Paris polyphylla

LOCAL  NAME : Satuwa 

Botanical Name:Paris polyphylla

GENARAL  INFORMATIONS :  It grows at altitude of 3300m. in moist and humus rich soil. It prefers mostly moist , damp and shady places e.g.,under deciduous trees. Paris polyphylla has been used by local inhabitants of Nepal traditionally since ancient times. They use it primarily for fevers and headaches, burns, wounds, and many livestock disease mainly to neutralize poisons. People harvest the rhizome of the Paris polyphylla at fruiting season (October), just before the plant dies because the plant is abundant at this time.

THERAPEUTIC  BENEFITS  : regarded in traditional Chinese medicine as a great cure for fevers, burns, and for detoxification. In particular, it cures snakebites very well. The roots are analgesic, antiphlogistic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, antitussive, depurative, febrifuge and narcotic. They posses anthelmintic properties. A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of poisonous snake bites, boils and ulcers, diphtheria and epidemic Japanese B encephalitis. A paste of the roots is used as a poultice to treat cuts and wounds. The juice of the roots has been used as an anthelmintic. The roots have shown antibacterial action against Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, haemolytic streptococci, Meningococci etc. it has been found to contain elements of cancer-fighting agent.


There are 10 main saponins and 2 non saponin ingredients and various types of steroidal compounds like diosgenin ,dioscin extracted from Paris Polyphylla. Glycosides are the bioactive components of many famous Chinese medicines. C27-steroid Hemostatic saponins were found in Paris polyphylla.

Mechanistically, polyphyllin D dissipates the mitochondrial membrane potential, induces a downregulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression and an up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax expression, and activates caspase-9. These results suggest that polyphyllin D elicits apoptosis through mitochondria dysfunction. This action provides novel insights that polyphyllin D could serve as a candidate in breast cancer treatment. Paris Pollyphylla is being used in hospitals along with other herbs in conjunction with conventional drugs for the treatment of lung and breast cancers. Roots ( rizhoma ) as well as stems contain various types of steroidal compounds like diosgenin, dioscin, .


 Chinese scientists in Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology have isolated and studied anti-tumor active constituents from the rhizome of Paris polyphylla.  To complement the above, the Beijing Institute of Radiation medicine, have managed to isolate three new steroidal saponins from the rhizome of the plant. Nanjing University in corporation with the oncology department of Drum Tower Hospital (China), conducted an in-vitro anticancer research to investigate the activity of aqueous extracts and ethanol extracts of fifteen traditional Chinese medicines on human digestive tumor cell lines.

                The purpose of this study was to investigate the anti-cancer activity of 15 traditional Chinese medicines which are usually used for tumor patients in China. The MTT (methylthiazolyldiphenyl-tetrazolium bromide) method was applied to compare the antitumoral activity of the aqueous crude extracts and the ethanol crude extracts of these drugs on six human digestive tumor cell lines: human liver carcinoma cell lines (HepG-2 and SMMC-7721), human gastric cancer cell line (BGC-823), human colon adenocarcinoma cell lines (LoVo and SW-116) and esophagus adenocarcinoma cell line (CaEs-17). Most ethanol extracts demonstrated a more powerful inhibitory effect than aqueous extracts. Their IC50 values were between 10 microg/mL and 500 microg/mL. Among these drugs, Paris polyphylla Smith showed a predominant inhibitory effect on all the cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 10 microg/mL to 30 microg/mL. The findings in this study suggested that traditional Chinese medicines, especially Paris polyphylla Smith, might have potential of anticancer activity on digestive cancer and its mechanism needs further study.

                Another study has justified the traditional use of the herb for insect bites, as it has proven the existence of tyrosinase inhibitory effect and antileishmanial constituents from the roots of the herb. Those are attributed mostly to diosgenin saponins. A number of diosgenyl saponins of Paris polyphylla were explored in another research, which was found to possess immuno-stimulating properties. There was a significant enhancement in phagocytic activity for certain saponin concentration.

A different study shows how effective can be a synergy between Paris polyphylla and Panax ginseng. Two isolated oligosaccharides of the former herb presented stimulation in the saponin production of the other herb, enhancing thus its therapeutic value. The result also suggested that those two oligosaccharides could have plant growth-regulatory activity in plant tissue cultures.

The department of biochemistry in Hong Kong presented that the steroidal saponin of Paris Polyphylla, polyphyllin D, has effects in growth inhibition of human breast cancer cells and in xenograft. It was found that treatment of certain tumor cells with polyphyllin D resulted in the inhibition of viability and induction of apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. The same authors published later on an improved article, where they concluded that polyphyllin D is a potent anticancer agent that can overcome drug resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma cells and elicit programmed cell death via mitochondrial dysfunction. Both in dose and time dependent manner.

Researchers from Japan presented that the methanolic extract from the rhizomes of Paris polyphylla( SM. var. yunnanensis (FR.) H-M.) was found to potently inhibit ethanol(and/indomethacin )-induced gastric lesions in rats.

A research carried out by the Naujing Pharmaceutical University in China reported the analgesic and sedative actions of Rhizoma Paridis. All of the 6 experimented species and varieties in common use were effective. Among them Paris polyphylla  had more potent analgesic action. Sedative action of  P. polyphylla is also strong.

In China a biochemistry research has exploited the antimutagenic activity of 36 herbal extracts from anticancer drugs in Chinese medicine. This work presented that along with other four herbs (Actinidia chinensis P., Artemisia lavendulaefolia DC., Prunella vulgaris L.,. and Ampelopsis brevipedunculata T), Paris polyphylla , contains anti-mutagenic factors against both picrolonic acid- and benzo[a]pyrene-induced mutation.

Paris polyphylla is used as a primary herb in the treatment of liver, stomach, nose and throat cancer in traditional Chinese medicine.  Secondary in lung cancer.

Tyrosinase inhibitory and antileishmanial constituents

The search for bioactive natural products from the rhizomes of Paris polyphylla (Trilliaceae) has resulted in the isolation of four known constituents,(1) 1,5-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-3-methylanthraquinone ,(2)diosgenin-3-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-?-D-glucopyranoside] , (3) diosgenin-3-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1Rha → 2Glu)-α-L-arabinofuranosyl-(1Ara → 4Glu)]-?-D-glucopyranoside , and (4) diosgenin-3-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1Rha → 2Glu)-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1Ara → 4Glu)]-?-D-glucopyranoside .  The chloroform, ethyl acetate, and butanol extracts of the plant were found to have mild to moderate inhibitory potentials against the enzyme tyrosinase. Compound 1 showed strong (IC50 = 0.23 µM), while compounds 2-4 and hydrolyzed product 4a showed mild to moderate (IC50 = 0.93-36.87 µM) activities against the tyrosinase. Similarly, compounds 2-4 and 4a showed mild to moderate (IC50 = 1.59-83.72 µg mL-1) antileishmanial activities.





Botanical Name: Paris polyphylla

Common Name: Satuwaa

English Name: Ginseng

Parts Used: Roots, rhizome

Habit and Habitat: Himalaya (Uttar Pradesh to Bhutan). NE India, China


Description: Glabrous herb, leaves 4-9, shortly stalked, lanceolate, 7.5-15 cm long, pointed, petioled. Flowers stalked, in the centre yellow-green perianth.


Uses: Rhizome acts as depressant on carotid pressure, myocardium and respiratory movements. It produces vasoconstriction in kidney, but vasodilation in spleen and limbs ad stimulates isolated intestines.Rhizome is anthelmintic and its powder is used as tonic.