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Queen's Delight

Scientific Name(s): Stillingia sylvatica Garden ex L.
Common Name(s): Cockup-hat, Indian flea root, Marcory, Nettle potato, Queen's delight, Queen's root, Silverleaf, Stillingia, Yaw-root

Clinical Overview

Use

No pharmacologic studies have been reported on whole plant extracts.The chemical constituent prostratin is of research interest for chemotherapeutic effects.

Dosing

There is no clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for queen's delight.

Contraindications

No longer considered safe.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Documented adverse effects. Not to be used while nursing. Avoid use.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Information is lacking. Stillingia root is a purgative and irritant product that should be avoided.

Toxicology

Information is lacking. The presence of phorbols (protein kinase C activator) suggests mutagenicity is possible.

Botany

Queen's delight is a perennial herb that grows in the sandy soils of pine barrens from Texas and Oklahoma east to Virginia and Florida.USDA 2016 When broken, the stems exude an acrid white sap, as do many spurges. The small yellowish flowers are borne on a terminal spike, with the few female flowers at the base below the more numerous male flowers. The three-chambered seedpod forcibly ejects the ripe seed. The rootstock and rhizome are large and woody. The scientific name honors the English botanist A.B. Stillingfleet. The genus was monographed in 1951.Rogers 1951 Oil of stillingia is a fixed oil derived from the Chinese tree Sapium sebiferum, which was formerly classified as a species of Stillingia.Aitzmetmuller 1992

History

American Indians used the root to repel fleas; Creek Indian women were reported to consume the boiled, mashed roots after giving birth.Altschul 1977, Krochmal 1973 The root was used in the southern United States for constipation, as a purgative, and to treat syphilis and liver, skin, and lung diseases.Krochmal 1973 The dried root is considered to be less toxic than the fresh root. Stillingia was used by the Eclectic medical movement and is an optional ingredient in the controversial Hoxsey cancer formula.Hartwell 1982, Krochmal 1973 It has also been used in homeopathy. A number of 19th century studies were published on analysis of Stillingia root while the plant has been largely ignored recently, even though it remained in the National Formulary until 1947.Harmanson 1882, Youngken 1939

Chemistry

Chemical constituents of interest elucidated from the plant include gnidilatidin and gnidilatin, prostatin and prostratin, silvacrol, stillingia Factors s1-8, and stillingine.Adolf 1980, Duke 1992, Newall 1996 The plant contains an essential oil, protein, resin and tannin. Hydrogen cyanide has also been identified.Aitzmetmuller 1992, Duke 1992

Uses and Pharmacology

No pharmacologic studies have been reported on the plant or its extracts.

Chemotherapeutic effects (of prostratin)

Animal data

Prostratin has been identified in the plant, with synthetic versions of the protein kinase C activator being evaluated in studies. Prostratin appears to induce HIV expression from latent CD4+ T cells in HIV-infected persons, with the potential to then enhance elimination.Archin 2014, Beans 2016 Prostratin has also been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of myeloid leukemia cells.Shen 2015

Clinical data

Research reveals no animal/clinical data regarding the use of stillingia for any condition.

Dosing

There is no clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for queen's delight. Classical use of queen's delight called for 2 g of the root, however the presence of irritant and potentially cytotoxic phorbol esters in this plant contraindicates therapeutic use.Adolf 1980

Pregnancy / Lactation

Documented adverse effects. Not to be used while nursing.McGuffin 1997 Avoid use.

Interactions

None well documented. Caution may be warranted with concomitant anti-HIV medicines.

Adverse Reactions

Do not ingest or use topically in human medicine. Observe particular caution with the fresh root, which appears to be more toxic than the dried product. Stillingia root is a purgative and irritant product that should be avoided because of a high likelihood of tumor promotion and documented severe irritancy to skin.Adolf 1980

Toxicology

Information is lacking. The presence of phorbols (protein kinase C activator) suggests mutagenicity is possible.Adolf 1980

References

Adolf W, et al. New irritant diterpene esters from roots of Stillingia sylvatica L. (Euphorbiaceae). Tetrahedron Lett 1980;21:2887-2890.
Aitzmetmuller K, et al. High-performance liquid chromatographic investigations of stillingia oil. J Chromatogr 1992;603:165-173.
Altschul SvR. Drugs and Foods from Little-known Plants. Notes in Harvard University Herbaria, 1977:165.
Archin NM, Margolis DM. Emerging strategies to deplete the HIV reservoir. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2014;27(1):29-35.24296585
Beans EJ, Fournogerakis D, Gauntlett C, et al. Highly potent, synthetically accessible prostratin analogs induce latent HIV expression in vitro and ex vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;110(29):11698-703.
Duke J. Handbook of biologically active phytochemicals and their activities. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.; 1992. http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/. Accessed 2016.
Harmanson JH. The root of Stillingia sylvatica. Am J Pharm 1882;386-387.
Hartwell J. Plants Used Against Cancer. A Survey. Lawrence, MA: Quarterman Publications,1982:206.
Krochmal A, et al. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of the United States. New York: Quadrangle, 1973:211.
McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1997.
Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal medicines: A guide for health-care professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.
Rogers DJ. A revision of Stillingia in the New World. Ann Mo Bot Gard 1951;38:207-259.
Shen X, Xiong GL, Jing Y, et al. The protein kinase C agonist prostratin induces differentiation of human myeloid leukemia cells and enhances cellular differentiation by chemotherapeutic agents. Cancer Lett. 2015;356(2 Pt B):686-96.25449427
Stillingia. USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, Sept 2016). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Youngken HW, et al. Studies of National Formulary drugs. Stillingia. J Am Pharm Assoc 1939;28:24-28.

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This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

Further information

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