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Family Cucurbitaceae
Melon-daga
Zehneria japonica (Thunb.) H.Y.Liu
MOUSE CUCUMBER

Ye shao gua

Scientific names Common names
Melothria argyi H. Lév. Melon-daga (Tag.)
Melothria formosana Hayata Simonkaram (Iv.)
Melothria indica Lour. Timun-ambau (Sul.)
Melothria japonica Maxim. ex Cogn. Mouse cucumber (Engl.)
Melothria leucocarpa (Blume) Cogn. Indian zehneria (Engl.)
Melothria odorata Hook. f. & Thomson ex C.B.Clarke  
Neoachmandra indica (Lour.) W.J.de Wilde & Duyfjes  
Neoachmandra japonica (Thunb.) W.J.de Wilde & Duyfjes  
Zehneria indica (Lour.) Keraudren  
Zehneria japonica (Thunb.) H.Y.Liu  
Zehneria omeiensis Z.Y. Zhu  
Melon-daga is a common name shared by (1) Tricosanthes cucumerina, melon-melonan, tabubok, and (2) Melothria indica, melon-daga.
Melothria indica Lour. is a synonym of Zehneria japonica (Thunb.) H.Y. Liu The Plant List
Zehneria japonica (Thunb.) H.Y. Liu is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ma die er, Ma jiao er, Ye shao gua.
INDIA: Chiminphang (Rava).
RUSSIAN: Melotriia indijskaia, Zheneria indijskaia.
THAI: Tam lueng tua phu

Botany
Melon-daga is a slender vine 1 to 2 meters long, with simple tendrils. Leaves are rough, triangular-ovate, 3 to 8 centimeters long, pointed at the tip, and heart-shaped at the base; the margins are subentire, irregularly toothed, or even slightly lobed. Flowers are somewhat straw-colored, solitary or few in each axil of the leaves, about 5 millimeters long, and borne on slender pedicels 1 to 2.5 centimeters long. Male and female flowers are often in the same axil. Fruit is ovoid or ellipsoid, pointed and about 2 centimeters long.

Distribution
- Along streams, old clearings, etc., at low and medium altitudes in the Batan Islands; Ifugao, Lepanto, and Benguet Subprovince; Bataan, Rizal, Laguna and Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon; and in Polillo, and Mindanao.
- Also occurs in India to China, and through Malaya to the Moluccas and Samoa.

Constituents
- Study purified an endopeptidase from the fruits of Melothria japonica. Angiotensin I was cleaved within 30 minutes suggesting it was a serine oligopeptidase of broad substrate specificity. (6)

Properties
- Considered purgative.
- Studies have showen anticancer, immunomodulatory properties.

Parts used
Leaves, fruit.

Uses

Folkloric
- Juice of leaves used to cure aphtha in children; also used for opacities of the cornea.
- Fruit is used as purgative.
- In the Moluccas juice of leaves applied to sore places affected by thrush; used for eye affections.
- In India, whole plant used in the treatment of hydrocoele.
(6)

Studies
Apoptosis Induction / Cancer Cells:
Invention describes a method of inducing apoptosis in cancer cells by administration of Melothria indica to cancer cells - leukemia cells or prostate cancer cells. (1)
Inhibition of TNF-a release: An extract from Melothria indica plant showed an effect on inhibiting the release of cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha, by immune response cells, such as macrophages.  (2)

Availability
Wild-crafted.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update December 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: PHOTOGRAPH / Leaves and flowers of Zehneria japonica / File:Zehneria japonica2SHSU.jpg / SHU SUEHIRO / CC BY 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: ILLUSTRATION / File:Zehneria indica Blanco2.365.jpg / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A)/ Public Domain / Modifications by Carol Spears / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Phtograph / Closeup of Fruit / File:BuahTimunTikus.jpg/ Tu7uh / CC BY 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Method of inducing apoptosis in cancer cells using an extract of Melothria indica Lou / Tsai, David / 06-Nov-2001
(2)
Plant extract that inhibits the release of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) / Tsai. David / May 10, 2002 / FreePatentsOnLine
(3)
Zehneria indica (Lour.) Keraudren / Catalogue of Life, China
(4)
Sorting Zehneria names
/ Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE
(5)
Zehneria japonica / Synonyms / The Plant List
(6)
Medicinal plants used by tribals in Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal, India / Debadin Bose, Joydeep Ghosh Roy, Surabhi Das Mahapatra (Sarkar), Tanmoy Datta, Subhendu Das Mahapatra & Hiranmoy Biswas / Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2015; 3(3): 15-21
(6)
A serine endopeptidase from the fruits of Melothria japonica (Thunb.) maxim. / Uchikoba T, Hosoyamada S, Onjyo M, Arima K, Yonezawa H, Kaneda M / Phytochemistry [2001, 57(1):1-5] / DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9422(00)00511-2

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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