum L.  
Gossypium leoninum Medik.  
Gossypium macedonicum Murray  
Gossypium macrospermum Raf.  
Gossypium micranthum Cav.  
Gossypium mmolle Mauri ex Ten.  
Gossypium paniculatum Blanco  
Gossypium perrieri (Hochr.) Prokh.  
Gossypium purpureum Raf.  
Gossypium siamense Ten.  
Gossypium simpsonii G.Watt  
Gossypium strictum Medik.  
Gossypium tricuspidatum Lam.  
Gossypium herbaceum L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Habbul qutn.
CHINESE: Cao mian.
FRENCH: Cotonnier d'Asie, Cotonnier herbacé.
GERMAN: Gewöhnliche baumwolle, Krautiger baumwollsstrauch.
HINDI: Kapas, Kapasa.
JAPANESE: Shiro-bana-wata.
KANNADA: Hati, Arale.
PORTUGUESE: Algodoeiro-asiatico.
SANSKRIT: Tundakesi, Karpas, Anagnika.
SPANISH: Algodon, Algodonero, Algodonero herbaceo.
SWEDISH: Indisk bomull.
UNANI: Oanbadana.

Gen info
- Gossypium herbaceum is one of the earliest plants cultivated with recorded use over 4,000 years ago by man.
- The Old World cultivated cotton species, G. arboreum and G. herbaceum have yielded textile fibers for thousands of years. Cotton fibers and thread have been found in different burial grounds in Baluchistan, Pakistan dating back to 6th millenium BCE (Moulheral et al, 2002) (11)
- During the past two centuries, there has been partial or total replacement of both G. arboreum and G. herbaceum by the New World tetraploid species G. hirsutum and G. barbadense. (11)
- Levant cotton is native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (less than 2%). Hybrid varieties are cultivated.
The two Old World species were widely used before the 1900s; today the two New World cotton species account for the vast majority of modern cotton production (5)
- Four Gossypium species are cultivated and grown for the cotton fiber: Gossypium hirsutum, G. barbadense, G arboretum, and G. herbaceum. Of these, G. hirsutum is economically most important, producing 90% of the world's cotton. (9)
- In the Philippines, two other Gossypium species are mentioned in P. de Tavera's compilation: G. barbadense (pernambuko) and G. arboreum (bulak na bundok, bulak na totoo), (6)
- Cotton fibers are hairs that grow out of the seed coat. Harvested seed cotton is de-seeded, and the fibers are separated by hand or mechanically. The main fibers are the longer seed hairs or lint, which are spun, while seeds are fed to animals or pressed for oil extraction. The seeds are oil- and protein-rich, making cotton an oleoproteaginous crop, which lends to domestication and cultivation. (11)
- Cotton fibers are nearly pure cellulose. An acre of cotton can produce about 300 pounds (140 kg). (7)
- In 2005, the total planted are of G. herbaceum was about 770,000 ha, of which 95% was in India. (15)

Gossypium herbaceum is an annual or perennial, erect, hairy shrub or sub-shrub, growing up to 3 m tall with few branches. Stems are thick and rigid, hairy or glabrous. Leaves are spirally arranged, divided to the middle cordate, usually with a small gland on the midrib, 3 to 7 lobes, hairy with lanceolate stipules. Stipules are small, linear, caducous. Flowers are small and yellow, axillary and solitary; epicalyx ovate, slightly connate below; calyx truncate, shorter than the epicalyx. Corolla is bell-shaped, pale yellow with a purple base, 5 obovate petals. Stamens are many, monadelphous, staminal tube encloses the ovary and the style; anthers are one-celled, reniform, pollen yellow. Fruit is an ovoid, globose or broadly triangular capsule. Seeds are 6-7, ovoid, with a dense, enveloping covering of long, pure white, woolly hairs, strongly attached to the seed. (5)

- Commercial cultivation for textile fabric.
- Occasional backyard cultivation
- Levant cotton is native to regions in the sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where it still grows in the wild as a perennial shrub.
- Widely distributed throughout western India, Middle East countries, central Asia, with some availability in Iran, Afghanistan, Russia and Turkistan. (8)
- Hybrid varieties are cultivated.

