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Pointed Gourd

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

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 22, 2023.

Clinical Overview


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


Clinical data are lacking to provide T. dioica dosing recommendations.


Contraindications have not been identified.


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


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

None well documented.


No data.

Scientific Family

  • Cucurbitaceae (cucumber)


T. dioica is a perennial and dioecious herbaceous plant that grows as a vine with slender, angled, and hispid stems. 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. The white flowers are tubular and dioecious. The male peduncles are paired, and the female flowers are solitary. The fruits grow to 5 to 10 cm in length and are oblong, globose, smooth, striped, and orange-red when ripe, and the seeds are globose.(Gohil 2012, Kumar 2012, Lavekar 2008)


The pointed gourd crop is of Indo-Malayan origin, with extensive distribution in eastern India and, to a lesser extent, in other parts of South Asia. Pointed gourd fruits has been used as a vegetable in the Indian traditional food system.(Gohil 2012, Kumar 2012, Lavekar 2008) The fruits, leaves, and tender shoots of the plant have been used in traditional and Ayurvedic medicinal systems.(Kumar 2012, Lavekar 2008)

Edible T. dioica fruits and leaves are consumed alone or in combination with other fruits or vegetables. The fruits are easily digestible and diuretic in nature. Juice from the leaves has been used traditionally as a tonic and febrifuge, and for treatment of enlargement of the liver and spleen. In the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhitha, leaves and fruits are recommended for treating alcoholism and jaundice. 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 2012, Lavekar 2008)


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. T. dioica has a number of tetra and pentacyclic triterpenes.(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

T. dioica is of considerable importance, as it possesses a wide spectrum of pharmacological properties such as antihyperglycemic, antihyperlipidemic, antitumor, cytotoxic, arsenic poisoning ameliorating, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, dermatological, and antidiarrheal activities.(Hariti 1995, Khandaker 2018, Rai 2010) Adequate well-defined clinical trials with large patient groups are required to substantiate the therapeutic roles of this edible species.

Analgesic effects

Animal data

In analgesic activity tests in mice with acetic acid–induced pain, a methanolic extract of T. dioica fruits dose dependently reduced abdominal constrictions by 18.5%, 33.3%, 37%, and 40.7% with doses of 50 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg, 200 mg/kg, and 400 mg/kg, respectively; reductions obtained with the standard analgesic drug aspirin administered at doses of 200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg were 48.1% and 63%, respectively.(Labib 2015)

Anthelmintic activity

In vitro data

T. dioica seed extracts have demonstrated anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma and Ascaridia galli; ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts were comparable to the anthelmintic agent piperazine citrate. Further studies are suggested to isolate the active principles responsible for the anthelmintic activity.(Bhattacharya 2010, Kumar 2016)

Antidiabetic activity

Animal data

According to reviews of the pharmacological properties of T. dioica, the seeds and leaves have antidiabetic properties, demonstrated particularly in rat models of streptozotocin-induced diabetes.(Gohil 2012, Kumar 2012, Lavekar 2008)

Various doses of an aqueous T. dioica leaf extract (250, 500, and 750 mg/kg of body weight) were administered orally in normal and streptozotocin-induced subdiabetic and mild diabetic rat models in order to define the extract's glycemic potential. Results indicated that the aqueous extract of T. dioica leaves has hypoglycemic and antidiabetic potential.(Rai 2008b) In a study of rats with streptozotocin-induced severe diabetes mellitus, an aqueous extract of T. dioica fruits at a dosage of 1,000 mg/kg of body weight once daily for 28 days reduced fasting blood glucose, postprandial glucose, AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), creatinine, urine sugar, and urine protein; however, total protein and body weight were increased. In a median lethal dose (LD50) experiment, no toxic effect was observed at 10 and 15 times the effective aqueous extract dose.(Rai 2008a, Rai 2008b) In glucose-loaded mice, a methanolic extract of T. dioica fruits at a dose of 400 mg/kg reduced blood glucose concentrations by 46.4%, compared with a 47.4% reduction with glibenclamide 10 mg/kg.(Labib 2015)

