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Family Asclepiadaceae
Green wax flower
Dregea volubilis (Linn. f.) Benth.

Nan shan teng

Scientific names Common names
Dregea volubilis (Linn. f.) Benth. Kratung-maba (Thailand)
Asclepias volubilis Linn. f. Cotton milk plant (Engl.)een
Hoya viridiflora R. Br. Green wax flower (Engl.)
Drega viridiflora F.-Vill. Sneezing silk (Engl.)
Wattakaka volubilis (Linn. f.) ? Nan shan teng (Chin.)

Dregea volubilis is a stout, smooth, hoary or mealy, woody vine. Leaves are ovate or somewhat rounded, 7.5 to 15 centimeters long, 5 to 10 centimeters wide, rather leathery, rounded or pointed at the base, and pointed at the tip. Cymes are axillary or interpetiolar, and umbel-like. Flowers are green, about 1 centimeters across. Follicles are usually double, broadly lanceolate, 7.5 to 10 centimeters long, turgid, longitudinally ribbed, and velvety until mature. Seeds are elliptic, concave, smooth, shining, sharp-edged, and crowned with very fine, white, silky hairs.

- In the Babuyan Islands( Camiguin), Lubang, Luzon (Rizal, Bontoc and Batangas Provinces), and Panay, in thickets at low altitudes.
- Also occurs in India to Java.

- The fresh pericarp freed from the seeds contain an active principle, called dregein.
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, anthocyanins, anthracene glycosides, catecholic compounds, coumarins, flavonoids, iridoids, saponins and volatile oils.

- Phytochemical analysis yielded triterpenoid glycosides and aglycones, called dregeosides and drevogenins.

- Emetic, expectorant, febrifuge.

Parts used
Leaves, roots, juice.


- In Thailand, occasionally grown as a vegetable. Young shoot and inflorescence used in a curry with dried, smoked fish.
- Leaves used as application to boils and abscesses.
- Roots and tender stalks used as emetic and expectorant.
- Juice exuding from cut roots are inserted into the nose to cause sneezing.
- In South East Asia, used as antifebrile and emetic.
- Used to treat hematemesis, sore throat, carbuncles, eczema, asthma and as antidote for poison.

Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Anti-Lipid Peroxidative:
Considered by some authors as a synonym for D. volubilis. Phytochemical study yielded glucosides and alkaloids in the roots, considered to produce significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
Possible Hepatotoxicity: Study of mature leaves of Dregea volubilis on male Sprague-Dawley rats showed degenerative changes in hepatocytes, with elevations in key hepatic enzyme concentrations.
Polyoxypregnane glycoside / Chondroprotective: Study yielded polyoxypregnane glycoside which was shown to have a potent chondroprotective activity and presents a potential compound for a new pharmacologic agent for the management of degenerative joint diseases.
Fruit Toxicity Studies: Acute and sub-chronic toxicity study of Dregea volubilis fruit in mice demonstrated no noticeable toxicity.
Antitumor: Study concludes that Dregea volubilis fruit exhibited remarkable antitumor activity against Erhlich ascites carcinoma in Swiss mice.
Anti-Inflammatory: Study showed the methanolic extract of leaves of Dregea volubilis in a carrageenan-induced model of acute inflammation exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity.
Immunomodulatory: Study of an ethanol extract from the stem parts of Dregea volubilis exhibited potential in treating T cell-mediated diseases through facilitation of apoptosis of activated T cells.
Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging / Fruits: Study evaluated the antioxidant potential of various extracts of fruits of Dregea volubilis using different assays. Extracts exhibited potent total antioxidant activity increasing with concentration.
Immunomodulatory / Apoptosis of Activated T Cells / Drevogenin-D: Study evaluated the immunomodulatory activity of DV extract.
DVE tended to stimulate nonactivated lymph node cells while suppressing already activated T cells by selectively facilitating apoptosis through a capsase-dependent pathway. Drevogenin-D, an aglycone isolated, prevented selenite-induced oxidative stress and calpain activation in cultured rat lens.


Last Update March 2012

IMAGE SOURCE: GNU Free Documentation License (1) File:Dregea volubilis W IMG 1595.jpg / 12.09.09 / J. M. Garg / Wikimedia Commons (2) File:Dregea volubilis W IMG 1597.jpg / 12.09.09 / J. M. Garg / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-lipid peroxidative properties of Wattakaka volubilis (Linn.f.) Stapf. / TS Divya, PG Latha et al / Natural Product Radiance, Vol 8(2), 2009, pp 137-141
Possible hepatotoxicity of Nigella sativa seeds and Dregea volubilis leaves / Kamani H. Tennekoon, S Jeevathayaparan et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 31, Issue 3, March 1991, Pages 283-289 /

Preliminary Phytochemical Evaluation of Certain Anticancer Crude Drugs Used by Adivasis of Rayalaseema Region, Andhra Pradesh, India / P Venkata Krishnaiah et al / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 693-97. 2008.
A New Polyoxypregnane Glycoside from the Roots of Dregea volubilis (L.f) Benth. ex Hook. f and its Chondroprotective Effect / Saksri Sanyuacharernkul, Akanit Itchiarbha et al / American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 5 (4): 202-209, 2009
ACUTE AND SUB-CHRONIC TOXICITY STUDY OF DREGEA VOLUBILIS FRUIT IN MICE / Moulisha Biswas, Biswakanth Kar et al / Journal of Phytology 2010, 2(8): 06–10
Antitumor Effect of Dregea volubilis Fruit in Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Bearing Mice / Moulisha Biswas, Samit Bera et al / Global Journal of Pharmacology 4 (3) 102-1-6, 2010
Anti-inflammatory effect of a methanolic extract of leaves of Dregea volubilis / Hossain E, Sarkar D et al /
J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Nov 11;132(2):525-8. Epub 2010 Aug 26.
Dregea volubilis Ameliorates Concanavalin A-Induced Liver Injury by Facilitating Apoptosis of Activated T Cells / Fangyuan Gong, Yan Shen et al / Exp Biol Med 233:1124–1132, 2008 / DOI: 10.3181/0801-RM-15
Antioxidant and free-radical-scavenging effects of fruits of Dregea volubilis / Moulisha Biswas, Pallab Kanti Haldar, Ashoke Kumar Ghosh / Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, 2010, Vol 1, No 1, Pp 29-34.
Dregea volubilis Ameliorates Concanavalin A-Induced Liver Injury by Facilitating Apoptosis of Activated T Cells / Fangyuan Gong, Yan Shen, Chaofeng Zhang, Jianliang Xu, Xuefeng Wu, Zichun Hua and Qiang Xu / Experimental Medicine and Biology

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