Family • Cucurbitaceae - Melothria indica Lour. - MOUSE CUCUMBER - Ye shao gua

Scientific names

Bryonia japonica Thunb.
Bryonia leucocarpa Blume
Cucumis luzonicus Linn.
Melothria indica Lour.
Melothria japonica (Thunb.) Maxim. ex Cogn.
Melothria leucocarpa (Blume) Cogn.
Melothria odorata Hook.
Melothria zeylanica Cogn.
Zehneria indica (Lour.) Keraudren
Ma er (Chin.)

Common names

Melon-daga (Tag.)
Simonkaram (Iv.)
Timun-ambau (Sul.)
Mouse cucumber (Engl.)
Indian zehneria (Engl.)
Ye shao gua (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Ma die er
RUSSIAN: Melotriia indijskaia, Zheneria indijskaia.
THAI: Tam lueng tua phu


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) / FreePatentsOnLine

(3) Sorting Zehneria names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE

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.

Considered purgative.

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.



• 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.
• 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.