In an additional study in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, an aqueous T. dioica extract of 1,000 mg/kg/day demonstrated benefit in metabolic parameters, as well as protection against diabetic complications, such as cognitive and memory deterioration and neuropathy.(Shahana 2018)

Antioxidant activity

Animal data

The antioxidant (ie, free radical scavenging) and wound healing properties of T. dioica have been evaluated.(Kumar 2012) Methanolic extracts of the fruits and roots have 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 myocardial toxicity by increasing antioxidant defense mechanisms.(Bhattacharya 2013)

Cholesterol-lowering activity

Animal data

In a study of normal and diabetic (streptozotocin induced) rats, a 50 mL/kg dose of pointed gourd aqueous fruit extract administered orally for 15 days reduced plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels and caused weight loss. The weight loss may be related to the extract's lipid-lowering effect or to its influence on appetite.(Sharmila 2007)

Clinical data

In a small study (N=40) in which use of T. dioicaseed powder (at a dosage of 7 g/day) for 2 weeks was compared in men with mild diabetes (n=20) and nondiabetic patients (n=20), treatment decreased serum cholesterol and triglycerides and increased phospholipid levels in the patients with diabetes. An increase of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was also observed. All parameters were also improved in the nondiabetic group compared with parameters prior to T. dioica treatment.(Khandaker 2018)

GI activity

Clinical data

The efficacy of T. dioica alone for duodenal ulcer was studied in 20 patients. The herb was associated with a 45% "excellent" response rate. However, dosing for this study was not provided, and study details are lacking.(Kumar 2012)

Hepatoprotective activity

Animal data

Hepatoprotective activity of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of T. dioica (whole plant) was demonstrated in rats with ferrous sulphate–induced liver injury; rats received ethanolic and aqueous T. dioica extracts at doses of 100, 200, and 400 mg/kg and silymarin 100 mg/kg administered orally for 10 days. The groups treated with the 400 mg/kg aqueous and ethanolic extract showed reductions in AST, ALT, and ALP levels. Pretreatment with T. dioica extracts showed histopathological protection of liver cells, as evidenced by histopathological studies.(Ghaisas 2008) Research in ovariectomized rats showed that T. dioica peel extract is capable of protecting the liver from carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)–induced damage through preventing oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation.(Khan 2020)


Clinical data are lacking to provide T. dioica dosing recommendations. A dosage of 7 g/day of T. dioica seed powder for 2 weeks was used in a small clinical study evaluating antihyperlipidemic activity of T. dioica.(Khundaker 2018)

Pregnancy / Lactation

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


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

None well documented.


In an acute toxicity study in mice, there were no changes in behavioral patterns, and mortality was not observed at doses up to 3,000 mg/kg.(Labib 2015) The T. dioica plant is considered relatively free from short-term lethal constituents; LD50 by oral administration in mice was 200 mL/kg, a value higher than that reported for many toxic plants.(Sharmila 2007)



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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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
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
Khan S, Rahman M, Kabir F, et al. Trichosanthes dioica Roxb. prevents hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in CCl4-induced ovariectomized rats. Clinical Nutrition Experimental. 2020;33:1-17. doi:10.1016/j.yclnex.2020.07.001Khan.2020
Khandaker M, Akter S, Imam M. Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.: A vegetable with diverse pharmacological properties. Food Science Human Wellness. 2018;7(1):34-48. doi:10.1016/j.fshw.2017.12.005
Kumar N, Chaudhary A. Evaluation of anthelmintic activity of Trichosanthes dioica (R.). Int J Pharm Bio Sci. 2016;7(4):229-232.
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Labib BA, Roy S, Rahman S, Rahman MM, Rahmatullah M. 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, Rai DK, Sharma B, Watal G. Effect of water extract of Trichosanthes Dioica fruits in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Ind J Clin Biochem. 2008;23(4):387-390.
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 Bio Sci. 2010;1(3):1-9.
Shahana S, Nikalje AP. Effect of Trichosanthes dioica aqueous fruit extract in diabetes and diabetic complications. Int J Pharm Sci Res. 2018;9(6):2540-2544.
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 Diag 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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