Sayote is a tropical perennial vine, with stems climbing to 40 feet high. Rootstock is tuberous. Leaf petioles are 6 inches long. Leaves
are hairy, broadly cordate, entire or angled, 10 to 20 centimeters long. Flowers are staminate, yellowish to pale green, in long racemes. Pistillate flowers are solitary, corolla 12 to 17 millimeters. Fruit is pear-shaped, light green, and slightly wrinkled or with shallow, narrow, longitudinal grooves, in some forms set with soft spines. Seed is single, large, with a smooth testa, clinging to the flesh, protruding from the fruit apex.
- Probably native to Mexico.
- Study yielded eight flavonoids
including three C-glycosyl and five O-glycosyl flavones. The leaves
gave the highest amount of flavonoids
- Phytochemical analysis of fruit (pulps and seeds) yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, and terpenoids.
(See study below) (10)
- Nutrient analysis of raw chayote per 100 g: (Proximates) water 94.24 g, energy 19 Kcal, carbohydrates 4.51 g, protein 0.82 g, total fat 0.13 g, cholesterol 0, dietary fiber 1.7 g, total sugars 1.66 g; (Vitamins) thiamin 0.025 mg, vitamin B6 0.076 mg, folates 93 µg, niacin 0.470 mg, pantothenic acid 0.249 mg, pyridoxine 0.076 mg, riboflavin 0.029 mg, vitamin A 0 IU, vitamin C 7.7 mg, vitamin E 0.12 mg, vitamin K 4.1 µg; (Electrolytes) sodium 2 mg, potassium 125 mg; (Minerals) calcium 17 mg, iron 0.34 mg, magnesium 12 mg, manganese 0.189 mg, phosphorus 18 mg, selenium 0..2 µg, zinc 0.74 mg; (Lipids) total saturated fatty acids 0.028 g,total monosaturated FA 0.010 g, total polyunsaturated FA 0.057 g, trans FA 0, cholesterol 0. (23)
- Antiulcer, laxative, diuretic, antihypertensive, antioxidant.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, anti-hypertensive,
antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, vasorelaxant, membrane stabilizing, hepatoprotective, antihyperglycemic, hypouricemic, antifungal properties.
Leaves and fruit.
- The fruit, tuber, stems and leaves are edible.
- Leaves are used in stews.
- Low in fiber, high in carbohydrate and caloric content.
- Fruit is laxative.
- Raw pulp of the fruit is soothing for skin rashes.
- Roasted leaves help in the suppuration of boils.
- Decoction of leaves drunk to relieve urinary retention and dysuria (burning when urinating) and to dissolve kidney stones.
(Lira 1988; Flores 1989; Yang and Walters 1992) (27)
- Fiber: Stem fibers used to make baskets and hats. In Ghana, used as binding material in construction of mud houses. (25)
Leaf ethanolic extracts and leaf and seed water extracts showed strong
inhibitory activity by B-carotene bleaching. Results may be potentially
exploited as biopreservatives and for health supplements or food to
alleviate oxidative stress. (1)
Extract studies produced a fall in blood pressure. The mechanisms
were not determined in the preliminary experiments. Further studies are indicated to delineate the mechanisms involved in decreased mean arterial pressure. (2)
Phytochemical study yielded eight flavonoids, including three C-glycosyl and five o-glycosyl flavones. Results showed the highest amount of flavonoids was in the leaves (35.0 mg/10 g of dried part), followed by roots (30.5 mg/10 g) and by stems (19.3 mg/10g). (3)
Alcoholic extracts of Sechium edule were tested against bacteria of clinical relevance as nosocomial pathogens. Results showed both fluid extract and tincture have very good antimicrobial efficacy against all strains of multiresistant staphylococci and enterococci and warrants further studies to isolate and identify the active principle/s. (4)
• Radiopharmaceutical Labeling and Uptake Effect:
The Effect of a Chayote (Sechium edule) Extracts (decocted and Macerated) on the Labeling of Blood Elements with Technetium- 9m and on the Biodistribution of the Radiopharmaceutical Sodium Pertechnetate in Mice: an In vitro and In vivo Analysis. The study suggests that some component of chayote extracts present an oxidant power to alter the biodistribution of Technitium-9m and cause alteration of the uptake in organs. (5)
Treatment with an ethanolic extract of fruit significantly protected against aspirin-induced ulceration with reduction of total acidity, free acidity, gastric output and increase pH of gastric secretion (8).
Study yielded eight flavonoids, including three C-glycosyl and five o-glycosyl flavones. Aglycone moieties are represented by apigenin and luteolin; the sugar units by glucose, apiose and rhamnose.
