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Family Cucurbitaceae
Cucurbita maxima Duchesne

Fan nan gua

Scientific names Common names 
Cucumis rapallito Carriére Calabaza (Sp.) 
Cucumis zapallito Carriére Kabasi (Sul.)
Cucurbita farinae Mozz. ex Naudin Kabasi (Sul.) 
Cucurbita maxima Duchesne Kalabasa (Tag., Ceb.) 
Cucurbita pileiformis M.Roem. Kalabasang-bilog (Tag.)  
Cucurbita rapallito Carriére Kalabasang-pula (Tag.) 
Curcubita sulcata Blanco Karabasa (Ilk.) 
Curcubita tirbaniformis M.Roem. Kumbasa (Bon.)  
  Giant pumpkin (Engl.) 
  Squash (Engl.) 
  Sweet-fleshed squash (Engl.) 
  Fan nan gua (Chin.) 
Cucurbita maxima Duchesne is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AFRIKAANS : Pampoen.
ARABIC : Qar'islambuli, Qar'malti, Qar'maghrabi, Karr estmboly (Egypt).
CHINESE: Bei gua, jiao si gua, yang gua, Sun gua.
DANISH : Centnergræskar.
DUTCH : Pompoen, Ronde pompoen, Reuzenpompoen, Reuzenkalebas.
ESTONIAN : Suureviljaline kõrvits.
FINNISH : Jättiläiskurpitsa.
FRENCH : Potiron, Giraumon, Courge-giraumon, Courge d'hiver, Grosse courge, Courge-potiron.
GERMAN : Risen-Kürbis, Risenkürbis, Riesenkuerbis.
HEBREW : Delaat gedola.
HINDI : Kadduu, Sitaphal.
HUNGARIAN : Sütö tök.
ITALIAN : Zucca, Zucca gigante, Giramonte.
JAPANESE : Kuri kabocha, Seiyou kabocha, Seiyou kabocha.
NEPALESE : Kadu, Kashi phal, Pharsi, Sitaa phal.
NORWEGIAN : Kjempegraskar.
POLISH : Dynia duza, Dynia olbrzymia.
PORTUGUESE : Abóbora-menina, Abóbora-moranga.
RUSSIAN : Tykva gigantskaia.
SPANISH : Calabaza amarilla, Calabaza de cidra, Calabaza gigante, Calabaza tamalayota, Calabaza tonanera, Calabaza redonda, Quinoa, Quinua, Zapallo (Argentina).
SWEDISH : Jättepumpa, Pumpa.
URDU : Halva kaddu, Mitha kaddu.
YORUBA : Apala.

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%).
• Seeds 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, vermifuge.

• Studies suggest antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antidiabetic, antihyperlipidemic, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, anthelmintic properties.

Parts used
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 stones.
• 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 prostatic hyperplasia).
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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. (
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) (
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. (

Commercial vegetable cultivation.
Pumpkin seed oil in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update October 2015

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: File:Cucurbita maxima Blanco2.320.png / Francisco Manuel Blanco / Flora de Filipinas / 1880-1883/ Public Domain / Modifications by Carol Spears / WIKIPEDIA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Cucurbita maxima - Duchesne. ex Lam. / Winter Squash / Plants For A Future
Microbiological and pharamcological studies on extracts of Cucurbita maxima / VILLASENOR I. M.; BARTOLOME A. L. O et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research / 1995, vol. 9, no5, pp. 376-378 / INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 21695, 35400005373809.0130
Toxicity evaluation of Cucurbita maxima seed extract in mice / Summary Pharmaceutical Biology / 2006, Vol. 44, No. 4, Pages 301-303
Antigenotoxic spinasterol from Cucurbita maxima flowers / Irene Villaseñor et al / Mutation Research/Environmental Mutagenesis and Related Subjects, Vol 360, Issue 2, 10 June 1996, Pages 89-93 / doi:10.1016/0165-1161(95)00071-2
Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas / Díaz Obregón D, Lloja Lozano L, Carbajal Zúñiga V. / Revista de gastroenterología del Perú / 2004 Oct-Dec; vol 24 (issue 4) : pp 323-7

