TRICHOSANTHES CUCUMERINA L.

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Synonyms: T. anguina L.

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Chichinga, Rekha, Hopa; Koitha, Koida (Chittagong).

English Name: Snake Gourd.

Description of the Plant:
A considerable climber, stems 3.6-4.5 m long, slender, furrowed, leafy. Tendril 2-3 fid. Leaves 5-12.5 cm long, orbicular-reniform or broadly ovate, more or less deeply 5-lobed. Male flowers in axillary racemes with 5-15 cm long peduncle; female flowers axillary, solitary; flowers white, 10 mm long. Fruit varies from 0.3-0.9 m in length and is often much contorted; young fruit is green striped with white.

Using Information:
The plant is a cardiac and general tonic, antipyretic and emmenagogue; useful in boils and intestinal worms. Decoction of leaves and stems is used in the treatment of bilious disorders and skin diseases; for fever, the decoction is given with ginger, chiretta and honey. The juice of the leaf is emetic. Ripe fruits are drastic purgative, antipyretic, alexiteric and stomachic; improve appetite and cure biliousness, bronchitis, asthma and itching. It is also considered anthelmintic and emetic. Seeds are cooling, antifebrile and anthelmintic. The root juice is cathertic; cures bronchitis; decoction is taken to expel worms.

Chemical Constituents:
Plant contains conjugated trienes. Flowers and seeds contain high amount of free amino acids like glutamic and aspartic acids, arginine, asperagine, lysine and alanine. Palmitic acid has been found to be the major volatile organic acid for the fruit pericarp. Seed-fat contains both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. A ribosome-inactivating and abortifacient protein, β -trichosanthin and two glycoproteins with activity against lung cancer cells have been isolated from the tubers of the plant (Ghani, 2003).

Distribution:
Cultivated throughout the country.


TRICHOSANTHES CUCUMERINA
TRICHOSANTHES CUCUMERINA L.



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Retutn from TRICHOSANTHES CUCUMERINA to Medicinal Plants: Part T