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Family Cucurbitaceae
Melothria maderaspatana (Linn.) Cogn.

Mao er gua

Scientific names Common names
Melothria maderaspatana (Linn.) Cogn. Melon-gubat (Tag.)
Bryonia scabrella Linn. f. Madras pea pumpkin (Engl.)
Cucumis maderaspatana Linn. Bristly bryony (Engl.)
Mukia scabrella Arn. Rough bryony (Engl.)
Mukia maderaspatana (L.) M. Roem. Hong gua (Chin.)
Coccia cordifolia (L.) Cogn. Mao er gua (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
HINDI: Agumaki
INDIA: Musumusukkai

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.

- Sudorific.
- Studies suggest hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, immunomodulatory properties.

Parts used
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.
Antihyperglycemic / Free Radical Scavenging:
An aqueous extract of Mm showed significant antihyperglycemic, hypocholesterolemic, and free radical scavenging activities in STZ-induced diabetic rats.
Antiplatelet Activity:
Aerial parts were evaluated in platelet-rich plasma in presence of ADP. An ethyl-acetate extract showed dose-dependent antiplatelet activity, at 50% compared to standard aspirin.
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.
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.
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.
Study results showed Mm leaf-tea consumption gradually decreased BP and showed beneficial effects of lipid profile, fibrinogen, bilirubin and body mass index.
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.
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.
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.


Last Update September 2012

IMAGE SOURCE: Mukia maderaspatana / Copyright © Nirmal Roberts / TrekNature / Click on graphic to see original source image

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antihyperlipidemic effect of Melothria maderaspatana leaf extracts on DOCA-salt induced hypertensive rats. / Veeramani C, Al-Numair KS, Chandramohan G, Alsaif MA, Pugalendi KV / Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012 Jun;5(6):434-9.
Evaluation of anti-hyperglycemic and free radical scavenging activity of Melothria maderaspatana Linn. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / S. Hemalatha*, A. K. Wahi, P. N. Singh and J.P.N. Chansouria / African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology Vol. 4(11). pp. 817-822, November 2010
Antioxidative constitution of Mukia maderaspatana (Linn.) M. Roem. leaves / A J A Petrus, N Bhuvaneshwari and J A L Alain / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources Vol. 2(1), March 2011, pp. 34-43
Ethanol Extract of Melothria Maderaspatana Inhibits Glucose Absorption and Stimulates Insulin Secretion in Male C57BL/6 Mice / Ashok Kumar Balaraman*, Jagadish Singh, Tapan Kumar Maity, Vaiyaburi Thamil Selvan and Suresh Babu Palanisamy / 2011 International Conference on Bioscience, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics IPCBEE vol.5 (2011)
Anxiolytic Activity of Hydro-alcoholic Extract of Mukia maderaspatana Linn. Leaves on Experimental Animals /
Sampath Saravanan␣, Sellimuthu Manokaran, and Salahudheen Chand / Jordan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Volume 5, No. 1, 2012
Effect of Melothria maderaspatana Leaf-Tea Consumption on Blood Pressure, Lipid Profile, Anthropometry, Fibrinogen, Bilirubin, and Albumin Levels in Patients with Hypertension /
Boobalan Raja, Kuppusamy Kaviarasan, Mangalam Muthu Arjunan, and Kodukkur Viswanathan Pugalendi / The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 2007, 13(3): 349-354 / doi:10.1089/acm.2006.5373.
Comparative Antimicrobial Activity of Aerial Parts of Melothria maderaspatana of Indian and Srilankan Origin / M.S. RIYAZULLAH*, V. SIVAKUMAR, AND P.PRASANNA RAJ / Int.J. PharmTech Res.2010,2(4)A
Protective effect of Melothria maderaspatana leaf fraction on electrolytes, catecholamines, endothelial nitric oxide synthase and endothelin-1 peptide in uninephrectomized deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt hypertensive rats / Veeramani C, Al-Numair KS, Chandramohan G, Alsaif MA, Pugalendi KV. / J Nat Med. 2012 Jul;66(3):535-43. Epub 2012 Jan 14.
Evaluation of antioxidant activity of Melothria maderaspatana in vitro / Science Index

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