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Mirabilis Jalapa (Four O’Clock)

Mirabilis Jalapa is a perennial herbal medicinal plant that reaches a height of 50 to 100 centimeters from a tuberous root.

It has a long traditional use.

A single flower can have a combination of flakes, sectors, and spots or be plain red, yellow, pink, magenta, or white.

The leaves are bitter, green, with a characteristic odor.

Note – the leaves can be cooked and eaten as well, however, only as an emergency food.

In addition, each plant may have hundreds of 2-inch, trumpet-shaped blossoms, which will last throughout the summer until the first frost. The individual flowers open in late afternoon, typically between 4 pm and 8 pm.

The plant is native to the dry tropical regions of South and Central America – Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and Chile. In the present day, it also grows in the Caribbean, North America, Africa, Europe, Oceania, and Asia.

Mirabilis Jalapa Linn is also known as “Marvel of Peru” in Peru, “Bonnia” or “Maravilla” in Brazil, or “Four o’ clock” in England.

In Ayurveda, it is known as “Gulambasa,” and ‘Gul-abbas” in Hindi.

The plant was cultivated by the Aztecs for ornamental and medicinal purposes. Interestingly, it is listed as invasive in the following countries:

  • Tonga;
  • Indonesia;
  • New Zealand;
  • China;
  • Fiji;
  • Maldives;
  • Oceania (Cook Islands);
  • Ecuador;
  • Chile;
  • Uganda;
  • South Africa;
  • Kenya;
  • Philippine.

Chemical Constituents

Chemical analysis of various parts of the plant revealed the presence of:

  • n-triacontane;
  • npentacosane;
  • alanine;
  • mirabalisoic acid
  • n nonacosane;
  • n-dotriacontane;
  • boeravinones C;
  • arabinose (a monosaccharide containing five carbon atoms);
  • miraxanthins;
  • ursolic acid;
  • C-methylabronisoflavones;
  • methoxyboeravinone;
  • mirabalisol;
  • campesterol (a phytosterol whose structure is similar to that of cholesterol);
  • isobetanin;
  • trigonellin;
  • indicaxanthin;
  • hexacon-1-ol;
  • d-glucan;
  • dopamine (an organic chemical of the catecholamine and phenethylamine families);
  • daucosterol.

Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Mirabilis Jalapa (Four O’clock | Marvel of Peru)

Marvel of Peru has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of constipation, type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, injuries, and genitourinary system disorders.

In conventional medicine, it is used in the treatment of:

  • urinary tract disorders;
  • skin diseases.

Its various extracts reported many different pharmacological activities, including:

  • digestive stimulant;
  • antiemetic (a drug that is effective against nausea and vomiting);
  • anti-parasitic;
  • anti-diabetic;
  • diuretic;
  • anti-dysenteric (relieving or preventing dysentery);
  • vermifuge (an agent that destroys or expels parasitic worms);
  • tonic;
  • stomachic;
  • purgative (a medicine that causes you to get rid of unwanted waste from the body);
  • cathartic;
  • carminative (an agent intended to prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract);
  • anti-viral;
  • antinociceptive (inhibits nociception, the sensation of pain);
  • anti-spasmodic;
  • anti-fungal;
  • anti-microbial;
  • antibacterial;
  • anti-oxidative;
  • anti-inflammatory.

Helps Digestion

According to a new survey, about 75% of people in the United States (adults) are living with digestive symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.

Individuals over age 50 who take medications like proton pump inhibitors for more than 12 months have a 44 percent increased risk of breaking a hip, according to a 2006 study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Marvel of Peru contains a proteolytic enzyme that helps in digestion and soothes the stomach.


You may suffer from constipation if:

  • your stool is dry, hard, and unusually large;
  • you have trouble having a bowel movement;
  • you have fewer than 3 bowel movements in a week.

Factors that can lead to constipation include the following:

  • ignoring the urge to use the bathroom;
  • lack of physical exercise;
  • the intake of too much caffeine or alcoholic beverages;
  • not enough water and other fluids (avoid beverages like Powerade or Gatorade, Sprite or 4Up, or Fanta);
  • lack of high-fiber foods;
  • a diet rich in processed foods, which are high in trans fats;
  • a diet rich in meat, eggs, and dairy products.

The leaves of this plant are used in traditional folk medicine as a laxative.

ALSO READ: Foods High In Fiber


Candida albicans is part of our natural microflora. Most of the time, it causes no health problems, however, it is possible for infections and overgrowths to occur.

Symptoms of Candida infection include:

  • UTI (urinary tract infection);
  • exhaustion;
  • a weak immune system;
  • excessive cravings for sweets;
  • digestive problems (bloating and excessive intestinal gas);
  • chronic sinus and allergy issues;
  • loss of sex drive;
  • joint pain;
  • bad breath;
  • hormone imbalance;
  • brain fog;
  • white coating on the tongue.

Mirabilis Jalapa is especially good for Candida and yeast infections.

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Good For Type 2 Diabetics

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus may include:

  • headaches;
  • increased thirst;
  • blurred vision;
  • fatigue (weak, tired feeling);
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • frequent urination;
  • dry mouth;
  • increased hunger.

You’re more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus if you:

  • are of South Asian, African Caribbean, Chinese, or black African origin;
  • are overweight or obese;
  • have a close relative with type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • are over 25 (for south Asian people) or 40.

The ethanol extract of the roots of Marvel of Peru has anti-diabetic properties.

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Abdominal Colic

The indigenous people of Mexico use this plant for the treatment of abdominal colic, a term used to describe severe spasmodic pain in the abdomen caused by obstruction, distention, or inflammation.

Abdominal colic is a common medical condition and is estimated to affect up to 20 percent of infants during their first three months of life.

Moreover, this medicinal herb can be used for the treatment of:

  • acne;
  • ulcers;
  • Beri-Beri (a medical condition caused by low levels of vitamin B1);
  • fatty urine;
  • diabetes;
  • vaginal discharge;
  • acute arthritis (a joint infection that evolves over hours);
  • inflammation of the prostate gland;
  • tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils).


Pregnant women are prohibited from drinking a herbal decoction produced from Mirabilis Jalapa.