- The plant yields carbohydrates, saponins, steroids, glycosides, phenolic compounds such as tannins and flavonoids. Seed yields a pigment, gossypol, a phenolic compound. (8)
- Unsaponifiable fraction of Indian cottonseed oil yields sitosterol, ergosterol, lipids, gossypol, oleic, palmitic, and llinoleic acids. (8)
- Phytochemical screening yielded carbohydrates, flavonoids, tannins, steroids, terpenoids, saponins, resins, phenols, and proteins. (9)
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of flowers yielded carbhohydrates, flavonoids, tannins, steroids, terpenoids, saponins, resins, phenols, and proteins. Seeds yielded steroids, flavonoids, protein, amino acids, sugars and saponins. Roots yielded starch, tannin, phenols, saponin, and carbohydrtes. (9)
- Phytochemical screening of various extracts (chloroform, methanol, aqueous) of seeds yielded carbohydrates, flavonoids, tannins, and phenolic compounds. (see study below) (16)

- Considered antifertility, galactagogue, antispermatogenic, antiviral, antibacterial.
- Studies have suggested anthelmintic, antiurolithiatic, wound healing, antifertiity, galactagoguue, diuretic, antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, antioxidative, antiulcer, antiarthritic properties.

Parts used
Seeds, roots, leaves, flowers.


- In Pardo de Tavera's 1901 compilation, root bark reportedly used as antiasthmatic, emmenagogue, and used as a substitute for ergot in uterine hemorrhage. Leaves used for bronchial troubles and seeds as sudorific. In the U.S. root bark in large doses used as abortifacient; decoction used for dysmenorrhea. Seeds used for dysentery, as galactagogue and the juice of leaves as emollient in diarrhea and mild dysentery. (6)
- Used after birth to help expel the placenta.
- In antiquity, used for treatment of inadequate lactation, asthma, dysmenorrhea, dysentery, otalgia, sexual debility, diabetes. (8)
- In Unani medicine, considered aphrodisiac, galactagogue, spermatogenic, expectorant, demulcent. (8)
- Leaves, roots, and seeds as emmenagogue and to facilitate expulsion of the placernta after childbirth. In Senegal, macerated root was given to newborn babies or sickly and rachitic children to strengthen them. In Somalia, root decoction was used as abortifacient and and juice of heated unripe fruit was instilled in the ear for otalgia. In Ethiopia, roots chewed for snakebites and powdered fruit applied on the head for fungal infections. In Namibia, powdered root bark applied as hemostatic. In Botswana, root preparations were used for treatment of heart palpitations. In Mozambique, root decoctions were used as tonic and to control vomiting; root infusion drunk for lack of appetite; and stem juice used for treatment of otitis. (9)
- Historical snippet:
Pardo de Tavera's 1901 reports on the use of seeds as a source of a brownish red oil which was used as a substitute for or adulterating olive oil. Raw cotton was also used to make pyroxylin (explosive cotton) and collodion, used extensively in medicine, (6)
- Oil: Source of cottonseed oil, inexpensive for domestic, industrial and pharmaceutic use (6) Oil is used in a wide range of products viz. margarine, mayonnaise, cooking oils, salad dressing and shortening, cooking or frying oil; soap, cosmetics, lubricants, sulphonated oils. etc. (15)
- Fibers / Textile: Cotton lint is used to produce textile for clothing. Fibers are spun into yarn and woven into fabric. Short fibers (fuzz or linters) are processed into a variety of products viz. papers, twine, upholstery, explosives, plastics and photographic film. Linter pulp is made into various types of paper; also for cellulose acetate and viscose. Cotton stalks are processed into paper, paperboard, or cement-bonded particle board. (15)
- Feeds: The remaining seed cake after oil extraction in an important protein concentrate for livestock. Low=grade cake is utilized as manure. Whole seed can be fed to ruminants, which are less sensitive to the toxic gossypol in the seed. (15)

