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Family Malvaceae

Abelmoschus esculentus (Linn.) Moench.
Huang su kui

Scientific names Common names
Abelmoschus esculentus (Linn.) Moench. Okra (Tag., Engl.)
Hibiscus esculentis Linn. Gumbo (Engl.)
  Lady fingers (Engl.)
  Huang su kui (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Bâmyah.
CHINESE: Ka fei huang kui, Yue nan zhi ma, Yang jiao dou, Hu ma, Qiu kui.
BURMESE: You padi.
CROATIAN: Jedilna oslez.
DUTCH: Okra.
FRENCH: Gombo, Gombeaud, Bamie-okra, Ketmie comestible (Belgium).
GERMAN: Ocker.
GREEK: Bamies. Bamia.
HEBREW: Bamiya, Hibiscus ne'echal.
HINDI: Bhindee, Dheras, Bandakai, Vendakai.
HUNGARIAN: Gombó, Bámia.
ITALIAN: Gombo, Ocra, Bammia d'Egitto, Corna di Greci .
JAPANESE: Amerika neri, Kiku kimo, Okura.
KHMER: Pôôt barang.
KOREAN: Oh k'u ra.
LAOTIAN: Khüa ngwàng.
MALAY: Bendi, Kacang bendi, Kacang lender, Sayur bendi , Kacang lendir , Kachang bendi, Kopi arab.
NEPALESE: Van lasun.
NORWEGIAN: Grønsakhibisk
POLISH : Czyli okra, Ketmia jadalna.
PORTUGUESE: Gambô, Quiabo, Quibombô, Quibombó.
RUSSIAN: Bamiia.
SANSKRIT: Tindisa.
SPANISH: Gombo, Ají turco, Quimbombo, Ocra, Ruibarbo.
TAMIL: Vendaikkaay.
THAI: Krachiap, Ton krachiap, Krachiap khieo, Krachiap mon, Bakhua mun.
TURKISH: Bamya .
URDU: Bhindii.

Okra is a coarse, erect, branched, more or less hairy, annual herb, 0.6 to 1.5 meters high. Leaves are long-petioled, orbicular or orbicular-ovate, about 25 centimeters long or less; with a heart-shaped base; the margins, 3- to 5-lobed. Petioles are equal to the blade in length or longer. Flowers are axillary and solitary; corolla, large and yellow, and inside, deep purple at the base. Fruit is elongated, 10 to 25 centimeters long, 1.5 to 3 centimeters in diameter, tapering to a blunt point and containing rows of rounded, kidney shaped seeds.

- Cultivated for its edible fruit.
- Nowhere naturalized.
- Pantropic.

- Fruit contains abundant pectin; mucilage; starch; some fat, 4%; water, 80.7%; and ash, 1.41%.
- Seeds yield: palmitic acid, 27.33%; stearic acid, 2.75%; arachidic acid, 0.05%; oleic acid, 43.74%; linolic acid, 26.62%; unsaponifiable matter, 0.37%.
- Roots yield gum, 16%; and the seeds yield vitamin C.
- Distillation of leaves with water yield an essential oil, which in time solidifies as a crystalline camphor allied to menthol and called 'Basil-camphor.'

- Whole plant is aromatic, with an odor resembling cloves.
- Demulcent, emollient, sudorific, cooling, carminative,
stimulant, cordial, antispasmodic.
- Very mucilaginous when cooked.
- Mucilage considered to have an aphrodisiac effect.

Parts utilized
· Roots, leaves, young pods, seeds.

Edibility / Nutrition
· Fruit is edible.
· Prepared in a variety of ways; an ingredient of soups and stews.
· Very mucilaginous when cooked.
· Fair source of iron, vitamin A and C; good source of calcium.
· Also contains thiamine and riboflavin.
· Seeds occasionally used a coffee substitute.

· Decoction of roots and leaves as a tea or for washing.
· Decoction of young fruit useful for catarrh, urinary problems.
· Syrup from mucilaginous fruit used for sore throat.
· Infusion of roots used for syphilis.
· Poultice of roots and leaves for wound healing.
· Young pods for fevers, difficult urination and diarrhea.
· Decoction of roots for headaches, varicose veins, arthritis, fevers.
· Decoctions of leaves for abdominal pain.
· Leaves also useful as emollient poultice.
· Mucilage prepared from roots and leaves used for gonorrhea.
· Fruit used as
demulcent in gonorrhea and dysuria.
· Paste of seeds, mixed with milk, used for pruritic skin lesions.
· In Turkey, leaves used in preparation of medicine to reduce inflammation.
· In India, decoction of young fruit used for catarrh and urinary troubles. Also used for fevers, catarrhal attacks, genitourinary irritations such as dysuria, gonorrhea and leucorrhea, and in cases associated with scaling, pain, and difficulty passing urine.
· Bland mucilage used for dysentery, usually as soup.
· Tender pods eaten for spermatorrhea.
· Mucilage from from fruits and seeds of fresh, bruised capsules make an efficient, emollient poultice.
· Fruit decoction used as soothing demulcent remedy for throat irritations associated with coughing.
· Infusion of toasted seeds used for sudorific effect.
· Hindus consider the aromatic seeds as cooling, tonic, and carminative.
· In Annam, seeds considered antispasmodic.
· In the Antilles and Guiana, seeds considered stimulant, cordial, and antispasmodic.


