The Anti-Cancer Plant 

–Meiden. (Maytenus hookeri Loes.)


For extreme fear of cancers, many people will turn pale at the mentioning of cancers. In the process of regeneration and multiplication of mankind, no one knows how many people have been killed by cancers. Nowadays, though there is always stirring news for treating cancers, it seems that such news could not stop cancers from killing human beings. To overcome cancers is the target for many medical scientific workers, in their whole life. In the historical records of Xishuangbanna Botanical Garden, a brilliant page was written in the struggle against cancers. 

In the early 1970s, the scientists of America found a kind of anti-cancer substance in a plant named Meiten. After consulting relevant materials, the Chinese scientists proved that there were also its kindred plants in Xishuangbanna. Just at that moment, the Health Ministry of the People’s Republic of China also forwarded the Botanical Garden the instructions of the Party Central Committee to carry out an investigation on whether or not such plants were in existence in China. Besides, the central government also dispatched specialized personnel to the Botanical Garden. The precious information and the instructions of the central government were just like revivers for the researchers. With such a sacred mission, they started the investigation in the dense rain forests of Xishuangbanna. Finally, after pains-taking labors, they found Meiden plants in the upper layer of the dense rainforests on the two banks of a river. As a matter of fact, in Xishuangbanna, the Dai folks began to use the Meiden roots, stalks and leaves to treat injuries quite early. 

Meiden is a kind of evergreen shrub or small arbor. There are altogether 225 varieties of Meiden plants on the globe, which distribute in Asia, Africa, and tropical America. In Yunnan of China, there are as many as 7 varieties of Meiden plants. In Xishuangbanna, Lincang, and Dehong etc., Meiden trees are often found on the two banks of the tropical river valleys of 400 -- 1300 meter above the sea level, under the evergreen forests of the mountain areas, in the bushes of the rocky mountains, and in places along the cliffs of small streams. Meiden plants like shady and humid environment, and seldom grow in the sunny slopes or places that have sunshine; but they are seldom seen in close and dense forests where sunlight cannot penetrate either. 

Ever since Meiden was found in 1972, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden has transplanted a large number. The scientific workers have carried out some preliminary studies in its botanical value, pharmaceutical and clinical effects. Before that, since 1971, there were also continuous reports regarding the anti-cancer effects of Meiden in overseas media, but there was no reports related to clinical use. What is worth mentioning is that, the preliminary research showed, the effective part of the extracted chemical substances in Meiden and the Chinese medicine compound decoction dose had obvious restraining effects on the cancers in experimental animals and human bodies. Among dozens of patients who have accepted the experimental and clinical treatments, the medicines had certain curative effects on most patients to different extent, such as dwindling of the lump, the litigation of the symptom, the improvement of appetite, and the increase of weight. In a short period of a few years, the study on Meiden had made delightful achievements. However, it is quite a pity that our research had to stop midway because of the shortage of outlay. 

Now, more than 10 years have past, and a large number of Meiden trees are still growing on the Hulu Island. These verdant shrubs are probably still waiting for scientific researchers to carry out further studies on them; or, maybe they are conserving strength and storing up energies in order to face down cancers.