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Family Asclepiadaceae
Green wax flower
Dregea volubilis (Linn. f.) Benth.

Nan shan teng

Scientific names Common names
Apocynum tiliifolium Lam. Cotton milk plant (Engl.)
Asclepias volubilis Linn. f. Green wax flower (Engl.)
Dregea augustifolia (Hook. f.) Santapau & Irani Sneezing silk (Engl.)
Dregea formosana T. Yamaz. Sneeze wort (Engl.)
Dregea pubescens (Miq.) Boerl.  
Dregea volubilis (Linn.f.) Benth.  
Hoya viridiflora R. Br.                                  Unresolved  
Marsdenia volubilis (L.f.) Cooke  
Schollia volubilis (L.f.) Jacq. ex Steud.  
Tylophora macrantha Hance  
Dregea volubilis (L.f.) Benth. ex Hook.f. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Tita kunga.
CHINESE: Nan shan teng.
MALAYALAM: Velippauthi.
SANSKRIT: Hemajivanti.
TAMIL: Koti-p-palai.
THAI: Kratung-maba.

Dregea volubilis is a stout, smooth, hoary or mealy, woody vine. Leaves are ovate or somewhat rounded, 7.5 to 15 centimeters long, 5 to 10 centimeters wide, rather leathery, rounded or pointed at the base, and pointed at the tip. Cymes are axillary or interpetiolar, and umbel-like. Flowers are green, about 1 centimeters across. Follicles are usually double, broadly lanceolate, 7.5 to 10 centimeters long, turgid, longitudinally ribbed, and velvety until mature. Seeds are elliptic, concave, smooth, shining, sharp-edged, and crowned with very fine, white, silky hairs.

- In the Babuyan Islands( Camiguin), Lubang, Luzon (Rizal, Bontoc and Batangas Provinces), and Panay, in thickets at low altitudes.
- Also occurs in India to Java.

- The fresh pericarp freed from the seeds contain an active principle, called dregein.
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, anthocyanins, anthracene glycosides, catecholic compounds, coumarins, flavonoids, iridoids, saponins and volatile oils.

- Phytochemical analysis yielded triterpenoid glycosides and aglycones, called dregeosides and drevogenins.
- Methanol extract of leaves yielded tannins, steroids, flavonoids, and triterpenoids.

- Emetic, expectorant, febrifuge.

Parts used
Leaves, roots, juice.


- In Thailand, occasionally grown as a vegetable. Young shoot and inflorescence used in a curry with dried, smoked fish.
- Leaves used as application to boils and abscesses.
- Roots and tender stalks used as emetic and expectorant.
- Juice exuding from cut roots are inserted into the nose to cause sneezing.
- In South East Asia, used as antifebrile and emetic.
- Used to treat hematemesis, sore throat, carbuncles, eczema, asthma and as antidote for poison.

Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Anti-Lipid Peroxidative:
Considered by some authors as a synonym for D. volubilis. Phytochemical study yielded glucosides and alkaloids in the roots, considered to produce significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.(1)
Possible Hepatotoxicity: Study of mature leaves of Dregea volubilis on male Sprague-Dawley rats showed degenerative changes in hepatocytes, with elevations in key hepatic enzyme concentrations. (2)
Polyoxypregnane glycoside / Chondroprotective: Study yielded polyoxypregnane glycoside which was shown to have a potent chondroprotective activity and presents a potential compound for a new pharmacologic agent for the management of degenerative joint diseases. (4)
Fruit Toxicity Studies: Acute and sub-chronic toxicity study of Dregea volubilis fruit in mice demonstrated no noticeable toxicity. (5)
Antitumor: Study concludes that Dregea volubilis fruit exhibited remarkable antitumor activity against Erhlich ascites carcinoma in Swiss mice.(6)
Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study showed the methanolic extract of leaves of Dregea volubilis in a carrageenan-induced model of acute inflammation exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity. (7)
Immunomodulatory: Study of an ethanol extract from the stem parts of Dregea volubilis exhibited potential in treating T cell-mediated diseases through facilitation of apoptosis of activated T cells. (8)
Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging / Fruits: Study evaluated the antioxidant potential of various extracts of fruits of Dregea volubilis using different assays. Extracts exhibited potent total antioxidant activity increasing with concentration. (9)
Immunomodulatory / Apoptosis of Activated T Cells / Drevogenin-D: Study evaluated the immunomodulatory activity of DV extract.
DVE tended to stimulate nonactivated lymph node cells while suppressing already activated T cells by selectively facilitating apoptosis through a capsase-dependent pathway. Drevogenin-D, an aglycone isolated, prevented selenite-induced oxidative stress and calpain activation in cultured rat lens. (10)
Blood Glucose Lowering / Lipid Effects : Study evaluated an active fraction from Dv leaves on blood glucose and lipid profile in normal and diabetic rats. Results showed reduction in fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels with improvement in HDL levels in diabetic rats. (12)
Antidiabetic Glucose Lowering / Lipid Effects : Study of hexane and chloroform extracts of Dv showed anti-diabetic activity in Wistar albino rats. Glibenclamide was used as reference drug. (13)
Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Leaves: Study of an ethanolic extract showed high potent antioxidant and antibacterial activity. Results showed potent inhibitory action against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. (14)
Anthelmintic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anthelmintic activity of a methanol extract of D. volubilis leaves against live parasites (trematode Paramphistomum explanatum). Anthelmintic activity was found will all test doses through paralysis and death of organisms. Maximum anthelmintic activity was noted at dose of 100 mg/ml. (15)
Hepatoprotective / Paracetamol Induced Toxicity / Fruit: Study of a petroleum ether extract of Dregea volubilis against paracetamol induced liver damage in Wistar rats showed remarkable hepatoprotective activity that may be due to its augmenting endogenous antioxidant mechanisms. (16)
Antidiabetic Compound / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of active compounds from Dregea volubilis and Leptadenia reticulate leaves on serum glucose in normal and STZ- and High Fat Diet-induced diabetic rats. Study isolated two compounds, DV-1 and LR-1, which were phenolic in nature and showed anti-diabetic efficacy. (17)
Anticataractogenic / Antioxidant / Drevogenin D: Study evaluated drevogenin D for antioxidant and potential anti-cataractogenic activity in an in vitro model. On DPPH and superoxide radical scavenging assays, drevogenin D exhibited a 50 µ% inhibitory concentration of 43 µg/ml and 200.6 µg/ml, respectively. Treatment with drevogenin D showed potentail anticataractogenic activity against selenite-induced cataractous changes. (18)
Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Pentacyclic Triterpenoid / Fruits: Study of taraxerone (D-friedoolean-14-en,3-one), a pentacyclic triterpenoid isolated from a petroleum ether fruit extract of Dregea volubilis, showed significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties in Swiss albino mice model. (19)
Hemagglutinin / Seeds: Study isolated a novel hemagglutinating protein from the seeds of Dregea volubilis. The hemagglutinin was glycoprotein by nature with enzymatic and antiproliferating property towards CPA47 cells. (20)
Larvicidal / Leaves: Study evaluated the larvicidal activity of leaf powder and leaf extracts of Dregea volubilis and Bombax malabaricum against Culex quinquefasciatus. All the graded concentration (0.1% to 0.5%) of powdered leaves showed significant (p<0.05) larval mortality. Results suggest potential and ecofriendly use of both plant extracts against Cx. quinquefasciatus. (21)
Fasciocidal / Leaves: Study of methanol extract of D. volubilis leaves showed fasciocidal activity against trematode Fasciola gigantica. Severe damages were observed in both suckers and tegumental surfaces of the treated liver flukes. (22)


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update January 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: GNU Free Documentation License (1) File:Dregea volubilis W IMG 1595.jpg / 12.09.09 /J. M. Garg / Wikimedia Commons (2) File:Dregea volubilis W IMG 1597.jpg / 12.09.09 / J. M. Garg / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-lipid peroxidative properties of Wattakaka volubilis (Linn.f.) Stapf. / TS Divya, PG Latha et al / Natural Product Radiance, Vol 8(2), 2009, pp 137-141
Possible hepatotoxicity of Nigella sativa seeds and Dregea volubilis leaves / Kamani H. Tennekoon, S Jeevathayaparan et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 31, Issue 3, March 1991, Pages 283-289 /

