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.
- 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Antihypertensive: 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.
• 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.
• 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.