Kavun colocynth – watermelon colocynth

Perennial monoecious herbaceous rough-haired plant of the gourd family. The stem is short-hairy, climbing (with the help of two- or three-part tendrils), very branched, rounded-faceted, 2-3 m long. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, triangular-ovate, incised on a notched-pinnate blade. Flowers unisexual, on short legs, single; Corolla is 5-lobed, pale yellow. The fruit is berry-like, spherical, yellow, with dry, spongy, bitter pulp. Blooms in June – July. The fruits ripen in August – September.

Spread. It grows wild in the dry sandy steppes and semi-deserts of northeastern Africa. It is grown in small quantities in the south of Ukraine.

Raw. The pulp of ripe fruits (Colocynthi pulpa) is used to make medicine. The collected fruits are carefully cleaned from the thick yellow skin with a knife, cut into pieces and dried.

The plant is unofficial .

Chemical composition . The pulp (pulp) of the fruit contains glycosides (up to 2%), resins, pectin and protein substances.

Pharmacological properties and use . Watermelon colocynth was included in the 8th edition of the State Pharmacopoeia of the USSR. The fruits of the plant in the form of powder or extract were used as a strong laxative. The drug Akofit, which was previously used for sciatica and sciatica, contained colocynth fruit tincture. In addition, colocynth is included in products used to treat dropsy (Swelling). Later, due to high toxicity and shortage of raw materials, colocynth was removed from the State Pharmacopoeia of the USSR. Recently, the plant has again attracted the attention of researchers for its antitumor activity. Tincture of dried colocynth fruits is used in homeopathy.

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