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Family Menispermaceae
Stephania merrillii Diels

Tai wan qian jin teng

Scientific names Common names
Stephania merrillii Diels Stephania (Engl.)
Stephania sasakii Hyata ex Yamam.  
PhiStephania merrillii Diels is an accepted name The Plant List
Quisumbing's compilation lists Stephania sasakii Hayata and Stephania merrillii Diels as separate species. Other compilations list them as synonyms. (See Taxon Info below)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Tai wan qian jin teng.

Stephania sasakii is a vigorous, woody vine. Branches are about 1 centimeter in diameter, with 10 ridges. Smooth leaves are broadly ovate or somewhat rounded, 9 to 12 centimeters long, 8.5 to 11 centimeters wide; the apex short, mucronate, and pointed, the base rounded and peltate, on petioles as long as the leaves; the margins entire and minutely revolute. Fruiting branches are peduncle3d, 8 to 12 centimeters long, and borne in the axils of the leaves. Fruit is obovate, about 1.2 centimeters long, and 1 centimeter wide, and 4 millimeters thick.

Additional taxon info
Stephania sasakii was originally reported from Kotosho Island, southeast of Taiwan. A specimen of Stephania collected on Batan Islands, Batanes was identified as S. sasakii. It is considered to differ from its common allied species Stephania merrillii in size of the leaves, which are broader and rounder, and differs also in its larger fruit, and other floral characteristics of the sepals and petals.

- Originally identified in Taiwan.
- Also reported in Batan Islands, Batanes.

- Species of Stephania are of interest chemically and therapeutically.
- Stephania cepharantha Hayata in Takao, Taiwan, yielded an alkaloid, cepharantin, which was studied and used in Japan as a cure for tuberculosis.
- Studies have reported the presence of cepharantin in S. sasakii in Taiwan.
- There are no studies that confirm its presence in Philippine species of Stephania in Luzon: S. Merrillii, S. ramosii, and S. catosepala. Non
e of these three species have the stout and tuberous roots of S. cepharantha, but the stems may contain the alkaloid, cepharantin, isolated from S. sasakii.
- Stephania sasakii yielded alkaloids obaberine, thairugosine, aknadinine, secocepharanthine and O-methylpunjabine. (Moza et a., 1970; Kunitomo, 1985)   (4)
- Two new secobisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids, secocepharanthine (3) and O-methylpunjabine (4). Their structures were established, along with two other alkaloids, dihydrosecocepharanthine (1) and O-methyldeoxopunjabine (2). In addition, two known bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids, obaberine (5) and thalrugosine (6) were newly isolated from the same plant. (7)


- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Japan,
cepharantin alkaloid has been studies and used in the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis.

1980 study isolated five new alkaloids, dehydrocrebanine, 4,5-dioxodehydrocrebanine, stesakine, dehydrostesakine, bisaknadinine and four known alkaloids, lirodenine, lanuginosine, 1-tetrahydropalmatine, d-isocorydine with a few alkaloids of unknown structure.
• Two Unknown Alkaloids: The structures of two unknown alkaloids from Stephania sasakii Hayata were established as 4-hydroxycrebanine (1), a new 4-hydroxyaporphine alkaloid, and (R)--roemeroline (3), respectively. (6)


Updated October 2018 / August 2016
September 2011

IMAGE SOURCE: / Stephania merrillii Diels / Tyosyun Sata / 1932.7.19 / Taiwan / A. Iwami / 1987.7.0 / click on image to go to source page / Plants of Taiwan
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo: Stephania merrillii / © Mingiweng / non-commercial use / click on photo to go to source page / flickr

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Stephania merrillii Diels / The Plant List
The alkaloids of Stephania sasakii: Structure of five new alkaloids / Jun-ichi Kunitomo, Yoshiko Murakami, Megumi Oshikata et al / Phytochemistry, Vol 19, No 12, 1980, Pp 2735-2739 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)83953-9
Constitution of three new alkaloids, aknadinine (4-demethylhasubanonine), aknadicine (4-demethylnorhasubanonine), and aknadilactam (4-demethyl-16-oxohasubanonine) / B. K. Moza, B. Bhaburi and D. K. Basu / Tetrahedron, Vol 26, No 2, 1970, Pages 427-433 / doi:10.1016/S0040-4020(01)97839-1
The genus Stephania (Menispermaceae): Chemical and pharmacological perspectives / Deepak Kumar Semwal, Ruchi Badoni Semral, Ravindra Semwal, Usha Rawat / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 132 (2): pp 369-383 · February 2010 / DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.08.047
Studies on the alkaloids of menispermaceous plants. CCLXII. Alkaloids of Stephania sasakii Hayata. 10. Structure of a new aporphine type alkaloids, steporphine. / Kunitomo JI, Hasegawa Y, Imori Y, Yuge E / Yakuugakku Zasshi, 1972 Dec; 92(12): pp 1496-1499
4-Hydroxycrebanine, a New 4-Hydroxyaporphine Alkaloid, and (R)-Roemeroline from Stephania sasakii HAYATA / Junichi Kunitomo, Megumi Oshikata, Yoshiko Murakami / Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bureau, 1981, 29(8)
O-Methyldeoxopunjabine, a secobisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid bearing an aryl methyl group, and three other secobisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids, O-methylpunjabine, secocepharanthine, and dihydrosecocepharanthine, from Stephania sasakii / Megumi Oshikata, Jun-Ichi Kunitomo, Kazuya Kodama / Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin / DOI | 10.1248/cpb.33.135

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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