Trihozant (lat. Trichosanthes) – a genus of grassy vines of the family Pumpkin (Cucurbitaceae), growing in a tropical and subtropical climate.
Stems, antennae and leaves of almost all types are eaten by the local population as green vegetables. There are about 40 different species in the genus, of which the Trihozant dioecious (Latin Trichosanthes dioica) or the spiky pumpkin, which is a popular vegetable in India, as well as the Trihozant Kirillova (Latin Trichosanthes kirillowii), which is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine, are well known.
Dioecious trihozant – annual grassy vine reaches 5-7 meters in length, the plant rises up, clinging to its antennae. It has large, up to 25 cm long, palm-lobed alternate leaves on a long petiole.
Fragrant flowers are endowed with five white petals, the edges of each petal are dissected into long threads. Flowers are nocturnal; they open only after sunset.
Fruits – cylindrical, narrow, up to 10 cm in diameter, can reach 2 meters in length. As they ripen, the fruits change color from pale green to orange red, and their thin skin gradually hardens. In the natural nature, the fruits of the plant, reaching an impressive length, begin to curiously bend. In cultural cultivation, a weighting agent is tied to the end of the fruit so that the fruit grows straight and even. On one vine per year, from 5 to 10 fruits ripen. Each fruit contains up to 10 seeds.
The trihosant is dioecious from the hot Indian tropics. The plant grows best at altitudes of up to 1,500 meters above sea level, in areas with annual temperature fluctuations from + 22 ° C to + 35 ° C. In the wild, the plant can be found in South and Southeast Asia, including India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Sri Lanka, in the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi. The dioecious trihosant is naturalized in Africa, on some islands in the Pacific Ocean, northern Australia, and the US state of Florida.
Medicinal raw materials are leaves, stems, peel, roots and seeds of dioecious trihosant. Leaves are harvested from the beginning of summer to mid-autumn. They are cut and dried in the shade under a canopy or in a well-ventilated area. The stems are cut after harvesting, which ends in October. They are dried in the same way as leaves, but previously cut into pieces no longer than 20-30 cm and folded into skeins. The fruits ripen all fall. The peel is dried and ground into powder or used fresh. An alcohol extract is extracted from the seeds. The roots are dug up after all the fruits have been removed from the plant. They are dug up, cleaned of dirt and dried, cut into pieces.
Preliminary phytochemical studies of leaves, stems, peels and seed extracts revealed the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, lingins, tannins, saponins and quinones, as well as amino acids such as glutamine and aspartic, arginine, lysine and alanine. Flavonoids were found only in the leaves and stems of the plant. Fatty acids were found in the seeds.
The medicinal properties of the plant have not been studied enough, but the chemical composition of the Trihosant dioecious allows us to confidently say that the plant is able to act as a diuretic, has astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antipyretic properties. Studies on pharmacological activity have shown that root tubers and dioecious trihosant seeds have antidiabetic potential.
During the experiments, it was proved that the plant seed extract provides significant protection against damage to the stomach induced by ethanol or indomethacin. It increases the protective layer of mucus, reduces the acidity of the gastric juice and antihistamine activity.
The dioecious trihosant is used in folk medicine. Fresh raw fruits are useful for diarrhea, disorders of the gastrointestinal system, they cleanse the circulatory system, stimulate blood formation and help maintain immunity. Freshly squeezed juice from the leaves of the plant is an emetic and anthelmintic. Decoctions from the leaves and / or stems of the plant are used orally as an antipyretic and choleretic agent, externally – for the treatment of skin diseases, healing of wounds and ulcers. Seed extracts are recommended for gastritis and dermatitis. Decoctions of the roots are used for bronchitis, headaches and furunculosis.
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