Kalabasa is a coarse, prostrate
or climbing, annual, herbaceous vine, reaching a length of 4 meters or more. Leaves
are hispid, rounded, 15 to 30 centimeters in diameter, heart-shaped at the base,
shallowly 5-lobed, with finely toothed margins, and often mottled on the upper surface. Flowers are bell-shaped,
erect, yellow and about 12 centimeters long, the corolla limb is about as wide, and 5-toothed. Fruit is large, variable in shape, fleshy, with a yellow pulp.
Seeds are ovoid or oblong, compressed, and about 1.3 centimeters long.
- Widely cultivated throughout
the Philippines as a vegetable produce.
- Occasionally found as an escape.
- Planted in all warm countries.
• Phytochemical screening yielded carbohydrates, steroids, proteins and amino acids.
• Fruit contains
fat, 10%; pentosan, 5.2 %; protein, 14.2%; and ash, 9/3%.
• Seeds yield proteins (24-36.5%) and oil (31.5-51%).
contain fixed oil, 20-25%; a proteid, edestin. The seed's active principle
is a pepo-resin found in the cotyledons.
• Curcurbitin, a constituent in pumpkin seeds has shown anti-parasitic
activity in the test tube.
• Seed extract yielded carbohydrates, saponins, and flavonoids.
• Proximate analysis of powdered seed yielded moisture 4.06%, ash 3.80%, crude fiber 2.91%, total lipid 36.70%, total protein 34.56%, total soluble protein 18.10%, sugar 1.08%, and starch 2.15%. Mineral composition yielded nitrogen 5.53%, phosphorus 0.71%, sodium 4.80 Cmol/kg, potassium 20.00 Cmol/kg, Calcium 4.40 Cmol/kg, Magnesium 348.7 ppm, iron 290.0 ppm, copper 70 ppm, zinc 39.9 ppm, and manganese 17.9 ppm. (32)
• Lipid analysis of pumpkin seed oil yielded an oil content of 12% with oleic acid 40.58%, stearic acid 27.06%, palmitic acid 17.39%, and linolein acid 14.97%. (see study below) (32)
• Study on seeds isolated three new mutiflorane-type triterpene esters, i.e., 7α-hydroxymultiflor-8-ene- 3α,29-diol 3-acetate-29-benzoate (1), 7α-methoxymultiflor-8-ene-3α,29-diol 3,29-dibenzoate (2), and 7β-methoxymultiflor-8-ene-3α,29-diol 3,29-dibenzoate, along with known compound, multiflora-7,9(11)-diene- 3α,29-diol 3,29-dibenzoate (4). (see study below) (3)
• Considered anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, diuretic, tonic,
• Studies suggest antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antidiabetic, antihyperlipidemic, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, anthelmintic properties.
Fruits, seeds, stalk.
Nutritional / Edibility
- Widely used as a vegetable in the Philippines, baked, boiled, or stewed.
- Young shoots and flowers used as green vegetable.
A vegetable which is
an excellent source of vitamin B. The shoots and flowers contain calcium,
phosphorus and iron. The fruit contains calcium and vitamin A.
- Seeds are a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins.
- In India, fruit is largely used in curries.
- Fruit makes an excellent substitute for pumpkin in pies.
• In India, fruit pulp is often used as poultice
for carbuncles, boils and ulcers.
• Dried pulp, in the form of confection, used as remedy for hemoptysis and hemorrhages from the pulmonary tract.
• For venomous insect bites, the fruit stalk in contact with
the ripe gourd is cut, dried, and made into a paste and applied to venomous insect bites, especially centipedes.
• The fresh seeds, pulped or in emulsion, are used as antihelminthic. Seeds are eaten
fresh to expel worms from the stomach. For tapeworms, seeds are given with sugar at bedtime, followed with a dose of castor oil in the morning.
• Seed oil used as nervine tonic.
