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Medicinal Plant: Kalabasa (Cucurbita maxima)

By pinoyfarmer | March 17, 2011
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Botany
Coarse, prostrate or climbing, annual, hearbaceoous vine, 4 meters or more. Leaves are hispid, rounded, 15 to 30 cms, heart-shaped at the base, shallowly 5-lobed, with finely toothed margins. Flowers are bell-shaped, erect, yellow. The fruit is large, fleshy, with a yellow pulp. The seeds are ovoid, or oblong, compreseed.

Distribution
Grown throughout the Philippines as a vegetable produce.

Chemical constituents and properties
• Fruit contains fat, 10%; pentosan, 5.2 %; protein, 14.2%; and ash, 9/3%. The seed contain fixed oil, 20-25%; a proteid, edestin. The seed’s active principle is a pepo-resin found in the cotyledons. The saponin in seeds believed to have antihelminthic effect.
• Considered antiinflammatory, antipyretic, diuretic, tonic, vermifuge.
• Curcurbitin, a constituent in pumpkin seeds has shown anti-parasitic activity in the test tube.

Uses
Nutritional
A vegetable which is an excellent source of vitamin B. The shoots and flowers contain calcium, phosphorus and iron. The fruit contains calcium and vitamin A.
Folkloric
• The fruit pulp is used as poultice for carbuncles, boils and ulcers.
• For venomous insect bites, the fruit stalk in contact with the ripe gourd is cut, dried, and made into a paste and
applied to venomous insect bites, especially centipedes.
• The fresh seeds are used as antihelminthic; seeds are eaten fresh to expel worms from the stomach.
• In Brazil, pumpkin seeds are used for stomach pain, as antiinflammatory, antipyretic and anthelminthic.
• In China, pumpkin seeds have been used for acute schistosomiasis.
• In Thailand, seeds used for kidney stones.

Others
• Seed contains an oil. Used for lighting.
• Fruit can provide a face-mask for dry skins.

Studies
• Antimicrobial / Anti-inflammatory / Neuro Effects : Extracts of leaves, fruits and flowers of C. maxima were subjected to pharmacologic and microbiological studies. Results showed complete inhibition of B. subtilis and partial inhibition of E. coli. Fruits and leaves showed neuro effects: decrease motor activity, ataxia, temporary palpebral ptosis among others. Ethyl acetate extracts of flowers showed decreased respiratory rate, analgesia, diarrhea and exophthalmos.
• Toxicity evaluation of Cucurbita maxima seed extract in mice: Hydroalcoholic extract of CM seeds had a considerable safety margin and devoid of acute toxicity.
• Antigenotoxicity / Spinasterol: Study on antigenotoxic constituents of squash flowers showed isolate SQFwB2D (spinasterol) from the chloroform extract to possess the most antigenotoxicity, decreasing the mutagenicity of tetracycline by 64.7%.
• Pumpkin Seed Oil / BPH: Pumpkin seed oil has been approved by the Germany’s Commission E since 1985 for the treatment of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
• Antiparasitic: Study showed that pumpkin seed can produce an antihelminthic effect.

Availability
Commercial vegetable cultivation.
Pumpkin seed oil in the cybermarket.

Source(s):
Philippine Medicinal Plants

Wikipedia.org

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