Medicinal Utility of Egusi Melon (Citrullus colocynthis L.)
Abstract, Int. J. Curr. Res. Biosci. Plant Biol. 2015
The recent trend of moving away from synthetic or chemical-based treatments, towards more nature-based remedies has not at all been condemned, with efficacy, safety, relative availability and affordability taking sides with the later. The seed of Egusi melon (Citrullus colocynthis L.), an annual herbaceous, monoecious plant which is grown mostly in tropical regions is up to 28% protein and 35% fats, with about 72% by weight unsaturated fatty acids, and 57.4% of it being polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). PUFAs being essential fatty acids must be provided in the diet and egusi melon serves as a rich source. Preventive or therapeutic strategies to control hypercholesterolemia have focused on the manipulation of the amount and nature of dietary fat intake. Previous study has revealed that egusi melon oil contains nutritionally good amounts of linoleic acid and other essential fatty acids which have protective effect against coronary heart disease and that a possible mechanism is its inhibitory activity against lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase activity, resulting in less amounts of cholesteryl ester produced. Its possible role as an anti-cancer, anti-benign prostate hyperplasia and anti-dermatitis food plant, as well as its much striking hypocholesterolemic effect is discussed.