Preliminary Phytochemical Evaluation of Certain Anticancer Crude Drugs Used by Adivasis of Rayalaseema Region, Andhra Pradesh, India / P Venkata Krishnaiah et al / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 693-97. 2008.
A New Polyoxypregnane Glycoside from the Roots of Dregea volubilis (L.f) Benth. ex Hook. f and its Chondroprotective Effect / Saksri Sanyuacharernkul, Akanit Itchiarbha et al / American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 5 (4): 202-209, 2009
ACUTE AND SUB-CHRONIC TOXICITY STUDY OF DREGEA VOLUBILIS FRUIT IN MICE / Moulisha Biswas, Biswakanth Kar et al / Journal of Phytology 2010, 2(8): 06–10
Antitumor Effect of Dregea volubilis Fruit in Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Bearing Mice / Moulisha Biswas, Samit Bera et al / Global Journal of Pharmacology 4 (3) 102-1-6, 2010
Anti-inflammatory effect of a methanolic extract of leaves of Dregea volubilis / Hossain E, Sarkar D et al /
J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Nov 11;132(2):525-8. Epub 2010 Aug 26.
Dregea volubilis Ameliorates Concanavalin A-Induced Liver Injury by Facilitating Apoptosis of Activated T Cells / Fangyuan Gong, Yan Shen et al / Exp Biol Med 233:1124–1132, 2008 / DOI: 10.3181/0801-RM-15
Antioxidant and free-radical-scavenging effects of fruits of Dregea volubilis / Moulisha Biswas, Pallab Kanti Haldar, Ashoke Kumar Ghosh / Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, 2010, Vol 1, No 1, Pp 29-34.
Dregea volubilis Ameliorates Concanavalin A-Induced Liver Injury by Facilitating Apoptosis of Activated T Cells / Fangyuan Gong, Yan Shen, Chaofeng Zhang, Jianliang Xu, Xuefeng Wu, Zichun Hua and Qiang Xu / Experimental Medicine and Biology
Sneeze wort / Common names / Flowers of India
Effect of active fraction isolated from the leaf extract of Dregea volubilis [Linn.] Benth. on plasma glucose concentration and lipid profile in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / Venkatesan Natarajan* and Anton Smith Arul Gnana Dhas / SpringerPlus 2013, 2:394 / doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-394
Effect of Hexane and Chloroform Extract of Dregea Volubilis Benth. On Blood Glucose Levels in Streptozotocin Induced Wister Albino Ratsmore / Purushoth Prabhu T., Panneerselvam P., Vijayakumar R. Selvakumari S. and Thirumal P. / I J P T , 4(2), 2012, pp. 69-72
An antioxidant and Anti bacterial activity of Dregea volubilis leaves extract / Purushoth Prabhu.T*, Maheswaran. V. S, Selvakumari. S, Suriyapadminimoka, Ragadeepthi. S and Guduvalli Dileep / Scholars Research Library Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2012, 4 (2):525-529
Anthelmintic effect of a methanol extract of leaves of Dregea volubilis on Paramphistomum explanatum / Emdad Hossain, Goutam Chandra, Anadi P Nandy, Subhash C Mandal, Jayanta Kumar Gupta / Parasitology Research, 07/2011; 110(2):809-14. / DOI: 10.1007/s00436-011-2558-2
Hepatoprotective Activity of Dregea volubilis Fruit against Paracetamol-Induced Liver Damage in Rats /
Pallab K Haldar*, Moulisha Biswas, Sanjib Bhattacharya, Tarun K Karan and Ashoke K Ghosh / Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, 2012; 46(1):17-22 / doi:NILL
Isolation and characterization of anti-diabetic compounds from ethanolic extracts of Dregea volubils [Benth.] and Leptadenia reticulata W&A. / Venkatesan N, Anton Smith A and B A Viswanath / 2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry & Natural Products, August 25-27, 2014, China
Protection Against Selenite Cataract in Rat Lens by Drevogenin D, a Triterpenoid Aglycone from Dregea volubilis / P.G. Biju, V. Gayathri Devi, Y. Lija, and Annie Abraham / Journal of Medicinal Food. July 2007, 10(2): 308-315. / doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.054.
A pentacyclic triterpenoid possessing analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities from the fruits of Dregea volubilis / M Biswas*, K Biswas, AK Ghosh and PK Haldar / Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine 2009 9(4), 315-319 / DOI 10.3742/OPEM.2009.9.4.315
A Novel Hemagglutinin from Seeds of Dregea volubilis / M.B. Patil, K.V.Deshpande / International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), Volume 4 Issue 6 (2013)
Larvicidal activity of Dregea volubilis and Bombax malabaricum leaf extracts against the filarial vector Culex quinquefasciatus / Emdad Hossain*, Anjali Rawani, Goutam Chandra, Subhash C. Mandal, Jayanta Kumar Gupta / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (2011)436-441 / doi:10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60121-1
Possible fasciocidal activity of methanol extract of Dregea volubilis leaves / Experimental parasitology.
Journal Volume, 2013 Oct., v. 135, no. 2

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