Kampillaka: Mallotus philippensis Medicinal uses and pharmacology


Kampillaka- Mallotus philippensis is a herb mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of skin diseases, wound and intestinal worm. 

Latin name- Mallotus philippensis Muell Arg.
Family- Euphorbiaceae

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Kabila

English name- Kamala, Monkey face tree
Arabic name: Kambil
Assamese name: Lokhan
Gujarati name: Kamilo
Kannada name: Kunkundamar, Chandranettu, Kapila
Kashmiri name: Kammelak
Malayalam name: Kurmadakku, Kampippala
Marathi name: Shendari, Kapila
Oriya name: Kapilogendi
Tamil name: Kungumam
Telugu name: Kunkum
Urdu: Kamila

Sanskrit Synonyms:
Raktanga, Raktachurnaka, Ranjaka, Lohitanga – The fruit is red in color

Karkash- The fruit is rough outside
Rechi, Rechanaka, Vireki- Cause purgation
Rakta Samana, Varnashodhana,

Morphology of Mallotus philippensis:
Kampillaka is a medium size tree growing to a height of 20-25meter and found all over India up to an altitude of 5000 feet. The bark of the tree is brown outside and reddish inside. The leaves are 3-5 inch long, little round to long in shape with hair like structures on the lower surface, whereas the upper surface is smooth. The flowers are unisexual, pale yellow and are found in the month of August- September. The fruits are round, 0.5 inch in diameter and covered with red hair like structures. These hair like structures are collected and used as medicine. Fruits are seen in the month of March- May. The seeds are round, black and slimy in nature.

Test for purity of Kampillaka:
Brick powder is used as adulterant for Kampillaka. Hence to check the quality, the following test can be done-

  • The hair of the fruit is put in a bowl of water. The hairs float in water whereas the brick powder sink in the water.
  • If the hair of the fruit is rubbed over a white paper, it gives a yellow line.
  • If the hair of the fruit is sprinkled over fire, it gives a crackling appearance.


Medicinal properties of kampillak:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent)

Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature), Teekshna (Strong)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)

Part used- Glands and hair of fruit
Hair of fruit- 1-2 g

Kampillaka Shodhana (purification):
Kampillak, being the fruit skin powder is very light in nature. It is put into water. All the impurities will settle down while the Kampillaka floats. The floating particles are collected, dried and preserved.

Chemical composition:
The most important active constituent is a brownish red or reddish yellow color called Rottlerin. Capsule hair and glands gave phloroglucinol derivatives; rottlerin, isorottlerin, isoallorottlerin (the “red compound”) and methylene-bis-methyl- phloroacetophenone (the“yellow compound”). Two more compounds designated as kamalins 1 and 2 have been isolated. The stem bark contains kamaladiol- 3-acetate and friedelin.

Uses of Kampillaka:

  • The hair of the fruit of Kampillaka is mixed with sesame oil and applied over the skin affected with eczema and wound as part of treatment.
  • Mallotus philippinensis fruit gland is used for the treatment of intestinal worms by mixing it with hot water and consuming.
  • Decoction of the fruit hair is giving in a dose of 30-40 ml to retain the fetus in pregnancy condition.
  • Cold infusion of the bark is given in a dose of 40- 50 ml to treat renal calculi and in retention of urine.
  • Decoction of the bark of Mallotus philippinensis is given in a dose of 30 ml to treat skin diseases like eczema and acts like a blood purifier.


Traditional indications of Kampillaka:
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds

Gulma – Tumors of the abdomen
Udara – ascites, enlargement of the abdomen
Vibandha – constipation
Adhmana – bloating, gaseous distension of abdomen
Shleshma krumi – parasites of Kapha origin
Kaphajakasa – cough of Kapha origin
Pitta Vrana – Ulcers, wounds
Ama – A product of indigestion and altered metabolism
Shopha  – inflammation
Jwara – fever
Shoola – abdominal colic pain

Adverse effects: Increased dose of Kampillaka can cause purgation and excessive salivation. Hence the herb should be used with caution.

Ayurvedic medicines containing Kampillaka:
Mishraka sneha: It is an Ayurvedic medicine, in herbal ghee form. This medicine has ghee as it is base. It is used for preparatory procedure for Panchakarma and also as medicine, used in the treatment of abscess, Vata diseases etc.

Krimighatini vati: It is an Ayurvedic medicine used in the treatment of intestinal worm infestation, vomiting sensation, inflammatory conditions etc.

Dhanvantara ghrita: It is an Ayurvedic medicine, in herbal ghee form. It is used for the treatment of edema, abscess, hemorrhoids, anemia, toxic conditions, diabetes, diabetic carbuncle, Gout, spleen related diseases, skin and psychotic diseases.
Jivantyadi yamaka: It is an Ayurvedic medicine used for the treatment of various skin ailments – eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, hives and allergic rashes etc.

Vidangadi churna:  It is a powder used in treatment of intestinal worms (helminthiasis), anorexia and abdominal pain.
Bala kalpam syrup: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine used for improving liver function and digestive power in children. It is also used to treat cold, bronchitis, nausea, vomiting and infantile regurgitation.

Research articles related to Mallotus philippensis:
Anti- oxidant activity: Phenolic compounds were extracted from Mallotus philippinensis bark using methanol. The content of total phenolics in the fractions ranged from 54 mg/g (fraction I) to 927 mg/g (fraction VI). Condensed tannins were detected in fractions II–VI. Total antioxidant activity (TAA) of phenolic fractions of Mallotus philipinensis bark extract ranged from 0.58 mmol Trolox/g (fraction I) to 6.82 mmol Trolox/g (fraction IV). Fraction IV also showed the strongest antiradical activity against DPPH and reducing power.

Anti- fungal action: From the red coloured extract (Kamala) prepared through acetone extraction of the fresh whole uncrushed fruits of Mallotus philippinensis, one new dimeric chalcone (1) along with three known compounds 1-(5,7-dihydroxy-2,2,6-trimethyl-2H-1-benzopyran-8-yl)-3-phenyl-2-propen-1-one (2), rottlerin (3) and 4′-hydroxyrottlerin (4) were isolated. Compounds 14 were evaluated for antifungal activity against different human pathogenic yeasts and filamentous fungi. The antiproliferative activity of the compounds was evaluated against Thp-1 cell lines. Compounds 1 and 2 both exhibited IC50 of 8, 4 and 16 μg/mL against Cryptococcus neoformans PRL518, C. neoformans ATCC32045 and Aspergillus fumigatus, respectively.

Anti- diabetic action: In the present work the antidiabetic activity of the Mallotus philippinensis was evaluated. The hydro ethanolic bark extract showed significant increase in the levels of body weight, insulin and significant decrease in blood glucose, and glycosylated haemoglobin when administered orally for 30 days to STZ induced diabetic rats at a dose of 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight.

Classical categorization:
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Chandanadi varga

Raja Nighantu- Suvarnadi varga
Rasa Ratna Samucchaya – Sadharana Rasa


Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

Encyclopedia of Indian Medicinal Plants/Herbs mainly using in Ayurveda with good quality pictures and information like therapeutic usage of Medicinal Plants, cultivation, morphology, habitat, flower characters, Chemical content, parts used, research works etc.

medicinal plants