Cucurbita maxima Duchesne ex Lam. / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Cucurbita names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE
Effect of Hydro-Alcoholic Extract of Cucurbita Maxima, Fruit Juice and Glibenclamide on Blood Glucose in Diabetic Rats / Lal, V.K., P.P. Gupta, Awanish Pandey and P. Tripathi
/ American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology 6 (3): 84-87, 2011
Comparative Effect of Cucurbita Maxima Seed with Immunomodulators on Biochemical Parameters in Rabbits / V. Ranganathan and S. Selvasubramanian / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 02 (06); 2012: 191-193
Antidiabetic Activity of Cucurbita maxima Aerial Parts / P. Saha, A. Bala, B. Kar, S. Naskar, U.K. Mazumder, P.K. Haldar and M. Gupta / Research Journal of Medicinal Plant, 2011, Vol 5, No: 5, pp 577-586 /
DOI: 10.3923/rjmp.2011.577.586
Anticancer activity of methanol extract of Cucurbita maxima against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma / Prerona Saha, U. K. Mazumder, P. K. Haldar, Sagar Naskar, Sriparna Kundu, Asis Bala, Biswakanth Kar / Int. J. Res. Pharm. Sci., 2(1), 2011, 52-59
Sterols from Cucurbita maxima / Consolacion Y. Ragasa and Kathleen Lim / Philippine Journal of Science
134 (2): 83-87, December 2005
Hepatoprotective Effect of Methanolic Extract of C. maxima and L. siceraria Seeds / Jain Nidhi and A K Pathak / Intern Journ of Pharmaceutical, Chemical, and Biological Sciences, 2012, 2(2). 151-154
Phytochemical Screening and In Vitro Comparative Study of Anthelmintic Activity of Asparagus racemosus and Cucurbita maxima / G. V. N. Kiranmayi, K. Ravishankar, P. Priyabandhavi / Journal of Pharmacy Research, Vol 5, No 3 (2012)
Pumpkin seed oil extracted from Cucurbita maxima improves urinary disorder in human overactive bladder / Mie Nishimura, Tatsuya Ohkawara, Hiroji Sato, Hiroshi Takeda, Jun Nishihira / Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 2014, Vol 4, Issue 1, pp 72-74 / DOI: 10.4103/2225-4110.124355
EVALUATION OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY OF CUCURBITA MAXIMA FRUIT / Hardik Patel, Bhagirath Patel, Alpesh Prajapati* / J Adv Pharm Res Biosci. 2013; 1(1): 28-31
Estimation of humoral immune response in rabbits fed with Cucurbita maxima seeds / V. Ranganathan, S. Selvasubramanian and S. Vasanthakumar / Vet World 6(7):396-399 / doi:10.5455/vetworld.2013.396-399
Protease Inhibition Studies and Metallic Responses of Cucurbita maxima and Citrullus lanatus Seed Coat Extracts / Mr. Sreenu Barla, Dr. DSVGK Kaladhar, Dr. Govinda Rao Duddukuri / IJSR - INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, Vol 2, No 9, Sept 2013
MILD STEEL CORROSION INHIBITION BY CUCURBITA MAXIMA PLANT EXTRACT IN HYDROCHLORIC ACID SOLUTION / K.Anbarasi*, V.G.Vasudha / IENT Conference Proceedings / doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.13074/ient.2013.07.13328
Anti-inflammatory effect of Cucurbita maxima sweet seed extract on foregut induced injury: role of oxidative stress / Irena Pshyk-Titko and Oksana Zayachkivska / The FASEB Journal
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM STIMULANT EFFECT OF THE OILS OBTAINED FROM SEEDS OF CUCURBITA MAXIMA / Doke P.P.*, Tare H.L., Sherikar A.K., Shende V.S., Deore S.R., Dama G.Y. / Journal of pharmaceutical biology, 1(1), 2011, 30-36.
Antigiardial Activity of some Cucurbita Species and Lagenaria Siceraria / Ihsan Mohamed Elhadi, Waleed S. Koko*, Mahmoud M. Dahab, Yahia Mohamed El Imam, Mona Abdu Elmonem Abdu El Mageed / JOURNAL OF FOREST PRODUCTS & INDUSTRIES, 2013, 2(4), 43-47
Cucurbita maxima Duschesne / Synonyms / The Plant List
Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas / Díaz Obregón D, Lloja Lozano L, Carbajal Zúñiga V. / Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2004 Oct-Dec;24(4):323-7.
Antidiabetic and Antihyperlipidemic Activity of Cucurbita maxima Duchense (Pumpkin) Seeds on Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats / Ashok Sharma*, Ashish K. Sharma, Tara Chand, Manoj Khardiya, Kailash Chand Yadav / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Vol 1, Issue 6
CYTOTOXICITY AND PHYTOCHEMICAL STUDIES OF PUMPKIN SEED (CUCURBITA MAXIMA LINN.) EXTRACT. / Matiar Rahman / Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research, Vol 3, No 2 (2014)
Physico-chemical studies and evaluation of diuretic activity of Cucurbita maxima / Venkattapuram Sampath Saravanan, Sellimuthu Manokaran / Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology, Vol 7, No 4 (2012)
Acute and Subchronic Toxicity of C. maxima Aerial Parts / P. Saha, U.K. Mazumder* and P.K. Haldar / International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 2 (2) Apr – Jun 2011
Evaluating the analgesic effect of Cucurbita maxima Duch hydro-alcoholic extract in rats / Arezoo Basim, Mohammad Reza Hojjati *, Zahra Alibabaei , Hossein Fathpoor / JSKUM Journal of Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Vol 16, No 4, Oct-Nov 2014
Fertilizer value of urine in pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima L.) cultivation
/ S.K. PRADHAN, S. PITKÄNEN, H. HEINONEN-TANSKI / Agricultural and Food Science, Vol 19, No 1 (2010)
Nutritional and Lipid Composition Analysis of Pumpkin Seed (Cucurbita maxima Linn.) / Ahsan Habib, Shahangir Biswas, Abdul Hai Siddique, Manirujjaman M, Belal Uddin, Sohel Hasan, Khan MMH, Meftah Uddin, Minarul Islam, Mahadi Hasan, Muedur Rahman, Asaduzzaman M, Sohanur Rahman M, Khatun M, Islam MA and Matiar Rahman* / J Nutr Food Sci 5:374. doi: 10.4172/2155-9600.1000374
Three New Triterpene Esters from Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) Seeds / Takashi Kikuchi, Shinsuke Ueda, Jokaku Kanazawa, Hiroki Naoe, Takeshi Yamada and Reiko Tanaka * / Molecules 2014, 19, 4802-4813 / doi:10.3390/molecules19044802

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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