• In Brazil, pumpkin seeds are
used for stomach pain, as antiinflammatory, antipyretic and anthelminthic.
• In China, pumpkin seeds have
been used for acute schistosomiasis.
• In Thailand, seeds used for kidney
• Seed contains an oil. Used for lighting.
• Fruit can provide a face-mask for dry skins.
• Antimicrobial / Anti-inflammatory /
Neuro Effects : Extracts of leaves, fruits and flowers of
C. maxima were subjected to pharmacologic and microbiological studies.
Results showed complete inhibition of B. subtilis and partial inhibition
of E. coli. Fruits and leaves showed neuro effects: decrease motor
activity, ataxia, temporary palpebral ptosis among others. Ethyl acetate
extracts of flowers showed decreased respiratory rate, analgesia,
diarrhea and exophthalmos. (2)
• Toxicity evaluation of Cucurbita maxima
seed extract in mice: Hydroalcoholic extract of CM seeds
had a considerable safety margin and devoid of acute toxicity. (3)
• Antigenotoxicity / Spinasterol:
Study on antigenotoxic constituents of squash flowers
showed isolate SQFwB2D (spinasterol) from the chloroform extract to possess the
most antigenotoxicity, decreasing the mutagenicity of tetracycline
by 64.7%. (4)
• Pumpkin Seed Oil
/ BPH: Pumpkin seed oil has been approved by
the Germany's Commission E since 1985 for the treatment of BPH (benign
• Antiparasitic: Study
showed that pumpkin seed can produce an antihelminthic effect. There was alteration in helminthic motility and a protheolithic effect. Egg destruction was noted in the gravid proglottids. (5)
• Hypoglycemic: Study
evaluated the hypoglycemic activity of fruit juice and hydro-alcoholic extract of C. maxima in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Both caused significant decrease in hyperglycemia, with the extract showing more hypoglycemic effect than the fruit juice. (8)
• Immunomodulatory / Seeds: Cm seeds were tested for immunomodulatory effects using a dexamethasone-induced immunosuppression model in rabbits. Results showed Cucurbita maxima possesses potential to act as an immunomodulator. (9)
• Antidiabetic / Aerial Parts: Study of antidiabetic activity of methanol extract of aerial parts in Wistar albino rats against STZ-induced diabetes showed fasting blood glucose reduction in a treatment-duration dependent manner. (10)
• Anticancer / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the antitumor activity of a methanol extract of C. maxima Duschesne aerial parts on Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma model in mice. Results revealed significant anticancer activity attributed to its cytotoxicity and antioxidant properties. (11)
• Sterols / Antimicrobial Activity: Study of flowers afforded a 4:1 mixture of spinasterol and 24-ethyl-5a-cholesta-7,22,25-trien-3ß-ol. Results showed slight activity against fungi A. niger and C. albicans and bacteria B. subtilis and P. aeruginosa. (12)
• Anthelmintic / Schistosomiasis: Study of a decoction prepared from C. maxima var. alyaga seeds showed a killing effect on S. japonicum somulae in vitro, with a dose-effect relationship in the mean percentage somula death. (13)
• Hepatoprotective: Study showed the hepatoprotective activity of methanol extracts of C maxima and Legenaria siceraria seeds against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity. (14)
• Anthelmintic Activity / Comparative Study: Study compared the in-vitro anthelmintic activity of Asparagus racemosus and C. maxima against Indian model. Both ethanolic and aqueous extracts of both plants showed significant anthelminthic activity, with the EE of A. racemosus showing better activity. (15)
• Human Overactive Urinary Bladder / Pumpkin Seed Oil: Study evaluated the effect of pumpkin seed oil from C. maxima on urinary dysfunction in human overactive bladder. Pumpkin seed oil significantly reduced the degree of OABSS (overactive bladder symptoms score). (16)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Fruit: Study evaluated a methanol extract of fruit for anti-inflammatory activity in rats using a carrageenan induced paw edema model. Results showed potent anti-inflammatory activity. Standard reference drug was indomethacin. (17)
