HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT

Family Cucurbitaceae
Zehneria japonica (Thunb.) H.Y.Liu

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

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.

- 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.

- 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)

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

Parts used
Leaves, fruit.


- 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.

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)


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
Method of inducing apoptosis in cancer cells using an extract of Melothria indica Lou / Tsai, David / 06-Nov-2001
Plant extract that inhibits the release of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) / Tsai. David / May 10, 2002 / FreePatentsOnLine
Zehneria indica (Lour.) Keraudren / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Zehneria names
Zehneria japonica / Synonyms / The Plant List
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
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.

HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT