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Family Droseraceae
Drosera peltata Thunb.

Mao gao cai

Scientific names Common names
Drosera gracilis Hook.f. ex Planch. Bain (Ig.)
Drosera lobbiana Turcz. Gumgumayeng (Bon.)
Drosera lunata Buch.-Ham. ex DC. Ruut (Ig.)
Drosera muscipula Royle Sanabugan (Ig.)
Drosera peltata Thunb. Pale sundew (Engl.)
Drosera petiolaris Sieber ex C.Presl Shield sundew (Engl.)
Sondera peltata (Thunb.) Chrtk & Slavikova  
Drosera peltata Thunb. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Mao gao cai.
INDIAN: Mukhjali.

Gen info
Genus Drosera Vahl, popularly known as Sundews, is one of the largest genuses of carnivorous plants with over 105 species belonging to the family Droseraceae. The species use mucilage-secreting glandular hairs to trap prey.

The earliest documented use of Drosera species dates back to the 12th Century, when Matthaeus Platearius, an Italian physician, described it use as a cough remedy.

Bain is a perennial tuberous herb. The tuber is usually 4-6 centimeters under the soil surface. Aerial parts are 5 to 50 centimeters high. with erect, leafy stem, 8 to 25 centimeters high. Leaves are alternate, long-petioled, lunate-peltate, more evident at the soil surface. Flowers are usually white, but may be variable in color. Sepals are ovate, smooth, erose or fimbriate. Seeds are obovoid, with prominently reticulated fascia.

- Common in Bontoc and Benguet Subprovinces, and Zambales Province in Luzon.
- On open, grassy slopes, in thin pine forests, at an altitude of from 1,000 to 1,800 meters.
- Also occurs in India to Japan, and southward to Tasmania.

- Leaf extract yields a proteolytic enzyme.
- Study of leaves yielded three naphthoquinones (plumbagin, droserone, hydroserone) together with four flavanols (quercetin, gossypetin, gossypin, isogossypetin) and proteolytic enzymes of the pepsin type (Yoganarasimhyan, 2002).
- Study yielded five crystalline compounds were obtained and elucidated as plumbagin, droserone, hydroxydroserone, beta-sitosterol, and stigmasterol. (9)
- Chemical study of D. peltata var. multisepala isolated 11 compounds: isoshinanolone-4-O-beta-D-glucoside (1), isoshinanolone (2), epi-isoshinanolone (3), plumbagin (4), droserone (5), droserone-5-O-glucoside (6), quercetin (7), kaempferol (8) , gossypetin-8-O-glucoside (9), 3,3'-dimethoxy ellagic acid (10), and ellagic acid (11). (14)

- Bitter, acrid, and caustic flavor.
- Leaves have an insectivorous property.
- Considered alterative, anodyne, blood tonic, carminative, rubefacient, antifertility.
- Studies have shown antimicrobial, bronchodilatory, anticancer, antioxidant properties.

Parts used
Leaves, aerial parts.


- Igorots dry and powder to leaves to place in the cavity of aching teeth.
- Plant is used in phthisis.
- Used for asthma, hoarseness, and whooping cough.
- In Kumaon, crushed leaves, with or without salt, used as blistering agent. The same practice is done in Kanawar, with the use of salt.
- Vaidyas use the plant for reducing gold to powder. A gold coin is enclosed in plant paste, the burned thoroughly, reducing the gold to powder; the powder is used in grain doses as tonic and antiseptic. Drug also used for phthisis.
- Resin from plant used in bronchitis and whooping cough.
- In India, used in making gold bhasma which is considered antisyphilitic, alterative and tonic.
- Plant used as antisyphilitic. (11)
- In Chinese medicine, used for the treatment of rheumatism and bruises

