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Family Cucurbitaceae
Cucumis sativus

Hu gua

Scientific names  Common names 
Cucumis sativus Linn. Kalabaga (Bis.) 
Huang gua (Chin.) Kasimun (Bon.) 
  Maras (Sul.)
  Madas (Sul.) 
  Pepino (Span., Tag.) 
  Pipino (Tag., Ilk.) 
  Cucumber (Engl.)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Huang kwa, wong gaw, qing gua, tseng kwa
BURMESE : Thakhwa.
DANISH : Agurk.
DUTCH : Komkommer.
FINNISH : Kurkku.
FRENCH : Concombre, Concombre commun, Concombre vert long, Concombre blanc long
GERMAN : Gurke.
ITALIAN : Cetriolo
HINDI : Kheera, Kakri, Kakdi, Tihu.
JAPANESE : Kyu uri, Kyu uri, Moro kyu.
KHMER : Trâsâk.
KOREAN : Oh ee (oi).
LAOTIAN : Tèèng.
NEPALESE : Asare kankro, Airelu kankro, Kakro, Khira.
SINHALESE : Pipinya (Pipingha), Pipingkai.
SPANISH : Pepino, Cohombro.
SUNDANESE : Bonteng.
THAI : Taeng kwaa , Taeng om (ChiangMai), Taeng raan (Northern Thailand).

Pipino is an annual, rather coarse, fleshy, prostrate or climbing vine. Leaves are ovate, 8 to 14 centimeters long, 5-angled or 5-lobed, the lobes or angles being pointed, and hispidious on both surfaces. Flowers are axillary, solitary, or fascicled, stalkless or short-stalked, and bell-shaped. Male and female flowers are similar in color and size, yellow, and about 2 centimeters long. Fruit is usually cylindric, 10 to 20 centimeters long, smooth, yellow when mature, and slightly tuberculated. A variety is smaller and greenish. Seeds are numerous, oblong, compressed, and smooth.

- Cultivated in the Philippines.
- Planted in all warm countries.

- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, glycosides, steroids, saponin, flavonoid, and tannin.
- Fruit contains dextrose (0.11 to 0.98%); saccharose (0.05 to 0.13%); fixed oil (0.11-0.98%).
- Seed contains fixed oil (Gurken oil) 25% consisting of oleic acid (58%), linolic acid (3.7%), palmitic acid (6.8%), stearic acid (3.7%); phytine; and lecithine.
- Aerial parts contain a 14a-methyl D-phytosterol.
- Pulp yields shikimate dehydrogenase.
- Leaves contain urea and an alkaloid, hypoxanthine.
- Study yielded two new megastigmanes from the leaves of C sativus - cucumegastigmanes I and II with other known compounds.

- Seeds are antihelminthic; also, cooling, diuretic, and strengthening.
- Active ingredient of the essential oil is considered aphrodisiac in nature.
- Checkmate dehydrogenase from the pulp is considered a facial skin softener; also cooling and a natural sunscreen.

Parts used

Fruit, seeds.

Edibility / Nutritional
- Peeled raw fruit is peeled, sliced thin, served with vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and calamansi makes a good vegetable side dish.
- Common salad ingredient; also boiled in stew dishes.
- Seed kernel is edible.
- A variety is used for making pickles.
- In Malaya, young leaves are eaten raw or steamed.
- Good source of calcium and iron, vitamins B and C.
- Juice of leaves used as an emetic in acute indigestion in children.
- Ripe, raw cucumbers said to be good for sprue.
- Bruised root applied to swelling from the wound of hedgehog quill.
- Raw cucumbers used for dysentery.
- Cucumber salve used for scalds and burns.
- Seeds used as taeniacide (1 - 2 oz of seed thoroughly ground, with sugar, taken fasting, followed in 1-2 hours with a purge). Also used as an emetic with water.
- In Indo-China, immature fruit given to children for dysentery.
- In India, used as diuretic and for throat infections. Pulp considered healing and soothing, used to keep facial skin soft; is toning and soothing on damage skin and provides a natural sunscreen.
- In Bangladesh, fruit used with cumin seeds for throat infections.
- Cosmetic: Fruit is excellent for rubbing over the skin for softness and whiteness.
- Cooling, healing, and soothing to the skin irritated by the sun or raw from effects of eruptions
- Used in the manufacture of cucumber soap.
- Cucumber scent, one of a few others, linked to female sexual arousal.

