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Trichosanthes cucumerina is an annual climber belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. It is commonly called as snake guard, viper guard. The fruit is usually consumed as a vegetable due to its good nutritional value. Trichosanthes cucumerina is a climbing, herbaceous vine 5 to 6 meter height or less. The stems are green, 4-angled, somewhat hairy and faintly disagreeable in odor. The leaves are hairy on both surfaces, 5- 12 cm. long usually a little broader than long, orbicular-reniform or broadly ovate, more or less deeply 3-7 lobed, the lobes broad, acute, base deeply cordate, petiole 2.5 to 7 cm. long, striate, pubescent.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Trichosanthes cucumerina
Indian Names
Hindi : Caccinda, Paraval Malayalam : Patavalam, Patavalanga, Patolam. Bengali : Chichinga, Chichinge Kannada : Paduvalakaayi Tamil : Pudalankaai Telugu : Potlakaaya
Chemical Constituents
Trichosanthes cucumerina belonging to family Cucurbitaceae is an annual climber and widely distributed in southern parts of India. Traditionally decoction of the stem leaves and aerial parts were used in the treatment of diabetes and inflammatory diseases. The major active constituents of the drug are triterpenoid saponins viz, cucurbitacins The plant is richly constituted with a series of chemical constituents like flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids which makes the plant pharmacologically and therapeutically active. The estimation of the chemical composition and physical properties of the seed oils of T. cucumerina standard methods of analysis showed that the seed of T. cucumerina have high oil content (1).
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health
Trichosanthus cucumerina has a prominent place in alternative systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Siddha due to its various pharmacological activities like antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, cytotoxic, anti inflammatory and larvicidal effects. T. cucumerina is acts as an abortifacient, vermifuge, refrigerant, purgative, malaria, laxative, hem agglutinant, emetic cathartic, bronchitis, and anthelmintic. A novel isoflavone glucoside, 5, 6, 6-trimethoxy-3, 4-methylene-dioxyisoflavone 7-O-beta-D has been chased from the seeds of Trichosanthes. The positive effects of the plant are observed with the dried seeds which are used for its anti-helminthic and anti-diarrhoeal properties. Seeds have anti bacterial, anti spasmodic and insecticidal properties. It sis used as abortificient, , aphrodisiac, astringent, bitter, febrifuge, purgative, toxic, trichogenus. Hot aqueous extract of root tubers of Trichosanthes cucmerina exhibited significant anti inflammatory activity. Crude ethanolic extract of Trichosanthes cucumerina showed significant blood glucose lowering activity in alloxan diabetic albino rats. The acetone extract of leaves Trichosanthes cucumerina has noted to improve glucose tolerance and tissue glycosaaan, in non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus induced rats (2). The root extract of Trichosanthes cucumerina and fruit juice tested cytotoxicity against four human breast cancer cell lines and lung cancer cell lines and colon cancer cell lines. The root extract of Trichosanthes cucumerina and bryonolic acid, its main constituent, as well as the fruit juice and cucurbitacin B, its main constituent, were tested for cytotoxicity against four human breast cancer cell lines (SKBR3, MCF7, T47D, and MDA-MB435), two lung cancer cell lines , and one colon cancer cell line (Caco-2). The root extract had higher IC50 values than bryonolic acid against three breast cancer cell lines and one lung cancer cell line. Cucurbitacin inhibited human cancer cell lines, much more strongly (3, 4).
Health Benefits
Trichosanthes cucumerina L var. cucumerina is an important medicinal plant used as one of the important ingredient in many of the Ayurvedic preparations like churnas, kasayam, kwatha, medicated ghee etc. It is a little exploited plant with immense medicinal potential. Trichosanthus cucumerina is used in the treatment of headache, alopecia, fever, abdominal tumors, bilious, boils, acute colic diarrhea, haematuria and skin allergy. Aerial parts of Trichosanthes cucumerina are used in traditional medical systems for treatment of diabetes and other diseases. The present study was designed to experimentally evaluate the antidiabetic potential of a hot water extract of T. cucumerina aerial parts. In normoglycemic rats, it mediated a dose dependent reduction in fasting blood glucose levels (5, 6).
Research References
1. JOJI R., B. JOSE1, J. C. ANJANA AND T. N. RUVEENA EVALUATION OF ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF TRICHOSANTHES CUCUMERINA L. AND CASSIA DIDYMOBOTRYA FRES. LEAVES International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2(4) 2010 2. Oloyede F.M. and O.C. Adebooye Effect of season on growth, fruit yield and nutrient profile of two landraces of Trichosanthes cucumerina L. African Journal of Biotechnology 2005, 4 (10):1040-1044 3. Devendra N. K and Y. N. Seetharam Trichosanthes cucumerina L. var. cucumerina: an Ayurvedic Medicinal plant Pharmakine 2011 III (I) 4. Kiran H. and Srinivasan B. P. Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn. Improves glucose tolerance and tissue glycogen in non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus induced rats Indian Journal of Pharmacology 40(3):103-108 5. Arawwawala M., Thabrew I. and Arambewela L. Antidiabetic activity of Trichosanthes cucumerina in normal and streptozotocin–induced diabetic rats 6. Sumonthip K., Weena J., Tanawan K., Peerapan T., Somyos K., August W. F. Cytoxic Properties of Root Extract and Fruit Juice of Trichosanthes cucumerina