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Parwal

Scientific Name(s): Trichosanthes dioica
Common Name(s): Kovakkai, Parol, Paror, Parora, Parwal, Pointed gourd, Potol, Thonde kayi

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jul 1, 2019.

Clinical Overview

Use

Juice of the leaves of T. dioica has been traditionally used as a tonic, febrifuge, and in enlargement of liver and spleen. Leaves and fruits have also been used for treating alcoholism and jaundice, and leaves for edema and alopecia. The plant has also been used as an antipyretic, diuretic, cardiotonic, and laxative. However, little clinical information exists to support any of these uses.

Dosing

Clinical data for dosing recommendations in humans are limited.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

None well documented.

Toxicology

Clinical information is lacking.

Scientific Family

  • Cucurbitaceae

Botany

T. dioica is a perennial and dioecious plant that grows as a vine with slender, angled, and hispid stems.Gohil 2012, Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008 The vines are approximately the thickness of a pencil, with dark green, cordate, ovate, oblong, unlobed, and rigid leaves. The tendrils are usually forked. The tuberous roots have a taproot system.Gohil 2012, Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008 The white flowers are tubular and dioecious. The male peduncles are paired, and the female flowers are solitary. Fruits are 5 to 10 cm long, oblong, globose, smooth, striped, and orange-red when ripe, and the seeds are globose.Gohil 2012, Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008

History

The parwal (pointed gourd) is used as a dioecious, herbaceous vegetable. The crop is of Indo-Malayan origin and grown extensively in eastern India and, to a lesser extent, in other parts of South Asia.Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008 Fruits of this plant have long been used as a vegetable in traditional Indian foods. The fruits, leaves, and tender shoots of the plant have been used in the traditional and Ayurvedic medical system. The fruits are easily digestible and diuretic in nature.Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008

Chemistry

T. dioica has a number of tetra and pentacyclic triterpenes. Cucurbitacins, taxonomic members of the Cucurbitaceae family, are highly oxygenated tetracyclic compounds with a unique carbon skeleton and, sometimes, a carbonyl carbon in ring C.Gohil 2012 T. dioica is rich in vitamins and minerals (eg, sodium, potassium, copper, selenium).Alom 2013 The seeds contain a large amount of peptides, which are uniquely resistant to the action of silver nitrate.Kabir 2000 Other constituents are tannins, saponins, and phytosterols.Chopra 2002, Ghaisas 2008, Toshihiro 1997 The seeds also contain lectin, a carbohydrate-binding protein similar to type-2 ribosome inhibitory proteins.Ali 2004 The plant contains fatty acids such as linoleic, oleic, and stearic acids. Other constituents include colocynthin, essential oils, starch, and reducing sugars.Chopra 2002, Ghaisas 2008, Toshihiro 1997

Uses and Pharmacology

Edible T. dioica fruits and leaves are consumed alone or in combination with other fruits or vegetables.Gohil 2012, Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008 Juice of the leaves has been traditionally used as a tonic and febrifuge, and for treatment of enlargement of liver and spleen. In the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhitha, leaves and fruits are recommended for treating alcoholism and jaundice.Gohil 2012, Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008 The leaves have been used in edema and alopecia. The plant, a rich source of vitamins, has also been used as an antipyretic, diuretic, cardiotonic, and laxative, as well as for its hypocholesterolemic, hypoglyceridemic, and hypophospholipemic properties.Gohil 2012, Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008 The plant has demonstrated anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma and Ascaridia galli.Bhattacharya 2010 The seeds have been found to have antidiabetic properties.Gohil 2012, Kumar 2011, Lavekar 2008

Antidiabetic activity

Animal data

The effect of an aqueous extract of T. dioica leaves in normal and various diabetic models has been studied.Rai 2008 Variable doses of 250, 500, and 750 mg/kg of body weight of the extract were administered orally to normal and streptozotocin-induced sub- and mild-diabetic rats in order to define the extract’s glycemic potential. The results indicated that the aqueous extract of T. dioica leaves has good hypoglycemic and antidiabetic potential.Rai 2008

In rats with streptozotocin-induced severe diabetes mellitus, aqueous extract of T. dioica fruits, at a dosage of 1,000 mg/kg of body weight once daily for 28 days, reduced the levels of fasting blood glucose, postprandial glucose, AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), creatinine, urine sugar, and urine protein, whereas total protein and body weight was increased. No toxic effect was observed during median lethal dose.Rai 2008

T. dioica has reportedly lowered blood sugar level in rats.Chandra Sekhar 1988

A dose of methanolic extract 400 mg/kg was found to reduce blood glucose concentrations by 46.4%, compared with a 47.4% reduction from a dose of glibenclamide 10 mg/kg.Labib 2015 This study also examined analgesic activity and noted effects similar to those of aspirin 200 mg/kg.

Clinical data

Clinical data are lacking.

Hepatoprotective activity

Animal data

Hepatoprotective activity of aqueous and ethanolic extract of T. dioica (whole plant) in ferrous sulphate-induced liver injury has been demonstrated in rats.Ghaisas 2008 Ethanolic and aqueous extracts at different doses of 100, 200, and 400 mg/kg and silymarin 100 mg/kg were administered orally for 10 days. The groups treated with 400 mg/kg aqueous and ethanolic extract showed reductions in AST, ALT, and ALP levels. The pretreatment with T. dioica extracts showed histopathological protection to liver cells, as evidenced by histopathological studies.Ghaisas 2008

Clinical data

Clinical data are lacking.

Anti-oxidant activity

Animal data

Methanol extracts of the fruits and roots demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic activity in rats. This activity may be related to the presence of phenolic and flavonoid compounds.Alam 2011, Bhattacharya 2012 In Wistar rats, oral administration of a hydroalcoholic root extract was protective against arsenic-associated myocardiotoxicity by increasing antioxidant defense mechanisms.Bhattacharya 2013

Clinical data

Clinical data are lacking.

