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Watermelon

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Citrullus lanatus called watermelon belongs to the genus Citrullus and family Cucurbitaceae. This plant is originally from southern Africa, and is one of the most common types of melon. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon has a smooth exterior rind and a juicy, sweet interior flesh. Watermelons are annual plants with long trailing stems. Its stems are thin, angular, hairy, and grooved with branched tendrils. The leaves are deeply lobed and small, solitary, pale yellow flowers are insect pollinated.
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Listing Details

Botanical Names
Citrullus lanatus
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Kalinda Hindi : Tarbooz Marathi : Kalingad Bengali : Tormuj Tamil : Darboos Telugu : Pucha kaya Kannada : Kallangadi hannu
Chemical Constituents
Sweet, juicy watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight also it is packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon contains carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber, fats, and protein. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene (1). Watermelon is rich in carotenoids. Some of the carotenoids in watermelon include lycopene, phytofluene, phytoene, beta-carotene, lutein, and neurosporene. Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. Watermelon is a very good source of vitamin B6, B1, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium calcium, sodium, zinc, and selenium (2).
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, 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.
Pharmacology
Watermelon is carminative, diuretic, and cooling in nature. Watermelon significantly reduces the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, etc. Consumption of watermelon can delay age related blindness. It improves eye health and prevents macular degeneration. Watermelon also helps to produce arginine which helps to improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Watermelon contains antioxidant which brings about many health benefits as they acts as free radical scavenger. Free radicals are able to oxidize cholesterol. The lycopene which gives fruits the attractive red color that is found in watermelon help reduce the risks of prostate cancer (3). Watermelon is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium which protect the body from many diseases.
Health Benefits
1. The beautiful red watermelon is also a source of the potent carotene antioxidant which is called lycopene. These antioxidants travel throughout the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause much damage (4). 2. It is a surprising fact that watermelon is the only fruit that contains higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable (5). 3. Watermelon is a fruit that is rich in electrolytes sodium and potassium. 4. Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. Food experts recommend watermelon as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B1 and magnesium. Because of its higher water content approximately ninety percent and calorie value it is ranked more valuable than other fruits. 5. Watermelon has a special cooling effect and is exceptionally high in citrulline, an amino acid that our bodies use to make another amino acid, arginine, which is used in the urea cycle to remove ammonia from the body. 6. The antioxidants help reducing the severity of asthma. It also reduces the risk of colon cancer, asthma, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate cancer. 7. Watermelon is fat free but helps energy production. It protects against macular degeneration.
Application in Cosmetics
Watermelon is very useful for removing blemishes on the skin. Presence of vitamin A, B and C in watermelon keeps the skin fresh, radient and hydrated. The acids in the fruit acts as exfoliate. Watermelon, especially orange- yellow variety loaded with key compound citrulin, an amino acid credited with helping skins healing and regenerative processes. Watermelon seed oil is also beneficial for skin nourishment. The presence of omega 6 and omega 9 essential fatty acids helps the skin immensely. This oil has a very good absorption level which readily penetrates the skin and dissolves the sebum buildup. It proves to be a good for skin care, due to its moisturizing properties. The non-greasy oil helps to smooth the skin by refurbishing the elasticity of the skin. It is widely used as massage oil, baby oil, facials, face creams, salt scrubs, shower bath as well as hair oil.
Research References
1. Consumption of Watermelon Juice Increases Plasma Concentrations of Lycopene and _-Carotene in Humans. Alison J. E, Bryan T. V, Eugene R. W, Ellen D. B , Julie K. C, Penelope P-V, Robert A. B and Beverly A. C American Society for Nutritional Sciences. (2003). 2. Improvement of the Biochemical Properties of Watermelon Rinds Subjected to Saccharomyces cerevisae Solid Media Fermentation O.L. Erukainure1, O.V. Oke1, A.O. Daramola1, S.O. Adenekan and E.E. Umanhonlen. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. (2010) 9 (8): 806-809. 3. Lycopene in the treatment of prostate cancer. Omer Kucuk1,‡, Fazlul H. Sarkar1, Wael Sakr1, Fred Khachik2, Zora Djuric1, Mousumi Banerjee1, Michael N. Pollak3, John S. Bertram4, and David P.Wood, Jr.1 Pure Appl. Chem.,2002, 74 (8), 1443–1450, 4. 3,6-Nonadien-1-ol from Citrullus vulgaris and Cucumis Melo. Phytochemistry, T.R. Kemp, D.E. Knavel and L.P. Stoltz, 13, 1167-1170 (1974). 5. Identification of some volatile compounds from Citrullus vulgaris. Phytochemistry, T.R. Kemp, 14, 2637-2638 (1975).