Mirabilis jalapa, Marvel of Peru, four o´clock

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(Mirabilis jalapa)

Characteristics of marbel of Peru

Scientific noun: Mirabilis jalapa L.

Common noun: Marvel of Peru, Four o’clock

Family: Nyctaginaceae

Habitat: Native from tropical America, it is cultivated as a garden plant and can be found naturalized in waste lands, country roads… of warm climates.

Mirabilis jalapa- Marvel of Peru

Mirabilis jalapa photo

Active principles of Mirabilis jalapa

Alkaloids: trigonelline (root)

Resin (root)


Galactose (root)

Proteins (seeds)

Beta-sisosterol (Plant)

Active parts: The root and the seeds.


Medicinals properties of Mirabilis jalapa

Herbal preparations with marvel of Peru: The seeds and the powder of the roots have been used as laxatives or, to treat the cases of constipation or to expel the intestinal worms.

Decoctions of the plant are used as diuretic to eliminate weight in case of obesity or for the treatment of urticaria, diabetes or dropsy

The root has been used as aphrodisac.

Remedies for the skin with Mirabilis jalapa: In external use, the juice obtained after squeezing the plant is used as vulnerary, to cure affections of the skin, as wounds, eczemas, burnings, herpes, stings of insects, etc., applying the juice on the affected area.

Given the toxicity of its components, its use is dissuaded in homemade preparations !!!

Edible properties of marvel of Peru

Although it is said that leaves are edible when cooked, it is better not to eat them. Flowers are used to colour dishes, specially jellies and cakes.

Marvel of Peru, a gardening plant

Mirabilis jalapa is a perennial tuberous plant that appears in gardens very frequently. It prefers warm or tropical places, although it can also be planted in cooler places, where the external parts of the plant and blooming time will have a shorter time, remaining dormant until the next favourable season in the tuberous root.

In suitable climates it grows very well offering a big amount of very big scented flowers that can be very varied in colour. (white, red, pink, variegated). Different colour or pattern can be present in the same plant. In this type of climates, growing must be controlled not to become an invasive plant, because new samples can easily appear from its seeds.

Mirabilis jalapa flowers open late in the afternoon, hence it is also commonly called “four o´clock flower”. Flowers will remain open all the night and close in the morning

Industrial properties of marvel of Peru

Phytochemical industry uses it to obtain components that are used in the composition of many products with fungicidal and germicidal properties.

Toxicity of Mirabilis jalapa

The toxixity of marvel of Peru considerable. It is a psychedelic plant with similar effects to LSD. In fact, it has been taken as a substitute of this. It mainly affects to the digestive tract, producing considerable digestive disorders.

By means of uterine stimulation in pregnant women it can cause abortions.

Side effects of Mirabilis jalapa

In internal use, the ingestion of this plant will produce the following poisoning symptoms:


– Nausea,

– Vomiting


In external use, the contact with the skin can produce dermatitis.

Medical treatment: Vomitives, gastric lavage and emollients administration

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Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

3 December, 2019

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.