Anthelmintic / Leaves:
Study evaluated the anthelmintic activity of ethanolic leaf extract of G. herbaceum against Indian earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Albendazole was used as standard drug. The ethanolic extract showed more significant activity at higher concentrations when compared to albendazole. (2)
Antiurolithiatic / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro antiurolithiatic activity of G. herbaceum. Both ethanolic and aqueous extracts showed showed maximum efficiencies in dissolution of calcium oxalate crystals. The ethanolic extract showed more efficient activity. Neeri was used as standard drug. (3)
Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the wound healing effect of G. herbaceum on experimentally induced wounds in rats and compared it with antiseptic agent, povidine iodine ointment. In incision and excision wound models, there was a significant decrease in period of epithelization and wound contraction with significantly increased breaking strength in the incision model. Granulation tissue formation was significantly increased in all treated animals. The leaf extract was administered orally at 200 mg/kg. (4)
Gossypol / Pigment: Gossypol is the principle pigment of cotton seed, a phenolic compound first isolated in 1899. The name derives from the genus name Gossyp (Gossypium) combined with "-ol" from phenol. Gossypol, molecular weight 518.55 Dalton, chemical formula of C30H30O8, has a yellow pigment, crystalline, insoluble in water and hexane, soluble in acetone, chloroform, ether and methyl ethyl ketone, and partly soluble in crude vegetable oils. Other pigments in the seeds are gossypupurin, gossyfulvin, gossycaerulin, carotenoids, and flavones. (9)
Augmentation of Lactation / Seeds / Clinical Trial: Study evaluated the efficacy of G. herbaceum in perceived insufficient milk supply (PIM) in a single-blind, placebo controlled, randomized clinical trial using capsulized powdered kernels for one month. Primary outcome measures were improvement in subjective satisfaction of mothers regarding well being and happiness of babies, fullness in the breast, contralateral ejection of milk, and mother's observation in increase in breast milk. Results showed the herb is efficacious, safe, and cost-effective in augmenting lactation in PIM supply. (10)
Diuretic / Leaves: Study evaluated the diuretic activity of ethyl acetate and alcohol extracts of G. herbaceum leaves in male Wistar albino rats. Results showed dose dependent increase in natriuretic and chloruretic activity and diuresis with the alcoholic extract showing more significant activity than the EA extract. (Naransimha et al) (8)
Inhibitory Effects of Key Enzymes in Type-2 Diabetes and Oxidative Stress in Rat Pancreas: Study evaluated the inhibitory effect of aqueous extract of different parts (bark, leaf, flower) of cotton plant on key enzymes linked to T2DM and oxidative stress in rat pancreas in vitro. Results showed the three extract varieties dose dependently inhibited the activity of α-amylase and α-glucosidase in rat's pancreas. The enzyme inhibitory activities of aqueous extracts of different parts and prevention of lipid peroxidation in the tissue may be attributed to the presence of polyphenol content of the plant. (12)
Antiarthritic / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the efficacy of cotton plant leaf extract against rheumatoid arthritis using Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA) induced arthritis model in rats. Arthritic rats showed severe paw swelling, erythema, reduced body weight, abnormal changes in hematological, biochemical and antioxidant parameters. Results showed extract treatment (200 mg/kg) was effective in reversing symptoms and restoring the to normalcy the elevated parameters.(13)
Antihyperglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Leaves: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effect of ethyl ether and ethanolic fractions from leaves of G. herbaceum in dexamethasone induced diabetic rats. Glibenclamide was used as standard drug. The fractions showed significant (p<0.01) anti-hyperglycemic and hypolipidemic activity compared to control. There was reduction in TG, LDL, VLDL, and TC, along with increase in HDL. (14)
Antiepileptic / Seeds: Study evaluated the antiepileptic activity of different extracts of Gossypium herbaceum seeds on MES induced and PTZ induced seizures using Wistar albino rats. A methanolic extract showed highly significant (p<0.01) antiepileptic activity by decreasing the duration of hind-limb extension phase in MES-induced convulsion and delaying onset of action in PTZ-induced convulsions. (see constituents above) (16)
Substrate for Bioethanol / Stalks: Study evaluated the use of substrate G. herbaceum stalks treated with sodium hydroxide in its potential as an economical substrate for bioethanol production. Results indicate a suitable concentration of alkali as autoclaving period at specific temperature are critical to expose the maximum cellulosic contents prior t employing cotton stalks as substrate for biofuel production. (17)
Herb-Drug Interactions: (1) Digoxin: Large amounts of of gossypol can decrease the potassium levels in the body and increase the side effects of lanoxin, (NSAIDS: Both NSAIDS and gossypol can be irritant to the stomach, and together the effects can be additive. (3) Stimulant laxatives: Stimulant laxatives can cause low minerals in the body which gossypol can also decrease. (4) Theophyllie: Theophyllne can decrease the effects of gossypol. (5) Warfarin (coumadin) - Gossypol is a laxative and diarrhea can increase the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding. (6) Diuretics: Together, diuretics and gossypol can can increase potassium loss in the body. (18)
Antiulcer / Flowers: Study evaluated the antiulcer activity of Gossypium herbaceum aqueous and ethanolic flower extracts in pylorus ligation-, aspirin-, ethanol-induced gastric ulcer and acetic acid-induced chronic ulcer. Results showed antiulcer activity. Lansoprazole was used as standard drug. (19)
Antiepileptic / Leaves: Study evaluated the antiepileptic activity of chloroform extract of leaves of G. herbaceum using maximum electroshock (MES), pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) and isoniazid (INH)-induced convulsions in mice. In MES and PTZ models, the extract significantly protected the mice from seizures, more potent than diazepam and phenobarbitone sodium. In the INH model, the extract slightly delayed the onset of convulsions. (20)
Gossypol / Antifertiity Activity: / Leaves: Philippine study from Gossypium hirsutum showed inhibition of fertility in male rats. It showed 99.8% effectivity in in healthy men evaluated by semen examination *National Coordinating Group on Male Antifertility Agents, 1979). (21)

- Cultivated mainly for the cotton from the fruits.
- Seeds and herbal solutions in the cybermarket.


