Pharmaceutical interest

Antidiabetes properties: In regard to the antidiabetic property of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn., a number of experiments conducted in vivo tend to demonstrate that the plant is inactive. An ethanolic extract of Benin-casa hispida (Thunb.) administered at a dose of 250 mg/Kg orally to rats failed to lower blood sugar or to depress the peak value, after glucose load (Chandrasekar B etal., 1989).

Central nervous properties: The quieting effect of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn., which is probably mediated by some triterpenes or steroids, is not confirmed yet but Grover et al, (2000), show that the fresh fruit juice of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. assuages symptoms of morphine withdrawal, such as the jumping response and diarrhea. It will be interesting to learn whether further research on neuroactive principles from Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. and Cucurbitaceae in general, will disclose any molecule of therapeutic interest.

Properties on the immune system:The anti-inflammatory property of Benin-casa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. is confirmed experimentally and attributed to triterpenes. Alnusenol and multi-florenol, isolated from a methanolic extract of fruits of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. inhibit the release

Uses: In China, the fruits of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. are eaten to treat diabetes, dropsy and kidney diseases. The seeds are eaten to promote urination, relieve the bowels of costiveness, treat fever, heal hemorrhoids, and soothe inflamed intestines. The rind is eaten to promote urination and to invigorate the spleen. The pulp is used to promote urination, treat fever and as a demulcent. In India, the fruits are eaten to relieve the bowels of costiveness, promote urination and libido, check hemorrhages, treat strangury and expel urinary stones. The oil expressed from the seeds is soporific. In Indonesia, the fruits are eaten to invigorate health and to check hemorrhages. In Malaysia, the leaves are applied to bruises and a decoction of the fruit is drunk to combat hystero-epilepsy. In the Philippines, the fruits are eaten to treat disorders of the respiratory organs and applied to inflamed eyes.

of histamine from rat exudate cells induced by antigen-antibody reaction (Yoshizumi S et al., 1998). In addition, a heteropolymer consisting of uronic acid, neutral sugars, protein, and phosphorus characterized from the hot water extract of the seeds of Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. stimulates in vitro the development of peritoneal macrophages into antitumoral macrophages, and extend the survival period of mice bearing Meth A fibrosarcoma (Kamazawa Y et al., 1985).

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