Caigua - Cyclanthera pedata Caigua - Cyclanthera pedata

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CAIGUA
(Cyclanthera pedata)

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CAIGUA

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  • Family: Cucurbitaceaea
    Taxon: Cyclanthera pedata (L.) Schrad.
    Synonyms: Cyclanthera pedata var edulis (Naudin) Cogn. and Momordica pedata L.
    Common names: caigua, achocha, achoccha, achojcha, caiba, caihua, caygua, concombre grimpant, korila, kaikua, lady's slipper, pepino de comer, pepino de rellenar, pepino andino, slipper gourd, stuffing cucumber, taimia de comer, taimia de cipo, wild cucumber
    Parts Used: fruit, seeds, leaves


    CAIGUA
    HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
    Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • lowers cholesterol
  • relieves pain
  • Fruit Juice
  • reduces blood pressure
  • reduces inflammation
  • Fresh: 1/4 cup twice daily
  • cleans arteries
  • aids digestion
  • Capsules: 1-2 g twice daily
  • balances blood sugar
  •    
  • increases urination
  •    

    Caigua is a slender tropical vine that is indigenous to South America. It grows up to 40 feet in length with long tendrils for climbing. The leaves are 4-5 inches wide and divided into several lobes. It produces a pale green, semi-flattened fruit resembling a cucumber that is 4-6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. Unlike a cucumber, the inside of the ripe fruit is hollow (much like a bell-pepper), with several black seeds attached to a placenta. In South America the fruits are eaten much like bell peppers - either raw or cooked (after the seeds are removed). They are also prepared as stuffed peppers; stuffed with meat, fish or cheese and then baked - earning it's name "stuffing cucumber." Caigua is currently cultivated as a food in the Carribean, Central and South America. It has been introduced into Florida where it is called "wild cucumber" and is considered a weed pest in lawns and gardens.

    There are about 30 species of Cyclanthera that are native to warm-temperate and tropical America. Caigua can stand more cold than many others and it can be found growing prolifically in mountainous valleys in South America up to 2,000 m in elevation. The plant is known in Peru by its Spanish name caigua or caihua. Its indigenous Quechua name is achocha or achoccha.

    TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

    In herbal medicine systems in Peru, a tea from the fruit seeds is used for controlling high blood pressure. The seeds are also dried and crushed and taken in 1 gram doses for intestinal parasites. The seeds and/or the fruits are also recommended for gastrointestinal disorders. The leaves of caigua are considered hypoglycemic and prepared in a decoction for diabetes. The fruits are boiled in milk and gargled for tonsilitis. The fruit juice is also recommended for high cholesterol, hypertension, tonsilitis, arteriosclerosis, circulatory problems, diabetes and as a diuretic. The fruit and/or the leaves are boiled in olive oil and used externally as a topical anti-inflammatory and analgesic. The roots are used to clean the teeth.

    PLANT CHEMICALS

    Caigua seeds contain 28-30 amino acids as well as a group of trypsin inhibitors. The leaves of the plant were recently reported to contain two new malonyl derivatives. The fruits are known to contain flavonoid glycosides including four novel ones never reported before that have shown an antioxidant effect in laboratory research. In addition, the fruits have yielded nine triterpenoid saponins, among them six new natural compounds never seen before.5 The seeds have been reported with six new cucurbitacin glycosides

    Plant chemicals reported in caigua fruit include phenols, peptin, galacturonic acid, picrin, lipoproteins, flavonoids, glycosides, mucilage, alkaloids, lipids, tannins, terpenes, resins, carbohydrates, sterols, scoparin, vitamins, vitexin, and minerals.

    BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

    Research conducted in Peru has reported that caigua can lower cholesterol levels in humans. A double-blind placebo study with 60 patients over one year reported that 82% of the patients lowered their LDL cholesterol by an average of 18.3% by reducing HDL by 23% and raising HDL-levels by 42%. Patients were given either a placebo, or 4 or 6 300 mg capsules daily of dehydrated fruit juice. Another study with 29 patients reported similar results in 10 days with total cholesterol dropping by 21.1% (HDL decreased by 63.55% and triglycerides by 36.37%). These subjects were given 100 cc daily of fruit juice (the equivalent of about 6 fresh fruits). Another study with 17 patients reported an average drop in cholesterol of 21.51% after 21 days taking two (300 mg dehydrated fruit juice) capsules daily (LDL decreased by 22.57% and triglycerides by 16.33%). In a 12-week study with postmenopausal women taking 6 (300 mg) capsules of caigua dehydrated fruit juice, they reported women lowered LDL cholesterol by 33% and increased HDL by 33%. There were no drug interactions, contraindications or side effects reported in any of the studies.

    CURRENT PRACTICAL USES

    Caigua products have been gaining in popularity and availability in the U.S. natural products market over the last several years. Most are marketing these supplements as a cholesterol management aid, for hypertension, and blood-sugar regulation. Most of the available products in the United States are tablets or capsules of the dried or freeze-dried fruit juice.