November 2020

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Gossypium herbaceum, Malvaceae: Levant cotton fruits / H Zell / CC by SA 4.0 / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
IMAGE SOURCE: Gossypium herbaceum, Malvaceae: Levant cotton flower / B. Navez / CC by SA 3.0 / click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

Gossypium herbaceum L. / Synonyms / The Plant List
In vitro anthelmintic activity of Gossypium herbaceum / P Nandesshwar, V Kiram Kumar, K Krishnasai, Dr K RAmanjaneyulu and J Himabindhu / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 2019; 8(12) pp 1624-1626
Evaluation of in vitro antiurolithiatic activity of Gossypium herbaceum / Niharika M, Suchitha N, Akhila S, Himabindhu J, Ramanjaneyulu K / Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, May 2018; 10(5): pp 1236-1237 / ISSN: 0975-1459
Wound healing activity of methanolic extract of leaves of Gossypium herbaceus / C Velmurugan, S Venkatesh, K Sandhya, S Bhagya Lakshmi, R Ramsila Vardhan and B Sravanthi / Central European Journal of Experimental Biology, 2012; 1(1): pp 7-10 / ISSN: 2278-7364
Gossypium herbaceum / E-Flora of Gandhinagar
Bulak: Gossypium herbaceum / Pardo de Tavera - The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. 1901 / eBook: 26393
Gossypium herbaceum / Wikipedia
Gossypium herbaceum Linn: An Ethnopharmacological Review / Rahman Khaleequr, Sultana Arshiya, Rahman Shafeequr / Journal of Pharmaceutical and Scientific Innovation, Sept-Oct 2012; 1(5): pp 1-5
Chemical constituents and pharmacological activities of Gossypium herbaceum and Goossypium hirsutum: A Review / Dr Ali Esmail, Al-Snafi / IOSR Journal of Pharmacy, May 2018; 8(5) Version I: pp 64-80 / eISSN:2250-3013 / pISSN: 2319-4219
Clinical efficacy of Gossypium herbaceum L. seeds in perceived insufficient milk (PIM) supply: A randomized single-blind placebo-controlled study / S Manjula, Arshiya Sultana, Khaleequr Rahman / Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, 2014l 14: pp 77-85 / https://doi.org/10.107/s13596-013-0121-7/
Domestication and varietal diversification of Old World cultivated cottons (Gossypium sp.) in the Antiquity / Christopher Viot / Revue d'ethnoecologie / http://doi.org/10.4000/ethnoecologie.4404
Inhibitory effect of aqueous extract of different parts of Gossypium herbaceum on key enzymes linked with type 2 diabetes and oxidative stress in rat pancreas in vitro / Ayodeji Augustine Olabiyi, Yemisi Rufina Alli Smith, Leye Jonathan Babatola, Ayodele Jacob Akinyemi, Baniyu Oboh / Beni-Suef University Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, June 2016; 5(2): pp 180-186
Antiarthritic and antioxidant activities of Gossypium herbaceum plant (cotton plant) leaves / Narahari Srinivas Reddy and Akondi Butchi Raju / Agricultural Science Digest, 2018; 38: pp 88-94 / DOI: 10.18805/ag.D-4551
Antihyperglycemic and Hypolipidemic Activty of Leaves of Gossypium herbaceum by Dexamethasone Induced Diabetic Rat Model / C Vehnurugan, Anurag Bhargava, T S Kishore Kumar, Saurab Sharma / International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Nano Sciences, 2013; 2(2): pp 169-176 / ISSN: 2319-9563
Gossypium herbaceum L. / PROTA4U
Phytochemical investigation and antiepileptic activity on seeds of Gossypium herbaceum (Linn.) / Shetti Priya P / Rajiiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka
Effect of NaOH on pretreatment of Gossypium herbaceum / Umar Asghar, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Nadeem and Quratulayin Syed / Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utiilization and Environmental Effects, 2016; 38(13) / https://doi.org/ 10.1080/15567036.2015.1004386
Gossypol Interactions / WebMD
Pharmacological Evaluation of Antiulcer Activity of Gossypium herbaceum Flowers in Experimentally Induced Acute and Chronic Ulcer / Bashir Ahamad, Shaikh Kamalhasan / Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, June 2010
Evaluation of anti-epileptic activity of chloroform extract of Gossypium herbaceum leaves / Sumalatha G / International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2017
Philippine Plants as Possible Sources of Antifertility Agents / Celia D Herrera, Edna V Ramos and Belinda A Villanueva / National Instituete of Science and Technology, Manila, Philippines / The Philippine Journal of Science, 1984

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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