Anti-inflammatory Inflammation is a localised physical condition whereby the body part becomes inflamed, red, swollen and painful as a result of the reaction to infection or injury.
Rajamanickam et al., (2010) investigated the effect of various phlogistic agents-induced paw oedema and carrageenan-induced air-pouch inflammation in rats. The study reveals that the methanol extract of egusi significantly inhibited serotonin, carrageenan and prostaglandin E1-induced paw oedema. Peak inhibition was observed in prostaglandin E1-induced paw oedema.
Moreover, methanol extract of Citrullus colocynthis in carrageenan air-pouch model significantly reduced the volume of exudate and the movement of monocytes and neutrophils. The Citrullus colocynthis extract significantly lowered the formation of granuloma tissue in chronic inflammation model. Based on the above findings, the researchers agreed that Citrullus colocynthis is suitable for use as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Anticancer Grossman et al., (2007) studied the antiproliferative impact of cucurbitacin glycosides obtained from Citrullus colocynthis leaves. This study was carried out in human breast cancer cell growth. Bitter melon leaves were extracted and cucurbitacin B/E glycosides were then isolated from the extract.
The Cucurbitacin glycoside combination (1:1) inhibited the growth of ER+ MCF-7 and ER- MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell lines. The cell-cycle analysis revealed that treatment with isolated cucurbitacin glycoside combination led to the accumulation of cells at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle.
The results of the study showed that cucurbitacin glycosides possess pleiotropic effects on cells thus leading to both apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Thus cucurbitacin glycosides exhibit therapeutic effects against breast cancer cells.
Anti-bacterial Gurudeeban et al., (2010) studied the antibacterial effects of Citrullus colocynthis (Cucurbitaceae) leaf extract using agar disc diffusion technique. Qualitative phytochemical test of the active extracts showed the presence of flavonoids, phenols and tannins as the active components. The antimicrobial effects of the active extracts were compared with gentamicin (10µg/disc) and piperacillin (100µg/disc). The results showed that Citrullus colocynthis is suitable for treating ailments caused by bacteria and organisms.
Hepatoprotective Dar et al., (2012), isolated the hepatoprotective active compounds of the ethanolic extract of Citrullus colocynthis L. They also investigated the hepatoprotective activity of Citrullus colocynthis L. against polluted water induced hepatotoxicity in albino rats. Both the total bilirubin, proteins and body weight were evaluated pre and post treatment to ascertain the hepatoprotective activity. The results of the study show that the ethanolic extract of Citrullus colocynthis L. has potent hepatoprotective activity.
Anti-arthritic Kachhawah et al., (2016) investigated the effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Citrullus colocynthis fruits against anti-arthritic activity. The study aimed to develop a standardisation protocol for the anti-arthritic effects of the hydroalcoholic extract that contains cucurbitacin glycoside and quercetin.
The biological activity showed that melon fruit hydroalcoholic extract possess significant anti-arthritic properties. This is attributed to its rich constituent of phytochemicals such as flavonoids. As a result, it can be used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease symptomized by chronic inflammation of the joints, stiffness, swelling, pain and redness in the joints. This sort of chronic inflammation tends to destroy the ligaments, cartilage and bone thereby leading to deformities in the joints.
Dermatological The vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and niacin in this plant help to maintain healthy skin. Oil extracted from egusi seeds can be used for producing local soap and pomade for dermatological care.
Livestock The shells obtained during the oil extraction can be used as poultry litter. The leaves and the gourds can also serve as livestock fodders.
Treatment Boils and carbuncles These are inflamed, red, painful lumps that can develop on any part of the skin. Al-Snafi (2016) reports that the fruit and root of the egusi plant can be mashed and mixed with water. This mixture can then be applied to boils, carbuncles and pimples.
Aids Due to the presence of dietary fibre and vitamin B1 (Thiamine) in egusi melon, it is useful for facilitating easy digestion of food.
Boosts It helps to boost appetite due to its constituent of vitamin B1.
Anti-diabetic Diwan et al., (2000) attest that every part of the egusi melon plant namely; fruit, stem, root, leaves, oil extracts and seeds possess antidiabetic properties. This is attributed to the insulinotropic effects of the plant.
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