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
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
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
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)
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
Research reveals no animal/clinical data regarding the use of stillingia for any condition.
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.
None well documented. Caution may be warranted with concomitant anti-HIV medicines.
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
Information is lacking. The presence of phorbols (protein kinase C activator) suggests mutagenicity is possible.Adolf 1980
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