Momordica balsamina L.: An unexploited vegetable crop rich in medicinal and nutritional properties
Keywords:Momordica balsamina, medicinal, phytochemical, phytotherapeutic
African pumpkin (Momordica balsamina L.) is a tendrilled, wild-type vine plant with a wide range of therapeutic and nutritional properties that has been used as a conventional medicament in many countries. Alkaloids, resins, glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, cardiac glycoside, steroids and terpenes are found in the plant's fruits, seeds, leaves and bark, and they have varied medicinal properties viz., anti-bacterial, anti-diarrheal, anti-plasmodial, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, analgesic, and hepatoprotective activities. 'Momordin,' a therapeutic agent, can stop HIV and other viruses from multiplying. The leaves are also a good source of nutrients because they contain 17 amino acids and minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, zinc, manganese, and iron. It also aids in the fight against soil micronutrient deficiencies and high protein and fat content with low fibre content. High potassium content is an excellent source for controlling hypertension and other cardiovascular disorders. This plant may be a protein supplement for poor rural people's cereal-based diets. The medicinal and nutritional value of this wild herb for health care management is discussed in this review.
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