    CAIGUA PLANT SUMMARY
    Main Preparation Method: fresh juice or juice capsules/tablets

    Main Actions (in order):
    anticholesterolemic, hypotensive, antidiabetic, diuretic, analgesic

    Main Uses:

    1. for high cholesterol
    2. for hypertension and circulatory problems
    3. for diabetes
    4. for gastrointestinal problems
    5. as a topical analgesic
    Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
    anticholesterolemic, antihypertriglyceridemic

    Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
    analgesic, anti-arteriosclerotic, anti-inflammatory, anticholesterolemic, antidiabetic, antiparasitic, diuretic, hypotensive

    Cautions: None reported.



    Traditional Preparation: In Peru, the fresh fruits are typically put into a blender and juiced. The juice is taken in 1/4 to 1/2 cup amounts twice daily. The fruits are also simply eaten as a vegetable, either fresh or cooked. For manufactured juice powder products in capsules or tablets, follow the label instructions.

    Contraindications: None known.

    Drug Interactions: None known.


    WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
    Peru as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, diuretic and hypoglycemic; for arteriosclerosis, circulatory problems, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, intestinal parasites, and tonsilitis



    The above text has been authored by Leslie Taylor, ND and copyrighted © 2006. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.

    † The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




    Published Third-Party Research on Caigua


    All available third-party research on caigua can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on caigua is shown below:

    Cholesterol-Lowering Actions:
    Anon. "Curso Las Plantas Medicinales Y La Salud Humana Fito 2005 - Lima." Instituto de Fitoterapia Americano. 22-29 of October, 2005. Lima Peru.
    Gonez, C., et al. "Efectos de la Caigua (Cyclantera pedata) sobre el perfil lipídico en adultos." Instituto de Investigación de Altura. UPCH. Rev. Per. Endocr. Metab. 1997; (3): 30 – 35.
    Quiñones, Motta R., "Efecto Hipocolesterolemico de Cyclantera pedata (Caigua). Trabajo para optar Titulo Qui. Far. UNMSM. 1993. page. 260.
    Gavez, Meija., et al. "Efectos terapéuticos de Cyclanthera pedata ("caigua") deshidratada a dosis bajas y unitomas en pacientes hiperlipidémicos." Segundo Simposium Internacional de Plantas Medicinales y Fitoterapia, 05-08 of August, 2004, page. 23
    Gonzales, G. F., et al. "Serum lipid and lipoprotein levels in postmenopausal women: short-course effect of caigua. Menopause. 1995; 2(4): 225-234.

    Antioxidant Actions:
    Ranilla, L., et al. "Phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity and in vitro inhibitory potential against key enzymes relevant for hyperglycemia and hypertension of commonly used medicinal plants, herbs and spices in Latin America." Bioresour Technol. 2010 Jun;101(12):4676-89.

    Anti-diabetic & Anti-hypertension Actions:
    Ranilla, L., et al. "Phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity and in vitro inhibitory potential against key enzymes relevant for hyperglycemia and hypertension of commonly used medicinal plants, herbs and spices in Latin America." Bioresour Technol. 2010 Jun;101(12):4676-89.

    Chemicals Identified:
    Kowalska, J., et al. "Isolation and primary structures of seven serine proteinase inhibitors from Cyclanthera pedata seeds." Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 2006; 1760(7):1054-63.
    Montoro, P., et al. "Flavonoids from the leaves of Cyclanthera pedata: two new malonyl derivatives." Phytochem. Anal. 2005 May-Jun; 16(3): 210-6.
    Carbone, V., et al. "Analysis of flavonoids from Cyclanthera pedata fruits by liquid chromatography/electrospray mass spectrometry." J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 2004; 34(2): 295-304.
    Montoro, P., et al. "Studies on the constituents of Cyclanthera pedata fruits: isolation and structure elucidation of new flavonoid glycosides and their antioxidant activity." J. Agric. Food Chem. 2001; 49(11): 5156-60.
    De Tommasi, N., et al. "Studies on the constituents of Cyclanthera pedata fruits: isolation and structure elucidation of new triterpenoid saponins. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1999; 47(11): 4512-9.
    De Tommasi, N., et al. Studies on the constituents of Cyclanthera pedata (caigua) seeds: isolation and characterization of six new Cucurbitacin glycosides." J. Agr. Food Chem. 1996; 44(8): 2020-2025.





    REFERENCED QUOTES ON CAIGUA

    10. "Cyclanthera pedata (L.) Schrad. Cucurbitaceae. "Caigua". Cultivated. Fruit edible. It has various medicinal usages. The tea of the seeds is well known for controlling high blood pressure (RVM). De Feo suggests that the decoction of the epicarps is also antidiabetic (FEO).




    * The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




    © Copyrighted 1996 to present by Leslie Taylor, Milam County, TX 77857.
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    Last updated 12-28-2012