• Antiepileptic / CNS Depressant Effect / Fruit:
An ethanol extract of fruits was evaluated for antiepileptic and CNS depressant effect in a rats. Results showed significant reduction of duration of various phases of convulsion in MES- and PTZ-induced convulsion. There was dose-dependent reduction of locomotor activity in the CNS depressant model. (9)
• Antibacterial / Food Borne Bacteria / Pulp:
Study evaluated various extracts of S. edule fruits (pulp and seed) against food borne bacteria. Chloroform and methanolic extracts exhibited antibacterial activity against most of the gram negative bacteria tested (E coli, S. typhimurium, and S. flexneri). (10)
• Antioxidant / RBC Membrane Stabilization:
Study evaluated the influence of chayote extract on the morphology of red blood cells and on the radiolabeling of blood elements with technetium-99m. Results showed the chayote extract has antioxidant compounds which could be responsible for alteration of RBC morphology without altering the radiolabeling of blood elements. (11)
• Antihypertensive / Vasorelaxant Effect:
Study evaluated the a hydroalcoholic extract from roots, including fractions and subfractions, on different hypertension models induced with angiotensin II. Results showed an antihypertensive and vasorelaxant effect probably due to an AG II antagonism activity. The AG II antagonistic effect could also have a calcium antagonist effect. The presence of cinnamic acid derivatives could be responsible for the angiotensin II and calcium antagonist effect. (12)
• Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Injury / Fruits:
Study of ethanolic fruit extracts and its fractions showed significant hepatoprotective activity against CCl4 induced hepatotoxicity in rats in a dose dependent manner through it antioxidative effect on hepatocytes. (13)
• Effect on Plasmid Puc.9.1. DNA:
In this study, plasmid DNA was exposed to chayote extracts in the presence of stannous chloride and analyzed through agarose gel electrophoresis. Results showed the chayote extract was capable of damaging the DNA in the presence and/or absence of SnCl2. The effect might be due to generation of free radicals which might have induced lesions in the DNA molecule. (14)
• Antihyperglycemic / Fruit:
Study evaluated the preventive and therapeutic potentials of fruit juice of Benincasa hispida and Sechium edule in fructose and sucrose-sweetened beverages induced impaired glucose tolerance, oxidative stress and other IGT induced metabolic disturbances in rats. Results showed consumption of raw juice from vegetables may help ameliorate sweetened-beverages induced metabolic disturbances and impart health benefits to IGT individuals. (15)
• Lowers Uric Acid:
Study of sayote leaf extracts administered to hyperuricemic-induced rabbits showed a significant decrease of at least 25% of uric acid levels. Activity was attributed to flavonoids. No signs of toxicity or deaths occurred among the tested rabbits. (16)
• Antidiabetic / Fruits:
Study evaluated the effect of S. edule fruit extracts on alloxan induced diabetes in Wistar rats. Results showed significant decrease in blood glucose level, together with improvement of lipid profile. (17)
Study evaluated the antibacterial activities of methanol extracts of ten Cameroonian vegetables against a panel of twenty nine Gram negative bacteria including MDR strains. All extracts exhibited antibacterial activities. S. edule was one of three extracts which displayed the largest spectra of activity, with inhibitory effects against all 29 Gram-negative test bacteria. S. edule was also more active than chloramphenicol on at least one of the test MDR bacteria. (18)
Study evaluated the antimicrobial properties of Sechium edule alcoholic extracts against bacteria of clinical relevance as nosocomial pathogens. Results indicate that both fluid extract and tincture have very good antimicrobial efficacy against all strains of multiresistant staphylococci and enterococci. (19)
• Antibacterial / Antifungal:
Study of various extracts of aerial parts of D. esculentum and Sechium edule and the fruits of S. muricatum showed significant antimicrobial activity against a panel of 12 medically important microorganisms. All plant extracts showed antifungal activity, with 66% and 49% of the bioassays showing fungistatic and fungicidal activity, respectively. Two yeasts, Cryptococcus neoformans and Issatchenkia orientalis were susceptible to all extracts. In the antibacterial screening assays, 49% showed bacteriostatic activity, while 21% showed bactericidal activity. (21)
• Leaves Lowering River Water Bacterial Count: Study evaluated the effectivity of Sechium edule leaves extract in lowering the bacterial count of water sample from Wawa River for household use. Results showed upstream and midstream colony count showed no significant difference while the downstream bacterial count showed significant difference, indicating a positive result for downstream colony count. (24)
• Cardioprotective / Fruits: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of fruits of Sechium edule for cardioprotective activity in rats challenged with s.c. administration of isoproterenol. Histopathology of hearts of ISO treated rats showed infiltration of inflammatory cells and muscle fiber changes suggesting of irreversible cell injury. Extract treated rats showed less degenerative changes compared to ISO-treated animals. (26)
• Antiproliferative on Tumor Cell Lines / Fruits: Study evaluated the anti-proliferative activity of crude ethanol extracts of fruits against three cancer cell lines viz., human cervical carcinoma (HeLa), mouse lung fibrosarcoma (L929), and mouse macrophage leukemia (P388). All varietal groups exhibited anti-proliferative activity against all tumour cell lines tested. (28)
• Inhibition of Lipogenesis / Stimulation of Lipolysis / Preventing of Fatty Liver / Polyphenol Extracts: Study investigated the effects and mechanisms of polyphenol extracts (SPE) of Sechium edule shoots in reducing lipid accumulation in oleic acid-treated HepG2 cells. Results showed a decrease in serum and hepatic lipid contents (e.g., triacylglycerol and cholesterol). Also, the water extracts and polyphenol extracts could decrease lipogenic relative enzymes (FAS, HMG-CoA reductase and SREBPs) via the AMPK signaling pathway, and increase the expression of CPT-1 and PPARa which are critical regulators of hepatic lipid metabolism. Study suggest potential for shoots as health food for prevention and treatment of fatty liver. (29)