Antimicrobial / Caires / Periodontitis / Aerial Parts:
A chloroform extract of the aerial parts of Drosera peltata showed the most significant antimicrobial activity against oral bacteria. Results suggest DP could be used in the treatment of oral infectious diseases like dental caries and periodontitis. (1)
Constituents: Study of whole plant of D. peltata var. lunata yielded five crystalline compounds: plumbagin, droserone, hydrodroserone, beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol.
DCBT1234-Lung KR / Respiratory Benefits / COPD: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical study comparing 6 months of a plant based formulation of 3 herbs (Bryonia alba, Drosera peltata, and Cephaelis ipecacuanha) against a combination of oral salmeterol, theophylline and bromhexine (STB) and both against placebo, patients treated with DCBT 1234-Lung KR showed statistically significant (95%) improvement in FEV1 and PaO2 (oxygen) compared with STB in control of symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, expectorations, disability and sleep disturbances. (6)
COPD: Using FEV1 and arterial blood gases values, DCBT1234-Lung KR was equivalent, if not better than present day treatment with salbutamol, theophylline and bromhexine combination in COPD. (5)
Anticancer / Antioxidant: Study assessed the in vitro antioxidant and anticancer properties of Drosera peltata. Aqueous extract showed considerable antioxidant antioxidant activity as in metal chelating assay with IC50 of 28.46±0.7 mcg/ml in hydroxyl radical scavenging assay. Higher doses of ethanol and aqueous extracts showed significant cytotoxic effects on DAL (Daltons's Ascitic Lymphoma) and EAC (Ehrlich Ascitic Carcinoma) LDH leakage assay model. (12)

- Wild-crafted.
- Ingredient of many cough preparations.
- A solitary or an ingredient of 200-300 registered medications.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update September 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Tentacles of Drosera peltata / File:Drosera peltata 2 Darwiniana.jpg / Rost'a Kracik / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Czech Republic license / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE: Lamina Drosera peltata / File:DroseraPeltataLamina.jpg / GNU Free Documentation License / Wikispecies

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antimicrobial activity of aerial parts of Drosera peltata Smith on oral bacteria / Nicole Didry, Luc Dubreuli et al /
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 60, Issue 1, February 1998, Pages 91-96, doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(97)00129-3
Chemical constituents of Drosera peltata Smith var. lunata (Buch.-Ham.) C.B. clarke collected in Tibet / Wang Q, Shu J, Zeng L / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1998 Nov;23(11):683-4, 704.
Anticonvulsant Effect of Drosera burmannii Vahl / Hema B, Bhupendra S, Mohamed Saleem TS, Gauthaman K / International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products, Vol. 2(3), pp. 1-4, Sep-Oct 2009
Sundew (Drosera spp.) / Natural Standard
DCBT1234-Lung KR / Common Respiratory Diseases, Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice - Volume 37, Issue 2 (June 2010
Plant-based formulation in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomized double-blind study / Murali PM, Rajasekaran S, Paramesh P et al / Respir Med. 2006 Jan;100(1):39-45.
Drosera peltata Sm. ex Willd. (accepted name) / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Drosera peltata--Handbook on Medicinal Herbs with Uses / H Panda / Good Books
Chemical constituents of Drosera peltata Smith var. lunata (Buch.-Ham.) C.B. clarke collected in Tibet / Wang Q, Shu J, Zeng L. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1998 Nov;23(11):683-4, 704.
Drosera peltata Thunb / Synonyms / The Plant List
Drosera peltata / (Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants: Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.) Useful Tropical Plants
In vitro anticancer and antioxidant activity studies on Drosera peltata J.E.Sm. / Venkateshwarapuram Rengaswami Balaji, Raju Asirvatham. / Spatula DD. 2015; 5(3): 183-189 / DOI doi:10.5455/spatula.20151123075443
Naphthaquinones and flavonols from leaves of Drosera peltata.
/ Nair, A. G. R.; Shanmugasundaram, P.; Madhusudhanan, K. P. / Fitoterapia 1990 Vol.61 No.1 pp.85-86 ref.6
Study on chemical constituents of Drosera peltata var. multisepala
/ Li L, Huang J, Xu X, Zhang Y, Cheng K, Yu P / Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi = Zhongguo Zhongyao Zazhi = China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica [2012, 37(2):222-225
Determination of quercetin, plumbagin and total flavonoids in Drosera peltata Smith var. glabrata Y.Z.Ruan
/ Yu He, Zhimin He, Feng He, Haitong Wan / Pharmacognosy Magazine (2012) Vol 8, Issue 32, pp 263-267.

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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