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Actinidia polygama

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File:Actinidia polygama1SHSU.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Actinidiaceae
Genus: Actinidia
Species: A. polygama
Binomial name
Actinidia polygama

Actinidia polygama (also known as Silver Vine and Cat Powder) is a non-toxic[1] plant in the Actinidiaceae family. It grows in the mountainous areas of Japan and China at elevations between 500–1900 meters.

Silver Vine is a vine that can reach up to 5–6 meters in maturity. It is a deciduous climber and is frost tender. The petiole leaves are silver and white in color and between 6–13 cm long and 4–9 cm wide. These colorful markings make the plant identifiable from afar, until the flowering season when the leaves turn completely green.

The flowering season lasts from late June to early July, in which the plant bears white flowers about 2.5 cm in diameter. The longevity of an individual flower is 2–3 days. At this time, the plant also starts to develop small, yellow to yellow-red, egg-shaped, fleshy, and multi-seeded fruits, which mature in September to October. The fruit is approximately 1.5 cm wide and 3.0–4.0 cm long. The inside of the fruit resembles the common Kiwifruit, but it is orange in color rather than green.

The Silver Vine plant requires moist, well drained soil, and partial shade to full sun. It is a fast growing vine that makes for good cover on a fence or trellis. It is becoming increasingly popular as an edible fruit crop. Gives unusual amount of pollen.



Traditional medicine

Silver Vine has been used for its medicinal benefits for centuries.[2]Template:Full[3] In traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, Silver Vine has been used for a wide range of health problems, including:

Heart tonic Rheumatism[4] Circulatory stimulant
Cystitis Arthritic pain[4] Hypertension
Cholesterol reduction Liver protection[5] Kidney disease
Cardiac Ailments[6] Stroke

Silver Vine also has immunological stimulating activities.[4]

In Korean Buddhism, Silver Vine was soaked in traditional Korean sauces and used for diuresis, alleviation of pain, hypertension, genital troubles, and bronchitis.[7]

It is said that:
“Old, weary travelers, (come) back to life to eat the fruit of (Silver Vine) and then continue their journey”.[8]


The fruit when in the “acorn” shape can either be salted and eaten raw, fried in oil, added to rice, or mixed with sesame seeds and mayonnaise to top salads. The fruits may also be fermented to make Matatabi sake and miso, a fruit wine, or used to extract the juice. The leaves, buds, and stems can also be ground into a powder or cut, steamed and seeped to make tea. Adding mint or sugar can give variations in the tea.


Grinding the leaves and stems into a coarser grind than needed for the tea makes Matatabi grass, which is used as bath salts. The vine is used as material for folk crafts and the sap is collected to make lotions.


Silver Vine has long been known to elicit euphoric response in cats. It is the most popular cat treat in Asia, and thus sometimes cited in Japanese comics.[9] The reaction to Silver Vine is similar to the catnip response, but appears to be more intense[citation needed]. Typical behaviors include rolling, chin and cheek rubbing, drooling, and licking. The effect usually lasts between 5 and 30 minutes and cats will usually visit Silver Vine again after about 20–30 minutes[citation needed].

Health benefits

Silver Vine has been used for centuries in Asia as a preventative health aid and is still commonly used as an alternative therapy for hypertension, arthritic pain,[4] and was investigated as treatment for cancer in a 2002 laboratory experiment.[3] Documenting their investigations of Silver Vine as a health booster, researchers have claimed, "Silver vine should find applications in various fields of foods and medicals and will be increasingly regarded as a health-promoting food".[10]

Silver Vine leaves also have a high content of ascorbic acid, flavonoids, terpenoids, saponins,[6] and beta-carotene.[11] This powerful plant is also rich in alkaloids.[6] Research has found that Silver Vine’s vitamin C content is 10 times the amount of green tea and was "much higher than those of fruit species such as garden strawberry, kiwi berry, haskap [berry], blueberry, and lemon",.[10] The high amount of vitamin C in this plant makes it an excellent source of antioxidants. Silver Vine also has as much vitamin E as found in soybeans.

The health benefits of Silver Vine are not limited to its natural vitamins and minerals. Researchers have found that Silver Vine may be an effective treatment of hyperlipidemia,[6] and has explored the viability of Silver Vine as an anticancer drug. When the leaf powder was given orally, it was found to inhibit the spread of cancer in small animals and reduced tumor weight (Sarcoma 180, S-180) by more than 72% after day 32. Further, a lemon juice extract powder of Silver Vine tea showed hepatoprotection in rats which is attributed to antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties of Silver Vine which alleviated liver.[5]

The anti-inflammatory properties of this plant which have been used in the treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis and to alleviate arthritis pain, were put to the test against inflammation in the lungs. Research found the fruit extract from the plant had deep inhibitory effects on airway inflammation caused by allergic inflammation and asthma when combined with cyclosporine A.[12]


  2. Konoshima, 1963
  3. 3.0 3.1 Yoshizawa, Yuko; Fukiya, Yoshihiro; Izumi, Yoshikatsu; Hata, Keishi; Iwashita, Jun; Murofushi, Noboru; Abe, Tatsuya (2002). "Induction of Apoptosis with an Extract of Actinidia polygama Fruit in the Promyelocytic Leukemia Cell Line HL-60" (PDF). Journal of Health Science 48 (4): 303–309. doi:10.1248/jhs.48.303. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Kim, YK; Kang, HJ; Lee, KT; Choi, JG; Chung, SH (2003). "Anti-inflammation activity of Actinidia polygama". Archives of pharmacal research 26 (12): 1061–6. PMID 14723341. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sakurai, H. (2005b.). Hepatoprotective effects of tea and extract powders from Silver Vine leaves. 26th World Congress and Exhibition of the ISF. Poster presentation, Prague, Czech Republic
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Sakurai, H. (2005). Antihyperlipemic and antitumor effects of components of matatabi leaves. 26th World Congress and Exhibition of the ISF. Poster presentation, Prague, Czech Republic
  7. Kim, H.; Song, M-J.; Potter, D. (2005). "Medicinal efficacy of plants utilized as temple food in traditional Korean Buddihsm". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 104 (1-2): 32–46. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.08.041. PMID 16216457. 
  8. 昔、疲れきった旅人が、マタタビの実を食べて生気を取り戻し、意気洋々とまた旅を続けたという名の由来が次に続く。
  9. See the Episode 8 of Hayate the Combat Butler (Season 2).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Nagai, T. (2008). "Functional Properties of Water Extracts from Fully Ripened Silver Vine [Actinidia polygama (Sieb. Et Zucc.) Planch. Ex Maxim. Berries". Journal of Food Agriculture & Environment 6 (3-4): 11–14. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  11. McGhie, T. K.; Ainge, G. D. (2002). "Color in fruit of the genus Actinidia: Carotenoid and chlorophyll compositions". Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 50: 117–121. doi:10.1021/jf010677l. 
  12. Lee, Y-C.; Kim, S-H.; Seo, Y-B.; Roh, S-S.; Lee, J-C. (2006). "Inhibitory effects of Actinidia polygama extract and cyclosporine A on OVA-induced eosinophilia and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in murine model of asthma". International Immunopharmacology 6 (4): 703–713. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2005.10.007. PMID 16504935. 

All URLs - aside from the one directing to the USDA's database - are dead. I'm unable to update as I don't know sufficient about the plant to find pertinent ones which are still viable.

If this is an inappropriate place to note this, forgive me but this article doesn't appear to have a 'talk' page.

External links