• Humoral Immune Response / Seeds: Study evaluated the humoral immune response in rabbits treated with Curcubita maxima seeds. Results showed C. maxima seed powder has the ability to modulate humoral immune response in normal and immunosuppressed rabbits. (18)
• Protease Inhibitory Activity / Seed Coat Extracts: Curcubita maxima and Citrullus lanatus seed coat extracts showed good protease inhibitory activity. (19)
• Corrosion Inhibition: Study evaluated the inhibitive action of peel of Curcubita maxima on mild steel corrosion. Results showed the extract functions as a good corrosion inhibitor with IE increasing with extract concentration. (20)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Seed Extract / Foregut Induced Injury: Results showed CMSE has the ability to maintain foregut mucosal integrity normalizing redox system activity and inflammatory mediators. (21)
• CNS Stimulant Activity / Seed Oil:Study evaluated the CNS stimulant activity of crude drug extract in swiss albino mice. Results showed a petroleum ether extract showed good CNS stimulant effect that can be explored for therapeutic use as alternative treatment in medical conditions associated with dizziness and sedation. (22)
• Anti-Giardial Activity:Study evaluated the antigiardial activity of C. maxima, D. curcubita pepo, and L. siceraria. Curcubita maxima petroleum ether extract of seeds showed the highest activity against Giardia lamblia. The activity could be due to the presence of triterpene (curcubitacins). (23)
• Antihelmintic:Study evaluated the antiparasitic activity of C. maxima using canine tapeworms on exposed albino rats. Results showed an anthelmintic effect at MIC of 23 gr. of pumpkin seed in 100 cc of water. Superficial non-erosive gastritis was noted in rats after 4 hours of 9 gr/kg. (25)
• Antidiabetic / Antihyperlipidemic:Study evaluated the antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic effect of various extracts of seeds of C. maxima in STZ-induced diabetic wistar albino rats. Results showed significant reduction (P<0.05) in blood glucose and significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL, triglycerides, and marked increase in serum insulin and HDL-cholesterol. (26)
• Cytotoxicity / Seeds: In brine shrimp lethality assay, the LD50 of a methanol extracts and petroleum ether fraction of Pumpkin seed were 31.70 ppm and 21.95 ppm respectively. (27)
• Antibacterial: Study
of ethanol seed extract showed a spectrum of inhibition on Staph aureus, B. subtilis, P. mirabilis, K. pneumonia and E coli.
• Diuretic: Study
of a hydroalcoholic extract showed significant (p<0.01) diuretic activity at the dose of 300 mg/kg when compared to control acetazolamide. (28)
• Toxicity Study / Aerial Parts: Study
in mice evaluated the safety of methanol extract of aerial parts. Extract was well tolerated up to 2g/kg in acute toxicity study. In subacute toxicity study, it exhibited no significant alterations in any parameters. (29)
• Analgesic Study / Aerial Parts: Study
evaluated the analgesic effect of hydroalcoholic extract of CMD in a formalin model in rats. Results showed reduction of acute pain and chronic pain in all concentrations. Naloxone inhibited the analgesic effect of the extract. (30)
• Lipid Composition / Seeds: Lipid analysis of pumpkin seed oil yielded an oil content of 12% with oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, and linolein acid. The high degree of unsaturation makes it suitable as a drying agent, and the lower fatty acid content makes it suitable for edible use. (see constituents above) (32)
• Triterpene Esters / Cytotoxicity and Melanogenesis Inhibition / Seeds: Study on seeds yielded three new multiflorane-type triterpene esters (compounds 1-3). Compound 1 exhibited melanogenesis inhibitory activity. Compounds 1 and 3 showed weak cytotoxicity against HL-60 and P388 cells. (33)
Pumpkin seed oil in the cybermarket.