Malabuta is a woody smooth vine. Leaves are oval or sub-rounded oval in shape, 6 to 15 centimeters in length, and 4 to 12 centimeters in width, with obtuse and nearly retuse apex and rounded base, and smooth on both surfaces, with long petioles, 4 to 12 centimeters long. Inflorescences are in umbels on peduncles 3 to 4 centimeters in length. Male and female flowers are small, and pale yellow. Fruit is red, small, rounded but flattened, about 8 millimeters long and 6 millimeters wide.
- In thickets and forests at low and medium altitudes in the Batan Islands; in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Bontoc, Lepanto, Benguet, Batangas, Rizal, and Laguna Provinces in Luzon; in Camiguin de Misamis.
- Also occurs in India to Japan, China and Taiwan.
- Phytochemical analysis of leaf extracts yielded alkaloids, glycosides, flavanoids, saponins, carbohydrates, tannins, phenols, and mucilage. (8)
Stem yields alkaloids, metastephanin, protosetaphin; phenol base and base.
- Roots, tubers and leaves yield alkaloids, steroids, and fats.
- Roots and tuber alkaloids are: aknadinine, aknadine and aknadicine.
- Stems yield bis-benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, stephasubine and 3'-4'-dihydro-stephasubine, saponins, steroids and fats.
- Roots yield alkaloids, franchinoline, dl-tetrandrine, d-tetrandrine and d-isochondrodendrine.
- Aerial parts have yielded aknadinine, epistephaine, hernandifoline and magnoflorine.
- Study isolated an alkaloid with a phenanthrene nucleus, hasubanonine.
- Leaves and roots are bitter and astringent.
Whole plant, roots.
- Plant used to cure itches.
- In Ayurveda, one of the three plants used as sources of "Patha," used in the treatment of urinary and heart related disorders.
- Used for skin sores, ulcers, furuncles, snake bites, stomach pains and leg edema.
- In northeast India, roots used for treatment of fever, diarrhea, dyspepsia and urinary diseases.
- In Japan and Taiwan, plant decoction used for malaria.
- In Indonesia, roots used for stomach aches.
- In Bangladesh, roots and leaves used for fever and diarrhea. Leaves applied on abscesses to facilitate pointing. Leaves macerate in water, mixed with molasses and drunk as cure for urethritis. Leaves also used for gastritis. Root paste used for vertigo and dysentery. Root tuber mixed with root juice of Flemingia stricta for asthma. Warmed root paste rubbed onto hydrocoeles.
• Antioxidant / Analgesic / Cytotoxicity: A crude methanolic extract exhibited moderate antioxidant activity in the DPPH radical scavenging and NO scavenging assays. The extract displayed analgesic activity with significant reduction in acetic acid writhing in mice. In Brine Shrimp lethality assay, it showed significant toxicity to Brine Shrimp nauplii. (1)
• Diuretic Activity: Study of Stephania japonica roots showed diuretic activity, with significant increase of urinary output; the effect was much less than that of furosemide. (2)
• Multidrug-Resistance Modulator: Alkaloidal extract of vines of Stephania japonica showed multidrug-resistance-reversing activity. Two known besbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids, isotrilobine and trilobine, were isolated. Trilobine showed to be as active as verapamil in reversing doxorubicin resistance in human breast cancer cells. (5)
• Hasubanonine: Study has isolated an alkaloid, hasubanonine, which was tested against opiate-withdrawal. The compound also worked against multi-drug resistance.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant / Anti-Diarrheal: Plant showed significant anti-inflammatory effect on all phases of carrageenan-induced inflammation. The DPPH radical scavenging effect was 33.57 µg/mL compared to 15.57µg/ml for ascorbic acid. An anti-diarrheal effect in a castor oil-induced diarrheal model showed a reduction of total number of feces. (9)
• Stephabenine: Study of fresh fruits yieled a hasubanan ester-ketal alkaloid, stephabenine. (11)
• Diuretic Activity: In a study of comparative diuretic potential of methanolic extracts of C. pareira, Cyclea peltata, and Stephania japonica, all three demonstrated dose-dependent diuretic effects., with C. peltata exhibiting the most significant activity. (12)