Stauntonia hexaphylla (Lardizabalaceae, Japanese name mube) () is widely distributed in thickets in lowlands and foothills in warmer regions of Japan, Korea and China. It is an evergreen, glabrous woody climber, whose flowers, usually unisexual, bloom pale yellow in April-May (). Stauntonia plants occur over 15 species in eastern Asia. A general outline of the lardizabalaceous family has been earlier cited (). A decoction of the stem and the root of the plant or the pericarp of the fruit is used as a diuretic in Japan and China. The fruits also activate the circulation and improve the eyesight, the barks are prepared in a compound to treat blennorrhea and to regulate menstruation (India-China) (). From defatted powdered seeds of Stauntonia hexaphylla extd. (1.1 kg), three acidic triterpene glycosides mubenins A (7.2 g), B (7.9 g), and C (5.2 g) containing oleanolic acid for A and B, and hederagenin for C as the sapogenins were isolated and determined. Furthermore, six triterpene saponins (Yemuoside YM 7, 8, 9,11,13, and 14) and two lignan glycosides (YM 2 and 6) have been reported from Stauntonia chinensis DCNE grown in South China. This plant has been used as a traditional medicine in China especially for analgesic and sedative purposes (). Earlier six triterpenes, two sterols and four saponins containing eight new compounds were reported from the callus tissues of the lardizabalaceous plant Akebia quinata ().
The callus tissues of Stauntonia hexaphylla produced 20 kinds of triterpene, two sterols, and four glycosides, eight of which were four pairs of 3-epimers. The ability to produce triterpenoids may make it possible to obtain new biologically active substances from plant tissue cultures as new sources of the natural products. Moreover, biological activities of the triterpenes were recently reported from several kinds of plant sources (), since lardizabalaceous plant callus tissues such as Akebia quinata and Stauntonia hexaphylla, which have produced a large number of triterpenoid as main products, may possibly be sources of new biologically active substances.
Selections from the book: “Medicinal and Aromatic Plants V”, 1993.