Dregea volubilis is a climbing plant with twining, woody stems that can be up to 12 metres tall. The plant is a commonly used medicinal herb in India, and is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of fibre. It is sometimes cultivated as a food crop, and the leaves are a popular green vegetable in Sri Lanka, where they are often sold in local markets.
Dregea volubilis is found from the subtropical to tropical regions of southern Asia, groing in both areas of high and low rainfall. Requires a moist, well-drained soil in full sun.
Dregea volubilis has been used in traditional and Ayurvedic systems of medicine for healing a range of diseases. It is considered to be alterative, refrigerant, sternutatory and tonic, and is extensively prescribed to treat conditions such as eye ailments, general debility, tumors, asthma, stress-related disorders, inflammatory and painful conditions, skin diseases and haemorrhoids.
The whole plant is used in the treatment of general debility.
A paste made from the leaves is combined with pepper and used to treat dyspepsia. The leaf paste is also used to treat rheumatic pain, cough, fever and severe cold.The young leaves are used in the treatment of pyodermas and fevers in children.
The leaves are used externally in the treatment of eye infections and as an application to boils and abscesses, where it promotes suppuration. The roots and tender stalks are considered to be diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic and expectorant. A paste made from the roots is applied to snake bites and given to women to cure headache after child birth.
A paste made from the bark, combined with hot milk, is drunk as a treatment for urinary infections.