Sundew (Drosera spp.)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Brazilian Drosera, carboxylic acids, Dionaea muscipula, Drosera, Drosera adelae, Drosera auriculata Backh. ex Planch., Drosera binata, Drosera brevifolia, Drosera burmannii Vahl, Drosera capensis, Drosera chitinase, Drosera communis, Drosera gigantea, Drosera herba, Drosera intermedia, Drosera longifolia, Drosera madagascariensis, Drosera montana, Drosera peltata spp., Drosera ramentacea spp., Drosera rotundifolia spp., Drosera villosa spp., Droseraceae, droserone, flavonoids, flavonols, Madagascan Drosera, myricetin 3-0-galactoside, naphthoquinones, plumbagin, rossoliside, sundew, tentacles, youthwort.
Drosera species are carnivorous plants that use their hairs to trap, immobilize, and digest insects. Preying on insects is their primary means of obtaining nutrients. Drosera species have reportedly been used medicinally at least since the 12th Century in Europe, when an Italian doctor named Matthaeus Platearius described the plants as a cough remedy. Generally, Drosera is used for lower respiratory tract conditions, such as bronchitis, asthma, and coughs.
These early uses have some current data to support the clinical effectiveness of Drosera for the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, sleep disturbances, and disability from chronic illness. Testing individual components of Drosera species has revealed anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antibacterial effects. Although there is not a large amount of modern research that documents Drosera's clinical effects, it is a fairly commonly used medicine, alone or as part of a combination in approximately 200-300 registered medications.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Traditionally, Drosera species have been used for respiratory conditions, such as coughs, wheezing, and asthma. However, limited evidence exists on the mechanism of action. Additional research is needed in this area before conclusions can be made.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Angiogenesis (anti-), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, asthma, bronchitis, bronchospasm, cancer, cough, dental cavities, infections (oral), periodontitis / gingivitis, respiratory tract infections, stomach ulcers, sunburn, whooping cough.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for sundew in adults.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for sundew in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in patients with known allergy or sensitivity to Drosera, its constituents, or members of the Droseraceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Use with caution, as there is a lack of safety data on the use of sundew for longer than six months.
Avoid in children or in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety evidence.
Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to Drosera, its constituents, or members of the Droseraceae family.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Sundew may interact with antiasthma drugs, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, and antispasmodic drugs.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Sundew may interact with antiasthma herbs and supplements, antibacterials, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, and antispasmodic herbs and supplements.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Didry N, Dubreuil L, Trotin F, et al. Antimicrobial activity of aerial parts of Drosera peltata Smith on oral bacteria. J Ethnopharmacol 1998;60(1):91-96. View Abstract
Ferreira DT, Andrei CC, Saridakis HO, et al. Antimicrobial activity and chemical investigation of Brazilian Drosera. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2004;99(7):753-755. View Abstract
Kolodziej H, Pertz HH, Humke A. Main constituents of a commercial Drosera fluid extract and their antagonist activity at muscarinic M3 receptors in guinea-pig ileum. Pharmazie 2002;57(3):201-203. View Abstract
Krenn L, Beyer G, Pertz HH, et al. In vitro antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects of Drosera rotundifolia. Arzneimittelforschung. 2004;54(7):402-405. View Abstract
Leclercq J, Angenot L. [Drosera peltata and the standardization of drosera tincture]. J Pharm Belg 1984;39(5):269-274. View Abstract
Libantová J, Kämäräinen T, Moravcíková J, et al. Detection of chitinolytic enzymes with different substrate specificity in tissues of intact sundew (Drosera rotundifolia L.): chitinases in sundew tissues. Mol Biol Rep. 2009;36(5):851-6. View Abstract
Marczak L, Kawiak A, Lojkowska E, et al. Secondary metabolites in in vitro cultured plants of the genus Drosera. Phytochem Anal 2005;16(3):143-149. View Abstract
Mativandlela SP, Meyer JJ, Hussein AA, et al. Activity against Mycobacterium smegmatis and M. tuberculosis by extract of South African medicinal plants. Phytother Res 2008;22(6):841-845. View Abstract
Melzig MF, Pertz HH, Krenn L. Anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic activity of extracts from Droserae herba. Phytomedicine 2001;8(3):225-229. View Abstract
Murali PM, Rajasekaran S, Paramesh P, et al. Plant-based formulation in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomized double-blind study. Respir Med 2006;100(1):39-45. View Abstract
Okabe T, Mori H, Ohyama T. Deoxyribonuclease secreted from an insectivorous plant Drosera adelae. Nucleic Acids Symp Ser 1997;(37):127-128. View Abstract
Paper DH, Karall E, Kremser M, et al. Comparison of the antiinflammatory effects of Drosera rotundifolia and Drosera madagascariensis in the HET-CAM assay. Phytother Res 2005;19(4):323-326. View Abstract
Plachno BJ, Adamec L, Lichtscheidl IK, et al. Fluorescence labelling of phosphatase activity in digestive glands of carnivorous plants. Plant Biol (Stuttg) 2006;8(6):813-820. View Abstract
Krolicka A, Szpitter A, Maciag M, et al. Antibacterial and antioxidant activity of the secondary metabolites from in vitro cultures of Drosera aliciae. Biotechnol Appl Biochem 2008;View Abstract
Wang Q, Shu J, Zeng L. [Chemical constituents of Drosera peltata Smith var. lunata (Buch.-Ham.) C.B. clarke collected in Tibet]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 1998;23(11):683-4, 704. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017