Phytochemicals / C-Glycosides: Study yielded the following C-glycosides from the leaves: isovitexin 2″-O-glucoside, isovitexin, isoorientin, 4′-X-O-diglucosides of isovitexin and swertiajaponin. Flowers yielded kaempferol 3-O-rhamnoside and 3-O-glycosides of kaempferol, quercetin, isoramnetin was revealed.
Hypoglycemic / Anti-Diabetes:
(1) In Mexico, one of the edible plants with hypoglycemic activity. (2) Antihyperglycemic effect of 12 edible plants was studied in healthy rabbits. Cucumis sativus significantly decreased the area under the glucose tolerance curve and the hyperglycemic peak. Study suggests the integration of a diet that includes edible plants with hypoglycemic activity
Ethanolic extract of C sativus exhibited a potent activity against tapeworms comparable to the effect of piperazine citrate.
Skin Whitening :
Six plants parts of C sativus were studied for its inhibitory effect on melanogenesis. Leaves and stems showed inhibition of melanin production. Of 8 compounds isolated, lutein was a potentially skin whitening component.
Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant:
Studies have isolated isovitexin and isoorientin, two C-glycosylflavones. Isoorientin has exhibited hepatoprotective effect and isovitexin, an antioxidant effect.
Cytotoxicity / Antifungal: Studies of various extracts of leaves and stems were evaluated for cytotoxicity and antifungal activities. Chloroform extract showed lethality against brine shrimp nauplii. Ethanol and chloroform extracts showed moderate antifungal activity against all tested organisms. Aspergillus niger was most sensitive to the ethanol extract.
Antacid / Carminative:
Study evaluated the carminative and antacid properties of C. sativus fruit pulp aqueous extract. Result showed the extract significant neutralized acid and showed resistance against pH changes and also showed good carminative potential.
Study of C. sativus seed extracts in STZ-induced diabetic rats showed no initial phase effects but showed blood glucose lowering and weight lost after 9 days of continued daily therapy.
Study showed an aqueous extract of Cucumis sativus possessed hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity against CHP (cumene hydroperoxide) induced-cytotoxicity and ROS (reactive oxygen species) formation.
Delayed Caractogenesis:
Study in Sprague-Dawley rats investigated the anti-cataract properties of Cucumis sativus and Cucumbita pepo prior to induction of cataracts using galactose. Both C. sativus and C. pepo significantly delayed cataract formation. Results suggest regular low doses may be effective in delaying cataractogenesis.

Small or large scale commercial production. 

Last Updated September 2012

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / File:114 Cucumis sativus L.jpg / ATLAS DES PLANTES DE FRANCE / 1891 / A. Mascief / Public Domain / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Demonstration of Activity of -Galactosidase Secreted by Cucumis sativus L. Cells / J Stano et al / Acta Biotechnologica / Volume 21 Issue 1, Pages 83 - 87 / DOI 10.1002/1521-3846(200102)21:1<83::AID-ABIO83>3.0.CO;2-7
Studies on Hypoglycemic Activity of Mexican Medicinal Plants / Proc. West. Pharmacol. Soc. 45: 118-124 (2002)
The Anthelmintic Activity of Some Iraqi Plants of the Cucurbitaceae / Pharmaceutical Biology / 1987, Vol. 25, No. 3, Pages 153-157
Inhibitory Effect of Cucumis sativus on Melanin Production in Melanoma B16 Cells by Downregulation of Tyrosinase Expression / Planta Med 2008; 74: 1785-1788 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1088338
Preparative separation of isovitexin and isoorientin from Patrinia villosa Juss by high-speed counter-current chromatography / Journal of Chromatography A, 1074 (2005) 111–115

Anti-hyperglycemic effect of some edible plants / R Roman-Ramos et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Volume 48, Issue 1, 11 August 1995, Pages 25-32 / doi:10.1016/0378-8741(95)01279-M

Flavonoids from some species of the genus Cucumis / Miros awa Krauze-Baranowska and Wojciech Cisowski / Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, Volume 29, Issue 3, March 2001, Pages 321-324 / doi:10.1016/S0305-1978(00)00053-3
Two New Megastigmanes from the Leaves of Cucumis sativus / Hisahiro Kai, Masaki Baba, and Toru Okuyama / CHEMICAL & PHARMACEUTICAL BULLETIN, Vol. 55 (2007) , No. 1 133
Cucumis sativus L / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Cucumis names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE
Cytotoxicity and Antifungal Activities of Ethanolic and Chloroform Extracts of Cucumis sativus Linn (Cucurbitaceae) Leaves and Stems / Joysree Das, Anusua Chowdhury, Subrata Kumar Biswas, Utpal Kumar Karmakar, Syeda Ridita Sharif, Sheikh Zahir Raihan and Md Abdul Muhit / Research Journal of Phytochemistry, 6: 25-30. / DOI: 10.3923/rjphyto.2012.25.30
Evaluation of antacid and carminative properties of Cucumis sativus under simulated conditions
/ Swapnil Sharma, Jaya Dwivedi and Sarvesh Paliwal / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2012, 4 (1):234-239
Effect of Hydroalcoholic and Buthanolic Extract of Cucumis sativus Seeds on Blood Glucose Level of Normal and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats / Mohsen Minaiyan, Behzad Zolfaghari, Amin Kamal / Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences Vol. 14, No. 5, Sep-Oct 2011, 436-442
Hepatoprotective activity of Cucumis sativus against cumene hydroperoxide induced-oxidative stress / H. Heidari, M. Kamalinejad, M.R. Eskandari / Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2012;7(5)
The effect of Cucumis sativus L. and Cucumbit pepo L (Cucurbitaceae) aqueous preparations on galactose-induced cataract in Sprague-Dawley rats / Clement Afari, George Asumeng Koffuer, Precious Duah / International Research Journ of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Vol 2(78) pp 174-180, July 2012

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