Malabar Spinach

Last Updated: November 18 2022

Basella Alba is a herb used commonly alongside Hibiscus macranthus for the purpose of fertility. The combination has been found to increase testosterone in rats, and Basella appears to be more active in this regard.

Malabar Spinach is most often used for

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    Sources and Composition



    Basella Alba is a plant that is sometimes referred to as Indian Spinach, and is commonly used alongside Hibiscus macranthus in a 1:2 ratio for the purpose of fertility. Basella Alba is sometimes used as a food product, sometimes to season chicken where the Basella is cooked alongside the chicken and the broth drunk.[1][2]



    Basella Alba tends to contain:

    • Gomphrenin I, also known as 15S-betanidin 6-O-β-glucoside (fruits)[3] with trace amounts of gomphrenin III and isogomephrenin I
    • Betacyanidin pigments in the fruits (betanidin-dihexose and betanidn-hexose)[3] which are also found in purple swiss chard is the Prickly Pear pigment[4]
    • Minerals such as Calcium (103+/-11.8mg/100g), Iron (3.1+/-0.7mcg/g), Magnesium (114+/-1mg/100g), Manganese (2.7+/-0.7mcg/g), and Zinc (0.99+/-0.05mcg/g)[1]

    Currently, the composition of Basella Alba is not well know; the testosterone boosting molecule appears to be localized to the methanolic extract but is currently unknown


    Interactions with Oxidation



    Basella Alba sometimes bears dark red-blue fruits, of which gomphrenin I was identified as the active coloring agent.[3] Gomphrenin I required 34% the concentration to have the same anti-oxidant ability as Vitamin C, and required 22% and 37.5% the concentration of Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) in DPPH and linoleic acid anti-peroxidation tests; respectively.[3]

    This molecule from the fruits appears to have remarkable anti-oxidative capacities


    Immunology and Inflammation

    Doses up to 100uM Gomphresin I failed to exert cytotoxicity on activated or at rest macrophages and inhibited LPS-induced NO release with an IC50 of 24.36+/-3.35μM, with 100μM outright abolishing NO secretion.[3] Reductions in IL-1b were also seen, although TNF-a was unaffected.[3]


    Interactions with Hormones



    One study using a 2:1 ratio of Hibiscus macranthus and Basella Alba given at the equivalent of 108mg/kg bodyweight dry plant weight noted that testosterone was increased by both the fresh and dry leaf extract at day 7 (125.5-190.6% of control value) and day 15 (160.7-176.6% control level), with increases (154.4%) seen at day 3 with dry leaf extract.[5] In vitro, a methanolic extract of a mixture of equal parts Hibiscus macranthus and Basella Alba exerts most benefit at 50ug/mL.[6]

    The traditional mixture of Basella Alba and Hibiscus Macranthus appears to be effective at increasing testosterone both in vitro and in vivo when Basella is injected at 36mg/kg bodyweight (72mg/kg bodyweight Hibiscus) in rats; no human studies currently

    In vitro, a methanol extract of Basella Alba incubated for 12 hours in rat leydig cells at 10ug/mL noted 55% more testosterone secretion when compared to an HcG-stimulated control, which increased to 250% higher secretion relative to control when DMSO was removed.[7] This extract was further processed to one (a 95:5 CH2Cl2/MeOH v/v extract) with concentrated Terpenoids or sterols found dose dependent increases in testosterone at all doses between 0.1ug/mL to 500ug/mL.[7] When looking at combinations of HcG and Basella Alba methanolic extract, the extract appears to increase the production of testosterone at 10ug/mL when in the presence of either no HcG or 1 UI/mL HcG, but there was no additional production in the presence of 10UI/mL HcG.[8]

    When this methanolic extract is given to normal rat pups at 1mg/kg bodyweight (1.5-2.5 months of age) it approximately doubled testosterone levels over the course of 1-2 months.[9]

    Active components appear to be concentrated in the methanolic extract of Basella Alba, which is active on its own

    An increase in the weight of the seminal vesicle is seen to 155.9% of control after 7 days of 720mg/kg of a 2:1 ratio of Hibiscus macranthus:Basella Alba, and this is further increased to 172.7% after 15 days.[5] Weight of the testes and epididymus was not altered in this study, although an overall increase in body weight (17%) was observed and a second test with 108mg/kg extract ratio noted no significant increase in prostate weight.[5]

    Prostatic Acid phosphatase has been found to be increased in the prostate, testes, and serum.[5]



    One study that established higher testosterone secretion from the testes (in vitro) noted that estradiol was increase in testicles after stimulation by HcG and with Basella Alba and the concentrations correlated highly with Testosterone.[8] This appeared to be secondary to an induction of aromatase by Basella Alba.[8]


    Safety and Toxicity

    In rats, 1mg/kg ethanolic extract of Basella Alba has failed to increase AST or creatinine in rat pups over 2 months of supplementation.[9]

    1.^Corlett JL, Clegg MS, Keen CL, Grivetti LEMineral content of culinary and medicinal plants cultivated by Hmong refugees living in Sacramento, CaliforniaInt J Food Sci Nutr.(2002 Mar)
    3.^Lin SM, Lin BH, Hsieh WM, Ko HJ, Liu CD, Chen LG, Chiou RYStructural identification and bioactivities of red-violet pigments present in Basella alba fruitsJ Agric Food Chem.(2010 Oct 13)
    5.^Moundipa FP, Kamtchouing P, Koueta N, Tantchou J, Foyang NP, Mbiapo FTEffects of aqueous extracts of Hibiscus macranthus and Basella alba in mature rat testis functionJ Ethnopharmacol.(1999 May)
    6.^Moundipa PF, Ngouela S, Kamtchouing P, Tsamo E, Tchouanguep FM, Carreau SEffects of extracts from Hibiscus macranthus and Basella alba mixture on testosterone production in vitro in adult rat testes slicesAsian J Androl.(2006 Jan)
    7.^Moundipa PF, Beboy NS, Zelefack F, Ngouela S, Tsamo E, Schill WB, Monsees TKEffects of Basella alba and Hibiscus macranthus extracts on testosterone production of adult rat and bull Leydig cellsAsian J Androl.(2005 Dec)
    8.^Nantia EA, Travert C, Manfo FP, Carreau S, Monsees TK, Moundipa PFEffects of the Methanol Extract of Basella alba L (Basellaceae) on Steroid Production in Leydig CellsInt J Mol Sci.(2011 Jan 14)
    9.^Nantia EA, Manfo PF, Beboy NE, Travert C, Carreau S, Monsees TK, Moundipa PFEffect of methanol extract of Basella alba L. (Basellaceae) on the fecundity and testosterone level in male rats exposed to flutamide in uteroAndrologia.(2012 Feb)