Cholesterol-lowering activity

Animal data

A 50 mL/kg dose of aqueous fruit extract of the pointed gourd, administered orally for 15 days, reduced plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels and caused weight loss in normal and diabetic rats. The weight loss may be related to the extract’s lipid-lowering effect or to its influence on appetite.Sharmila 2007 In addition, the plant has been shown to have antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used for the treatment of skin disorders.Hariti 1995, Rai 2010 The antioxidant and wound-healing properties of T. dioica have also been evaluated.Kumar 2011

Clinical data

Clinical data are lacking.

GI activity

Animal data

Animal data are lacking.

Clinical data

T. dioica is reported to have an antiulcerous effect in herbal formulations. Patoladi Kasayam, a polyherbal formulation consisting of 11 herbs including T. dioica, exhibited complete improvement in 50% of cases and partial improvement in 40% of cases in a study of 10 patients with peptic ulcer.Kumar 2011 A study of 33 patients with duodenal ulcer also evaluated Patoladi Kasayam administered in a dose of 40 mL/kg The formulation was effective in relieving symptoms and complications, and it normalized both hyper- and hypoacidity.Kumar 2011 The efficacy of T. dioica alone for duodenal ulcer was studied in 20 patients with duodenal ulcer. The efficacy of the herb had a 45% excellent response rate out of 20 cases.Kumar 2011

Dosing

Clinical data for dosing recommendations in humans are limited.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None will documented. There have been no studies to evaluate herb-herb interactions or herb-drug interactions with the use of T. dioica.

Adverse Reactions

The methanolic extracts of T. dioica fruits did not result in any adverse reactions at a dose of 3,000 mg/kg of body weight when administered in mice.

Toxicology

In the study described above, there were no changes in behavioral patterns, and mortality was not observed.Labib 2015, Sharmila 2007

References

Alam MB, Hossain MS, Chowdhury NS, et al. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-pyretic activities of Trichosanthes dioica Roxb. fruits. J Pharm Toxicol. 2011;6(5):440-453.
Ali N, Mohammed Sultan, Kenoth R, Swamy MJ. Purification, physicochemical characterization, saccharide specificity, and chemical modification of a Gal/GalNAc specific lectin from the seeds of Trichosanthes dioica. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004;432(2):212–221.
Alom M, Nag B, Islam M, Ahmed F, Akhter S. Performance of different crop species with pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.). Bangladesh J Agric Res. 2013;38(3):523-529.
Bhattacharya S, Haldar PK. Protective role of the triterpenoid-enriched extract of Trichosanthes dioica root against experimentally induced pain and inflammation in rodents. Nat Prod Res. 2012;26(24):2348-2352.22288562
Bhattacharya S, Haldar PK. Trichosanthes dioica root alleviates arsenic induced myocardial toxicity in rats. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2013;32(3):251-261.24266412
Bhattacharya S, Haldar PK, Ghosh AK. Paralytic and lethal effects of Trichosanthes dioica root extracts in experimental worms. Pharm Biol. 2010;48(9):960-965.20695728
Chandra Sekhar B, Mukherjee B, Mukherjee SK. Blood sugar lowering effect of Trichosanthes dioica Roxb. in experimental rat models. Int J Crude Drug Res. 1988;26(2):102–106.
Chopra RN, Nayar SL, Chopra IC. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants. New Delhi: Council of Scientific & Industrial Research; 2002:340.
Ghaisas MM, Tanwar MB, Ninave PB, et al. Hepatoprotective activity of aqueous and ethanolic extract of Trichosanthes dioica Roxb. in ferrous sulphate-induced liver injury. Pharmacologyonline. 2008;3:127-135.
Gohil KJ, Shende VM, Hamdulay NM. Pharmacological potential of Trichosanthes dioica: Current prospects. Int J Adv Pharm Biol Chem. 2012;1(2):192-198.
Hariti M, Rathee PS. Antibacterial activity of the unsaponifiable fraction of the fixed oil of Trichosanthes seeds. Asian J Chem. 1995;7(4):909-911.
Kabir S. The novel peptide composition of the seeds of Trichosanthes dioica Roxb. Cytobios. 2000;103(403):121-131.11077974
Kumar N. Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.: an overview. Int J Pharma Bio Sci. 2011;2:3.
Labib BA, Roy S, Rahman S, et al. Oral glucose tolerance, antinociceptive and acute toxicity studies with Trichosanthes dioica fruits. J Chem Pharm Res. 2015;7(4):393-396.
Lavekar GS, Padhi MM, Mangal AK, et al. Database on Medicinal Plants Used in Ayurveda & Siddha. Vol 8. New Delhi: Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha; 2008:5.
Rai PK, Jaiswal D, Singh RK, Gupta RK, Watal G. Glycemic properties of Trichosanthes dioica leaves. Pharm Biol. 2008;46(12):894-899.
Rai PK, Mehta S, Gupta RK, Watal G. A novel antimicrobial agents Trichosanthes dioica. Int J Pharma and Bio Sci. 2010;1(3):1-9.
Sharmila BG, Kumar G, Rajsekara PM. Cholesterol-lowering activity of the aqueous fruit extract of Trichosanthes dioica in normal and streptozocin diabetic rats. J Clin Diagn Res. 2007;1(6):561-569.
Toshihiro A, Yumico K, Yoshimasa K, Kunio K, Swapnadip T, Toshitake T. 7- oxodihydrokarounidiol-3-benzoate and other triterpenes from the seeds of Cucurbitaceae. Phytochemistry. 1997;46(7):1261-1266.

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