Melon-gubat is a perennial herb with simple tendrils. Stems are climbing, long, slender, much-branched, angular, and covered with spreading, bristly hairs, with the young parts densely covered with white hairs. Leaves are ovate or triangular-ovate, variable in size, usually 5 to 9 centimeters long (but often only 2.5 to 4 centimeters) and 2 to 8 centimeters wide, very deeply heart-shaped at the base, pointed or obtuse at the apex, rather shallowly 5-lobed, coarsely toothed at the margins, and usually rough. Petioles are fully half as long as the leaves. Flowers are yellow and very small, the males occurring in fascicles and the females, singly. Calyx is hairy, with linear segments. Petals are ovate, and only about 2 millimeters long. Fruit is a berry, scarlet when ripe, rounded, 10 to 12 millimeters in diameter, and furnished with a few scattered hairs. Seeds are closely packed, ovoid, oblong, about 4 millimeters long, and compressed in the pulp.
- In open grasslands, old clearings, etc., at low and medium altitudes in Batan Island; Lepanto and Bontoc Subprovinces; Cavite and Laguna Provinces in Luzon; in Masbate; in Palawan and Mindanao.
- Also found in Tropical Africa and from Asia through Malaya to tropical Australia.
- Studies have yielded sugar, coumarins, amino acids, flavonoids.
- Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids, saponins, and tannins.
- Screening of aerial parts yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, triterpenes and glycosides.
- Phytochemical studies of leaves have yielded spinasterol, 22,23-dihydrospinasterol, ß-sitosterol, decosaenoic acid, triterpenes, phenolic compounds, and glycosides.
- Roots have yielded columbin.
Seeds have yielded linolenic, lenoleic and arachidic acids.
- Extracts of ether, chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts of Melothria maderaspatana aerial parts yielded
steroids, triterpenes, and phenolic compounds. Studies have reported docosanoic acid, β- sitosterol and a pentaalochol. (13)
- Studies suggest hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, immunomodulatory properties.
Seeds, roots, leaves.
- Seeds in decoction are sudorific; used for flatulence.
- Crushed seeds used for aching bodies, especially with sprained backs.
- Seeds masticated to relieve toothache.
- Decoction of roots used for flatulence; when masticated, relieves toothaches.
- Tender shoots and bitter leaves are used as gentle aperient; also, for vertigo and biliousness.
- Roots used as diuretic and as laxative in constipation.
- In India, some tribes used the plant for diabetes.
Also used for fever, anxiety, and to improve appetite.
• Antihyperlipidemic / Cardio-hepato-renal Protective: Study of crude ethanolic extract of leaf on deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertensive rats showed protective effects on the liver, kidney, and heart. Histopathology on the organs showed reduced damages towards normal histology. The protective effect was attributed to its antihyperlipidemic activity. (2)
• Antihyperglycemic / Free Radical Scavenging: An aqueous extract of Mm showed significant antihyperglycemic, hypocholesterolemic, and free radical scavenging activities in STZ-induced diabetic rats. (3)
• Antioxidative Constitution of Leaves / Radical Scavenging and Metal Chelating Activities: Study isolated saponarin, a major phenolic antioxidant, together with phenolics, flavonoid, carotenoids, vitamins C and E. The leaf extract showed potent in vitro antioxidant/radical scavenging and metal chelating activities.(4)
• Postprandial Glucose-Lowering Activity: Study of extract of leaves in mice showed glucose-lowering activity within an hour of glucose load, probably partially through inhibition of sugar absorption in the small intestine. The effect was not as persistent as standard drug metformin. (5)
• Anxiolytic: Study evaluated the anxiolytic activity of a hydro-alcoholic extract of leaves in Wistar albino rats through the elevated plus maze test in rats and socio-behavioral deficit test in mice. Both showed significant anxiolytic activity. (6)
• Antihypertensive: Study results showed Mm leaf-tea consumption gradually decreased BP and showed beneficial effects of lipid profile, fibrinogen, bilirubin and body mass index. (7)
• Comparative Antimicrobial Activity: In antimicrobial testing, the methanolic extract of the Srilankan variety of Mm showed pronounced activity against E. coli. A hexane extract of the Indian variety showed moderate antibacterial activity. Antifungal activity was negligible for both varieties. (8)
• Hypolipidemic: Study of hypolipidemic effect of aqueous extract of whole plant in high fat diet fed rats showed significant reduction in the lipid level comparable with the Navaka guggulu.
• Blood Pressure Control / Electrolyte and Catecholamine Effect: Study evaluated the protective effect of ethyl acetate fraction of Mm leaf. Results showed good blood pressure control by enhancement of potassium and decrease of sodium levels, decrease epinephrine and catecholamines, prevention of eNOS down-regulation, and significantly down-regulating ET-1 protein expression. (9)
• Antioxidant: Study of aqueous extract of leaves for in vitro antioxidant activity showed effective scavenging of hydroxyl radical, hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion radicals. It also scavenged DPPH and ABTS radicals, and was also found to have reducing power. All leaf extract concentration showed dose-dependent preventive effects. (10)
• Anti-Diabetic / Phloroglucinol and Mukia: Study evaluated Mukia extract and phenolics (quercetin and phloroglucinol) for in vitro antidiabetic activity. Phloroglucinol inhibited 100% of glucose production with or without insulin. Mukia inhibited gluconeogenesis by 45%. Results support the use of Mukia in folk medicine as antidiabetic nutrceutical. (12)
• Anti-Platelet Activity / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the effect of M. maderaspatna in platelet aggregation. An ethyl acetate extract showed dose-dependent antiplatelet activity. The degree of platelet aggregation was 50% when compared to standard Aspirin. (14)
• Anthelmintic: Study evaluated aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Mukia maderaspatana and Sida cordata for anthelmintic activity against common Indian earthworm, Pheretima posthuma, using Albendazole as standard. Aqueous extracts showed good activity compared to the ethanolic extracts. (15)
• Anti-Diabetic / α-Glucosidase and α -amylase inhibitory activities: Study evaluated the invitro antidiabetic activity of an ethanolic extract of Mukia maderaspatana. Results showed dose dependent inhibition of α-glucosidase and α--amylase enzyme, with lower inhibitory activity than acarbose. (16)
• Antioxidant Properties from Different Parts: Study showed leaves of M. maderaspatana is rich in ascorbic acid, higher than in fruits. The leaves also contain adequate amounts of phenolics and flavonoid contents higher than fruits. (17)
• Antihyperglycemic / Hypolipidemic Effects: Ethanol extracts of aerial parts were evaluated in STZ induced diabetes in Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed significant antihyperglycemic and hypolipidemic effects, with glibenclamide as standard. (18)
• Diuretic: A hydroalcoholic extract of a powdered form of the plant showed significant diuretic activity when compared with standard drug azetazolamide. (19)
• Anti-Ulcer / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-ulcer activity of crude aqueous extract of dried powdered leaves against stress induced ulcer models. Treatment with M. maderaspatana significantly restored the biochemical stress markers (MDA, GSH, gastric juice, volume and pH) to normal levels. (20)
• Antihypertensive / Leaves: Study of an ethanolic extract of leaves on sham-operated and uninephrectomized DOCA-salt induced hypertensive male albino Wistar rats showed significant reduction of blood pressure.