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Cucurbita moschata Duchesne.


Cucurbita pepo var. moschata Duchesne ex. Lam.

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Labu Merah, Labu Parang, Ketola [1]
English: Musk Melon, Pumpkin, Winter Squash Calabaza, West Indian Pumpkin, Zapallo [1]
Chinese: Kusum [1]
Javanese: Waluh [1]
Thailand: Fak Tawng, Nam Tao [1]
Chinese: Zhong Guo, Nan-kua Tz’u, Nan Gua, Fan Gua [1]
Tagalog: Kalabasa [1]

General Information


Cucurbita moschata is a climbing herb belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae and distributed widely throughout the world. Based onappearance, it resembles Cucurbita maxima. The dry months of Kedah are suitable for its cultivation. [1]

Plant Part Used

Seed, fruit, leaf, flower. [1]

Chemical Constituents

A study reported that the main carotenoids isolated from C. moschata were β-carotene, α-carotene, lutein and other minor carotenoids such as phytofluene, zeta-carotene, neurosporene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin. The value of vitamin A obtained was 432 mg retinol per 100g fresh sample, which shows that this vegetable is an important source of provitamin A. [2]

An unsaturated hydroxyl fatty acid, 13-hydroxy-9Z,11E,15E-octadecatrienoic acid was isolated from the leaves of C. Moschata. [3]

The main components of the sterol fraction from pumpkin seed oil were identified as 24S-ethyl 5α-cholesta-7,22E-dien-3-β-ol, 24S-ethyl 5α-cholesta-7,22E,25-trien-3-β-ol, 24S-ethyl 5α-cholesta-7,25-dien-3β-ol, 24R-ethyl-cholesta-7-en-3β-ol and 24-ethyl-cholesta-7,24(28)-dien-3β-ol. [4]

A methanol extract of the seeds yielded five new phenolic glycosides: cucurbitosides A-E. [5]

A comparative study of the fatty acid content of seeds of four Cucurbita species grown in a shared garden has reported that C. moschata contains 12.4-17.9% palmitic, 5.4-8.2% stearic, 13.5-25.8% oleic and 53.0-59.0% linoleic acids. [6]

Traditional Use:

C. moschata is prescribed in the treatment of coughs, fever and chest pains. The seeds are used to expel tapeworms. The pulverized seed, i.e. with half of its oil contents removed by grinding, is used in cases of acute schistosomiasis. The seeds also help to prevent the development of renal calculi. [1]

In some countries, the tea from the leaves is used to treat stomach ulcers and jaundice. The fruit has a mild laxative effect. The fruit extract is used to treat wounds caused by animal bites. The flowers can also be used to treat jaundice. [1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Anti-obesity activity

In a report of the screening of plant sources for their anti-obesity activity, a water-soluble extract from C. moschata stems was found to inhibit adipocyte differentiation, control peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor a (PPARa) and increase fatty acid-oxidation in a dose dependent manner. Consistent with these in vitro results, the water-soluble extract produced significant anti-obesity activity including lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels in blood of a high fat diet-induced mouse model. The data of this study suggest that the extract may have a great potential as a safe and effective anti-obesity agent. [7]

Ribosomal-inactivating proteins (RIPs) activity

Ribosomal-inactivating proteins are plant proteins that are known to damage ribosomes in an irreversible manner, thus inhibiting protein synthesis. RIPs are used in medicine, linked to monoclonal antibodies, to construct immunotoxins, hybrid molecules able to eliminate dangerous cells in a selective way. Due to the higher tolerance of humans towards RIPs from edible plants, immunotoxins containing these RIPs may result more suitable for human therapy.

In a study to determine the presence of ribosomal-inactivating proteins in various plant materials, the basic protein extract from C. moschata sarcocarp was observed to have the highest activity. This high activity basic protein fraction was purified to obtain a RIP which was later evaluated for its enzymatic and other properties, and compared with other two RIPs previously isolated from other plant materials, cucurmosin and moschatin. The RIP exhibited superoxide dismutase acitivity, as well as antimicrobial and antifungal activity by inhibiting the growth of two strains of Phytophora infestans (60%) and the growth of Erwinia amylovora (70%) and Pseudomonas solanacearum (50%). [8]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Use in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1) Botanical Info


    1. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. 2002; 1:230.
    2. Gonzalez, E., Montenegro, M.A., Nazareno, M.A. and Lopez de Mishima, B.A.  Carotenoid composition and vitamin A value of an Argentinian squash (Cucurbita moschata). Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2001; 51:395-9.
    3. Bang, M.H., Han, J.T., Kim, H.Y. Park, Y.D., Park, C.H., Lee, K.R. and Baek, N.I. 13-Hydroxy-9Z,11E,15E-octadecatrienic acid from the leaves of Cucurbita moschata. Arch Pharm Res. 2002; 25:438-40.
    4. Rodriguez, J.B., Gros, G.E., Bertoni, M.H. and Cattaneo, P. The sterols of Cucurbita moschata (“calabacita”) seed oil. Lipids. 1996; 31:1205-8.
    5. Koike, K., Li, W., Liu, L., Hata, E. and Nikaido, T. New phenolic glycosides from the seeds of Cucurbita moschata. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 2005; 53:225-228.
    6. Applequist, W.L., Avula, B., Scaneberg, B.T., Wang, Y-H. and Khan, I.A. Comparative fatty acid content of seeds of four Cucurbita species grown in a common (shared) garden. J. Food Composition Analysis. 2006; 19:606-11.
    7. Choi, H., Eo, H., Park, K., Jin, M., Park, E.J., Kim, S,H, Park, J.E.& Kim, S. A water-soluble extract from Cucurbita moschata shows anti-obesity effects by controlling lipid metabolism in a high fat diet-induced obesity mouse model. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2007; 359:419-25.
    8. Barbieri, L. et al. Ribosome-inactivating proteins in edible plants and purification and characterization of a new ribosome-inactivating protein from Curcubita moschata. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 2006; 1760: 783-92.

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