Anti-ulcerogenic activity of some plants used as folk remedy in Turkey: Five herbal remedies, including H esculentus, were studied for anti-ulcerogenic activity. All extracts exhibited significant gastroprotective effects. (1)
Anti-H Pylori Adhesion:
Glycosylated compounds from okra inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa: A polysaccharide isolated from the fresh juice showed strong inhibitory effects and an antiadhesive activity with blocking of the Helicobacter surface receptors. (2)
• Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective
: (1) Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effect of the roots of Hibiscus esculentus Linn: The ethanol extract of HE roots showed excellent scavenging effect on free radicals and hepatoprotective effects. (2) In antioxidant
assays of five vegetables, strong activity was seen with okra fruit. (3)
• Mucilage / Suspending Agent: Study showed that the mucilage of A esculentus may be used as a pharmaceutical adjuvant and as a suspending agent and other pharmaceutical applications, as a gelling, emulsifying or disintegrating agent. (4)
• Reversible Male Reproductive Effects: Study results showed the oral administration of methanol fruit extract of A esculentus produced a reversible reduction in male fertility in rats. There was significant reduction of gross sperm motility, count and life/dead ratio with an increase in abnormal sperm cell in the semen sample
. (5)
Review / Nutritional Healing Properties in Diabetes: In a literature review, the healing properties of AE were: (1) Alkaline reaction, soothes irritated membrane of the intestinal tract, lowering of blood sugar, facilitates healing of burns and any kind of skin rashes (2) Mucilaginous texture soak up the unhealthy cholesterol, toxin and mucous waste from the GI tract; acts as a laxative, facilitating ulcer healing and reduction of gastric reflux, antioxidant, anticancer and promoting cardiovascular health. (8)
Hypoglycemic: In a research framework to study the hypoglycemic effects of a water extract of AE in streptozoticin-induced diabetic rats, the findings of expected results from the experiment may reveal underlying mechanism of diabetic pathophysiology, suggesting a new potential target for drug discovery. (9)
Antidiabetic / Antihyperlipidemic / Toxicity Study: Study of peel and seed powder of Abelmoschus esculentus showed antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic effects in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
Toxicity study showed no signs and mortality at dose level of 2000 mg kbw.(11)
CNS Depressant / Analgesic: Study evaluated a root extract of A. esculentus for CNS depressant and analgesic activity. Significant decrease in locomotor activity was observed. There was significant and dose-dependent reduction of writhing reflex in the acetic acid-induced writhing test and linking response in the formalin induced inflammatory pain. Results suggest analgesic and CNS depressant activity.
Hepatoprotective / CCl4-Induced Injury: Study evaluated a root extract for hepatoprotective effect on CCl4-intoxicated HepG2 cell line and Wistar rats. Results showed a hepatoprotective effect attributed to its antioxidant capacity.


Perennial market produce.

Last Updated September 2013

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Anti-ulcerogenic activity of some plants used as folk remedy in Turkey
Glycosylated compounds from okra inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa
( 3)
Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effect of the roots of Hibiscus esculentus Linn

Evaluation of Abelmoschus Esculentus Mucilage as Suspending Agent in Paracetamol Suspension / Ravi Kumar et al / International Journal of PharmTech Research • Vol.1, No.3, pp 658-665 , July-Sept 2009
Antioxidant activity of five vegetables traditionally consumed by south-Asian migrants in Bradford, Yorkshire, UK / N M Ansari et al / Phytotherapy Research • Volume 19 Issue 10, Pages 907 - 911

Sorting Abelmoschus Names / Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE
Nutritional Properties of Abelmoschus Esculentus as Remedy to Manage Diabetes Mellitus: A Literature Review / Indah Mohd Amin / 2011 International Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Technology IPCBEE vol.11 (2011)
Hypoglyclemic Effects in Response to Abelmoshus Esculentus Treatment: A Research Framework using STZ-Induced Diabetic Rats / Indah Mohd Amin / International Journal of Bioscience, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics, Vol. 1, No. 1, May 2011
Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic potential of Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / V. Sabitha, S. Ramachandran, [...], and K. Panneerselvam / Journal Bioallied Sci. 2011, Jul-Sep; 3(3); 397-402.
CNS depressant and analgesic activities of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Linn.)
/ M Atowar Hossen, Ishrat Jahan, M. Abdullah A. Mamun, JAM Samir Sakir, M Shamimuzzaman, M Jashim Uddin, M. Ekramul Haque* / Molecular & Clinical Pharmacology 2013, 4(1), 44-52
Hepatoprotective role of Abelmoschus esculentus (Linn.) Moench., on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury
/ Subramanian Saravanan, Perumal Pandikumar, Natesan Pazhanivel, Michael Gabriel Paulraj, and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthu / Sept. 2013, Vol. 23, No. 7, pp 528-536 (doi:10.3109/15376516.2013.796032)

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