Herb: China Jute

Latin name: Abutilon theophrasti

Synonyms: Abutilon avicennae, Sida abutilon

Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

Medicinal use of China Jute:

Ophthalmic. Used in the treatment of dysentery and opacity of the cornea. The leaves contain 0.01% rutin and are used as a demulcent. A tea made from the dried leaves is used in the treatment of dysentery and fevers. A poultice of the leaves is applied to ulcers. The bark is astringent and diuretic. A tea made from the dried root is used in the treatment of dysentery and urinary incontinence. It is also used to treat fevers. The seed is powdered and eaten in the treatment of dysentery, stomach-aches etc. It is demulcent, diuretic, emollient, laxative and stomachic.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Cultivated ground and waste places in the Mediterranean.

Edible parts of China Jute:

Seeds - raw or cooked. They can be eaten raw when they are under-ripe. The ripe seed is dried and ground into a powder then used in soups, bread etc. It is washed first to remove any bitterness. The seed contains about 17.4% protein, 16% fat, 33.8% carbohydrate, 4.4% ash. Unripe fruit - raw. This is really more of a seedpod.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre obtained from the stems is used as a jute substitute. It is coarse but flexible and strong. It is also used in rope-making. It takes dyes well. The fibre is also used for making paper, the stems are harvested in the summer, the leaves removed and the stems steamed in order to remove the fibres. The seeds contain about 19% of a semi-drying oil.

Propagation of China Jute:

Seed - sow early April in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 - 3 weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in May or June, after the last expected frosts. An outdoor sowing in April to early May in situ could also be tried, especially in those areas with warm summers.

Cultivation of the herb:

Cultivated ground and waste places in the Mediterranean.

Known hazards of Abutilon theophrasti:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.