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Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng
Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng
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Code: MCLS

+ Origin: Vietnam;
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Description:  Twining perennial with tendrils. Leaves alternate, deeply 3-5 - lobed; margins toothed; leaf-stalk glandular. Flowers unisexual, monoecious, pale-yellow, solitary in the axil of the leaves. Fruit big, oval-shaped, densely aculeate, red when ripe. Seeds round, compressed, the margins sculptured.

Flowering period:  July - October.

Distribution:  Cultivated everywhere for its edible fruit.

Parts used:  Seed membranes, kernels, roots. The ripe fruit is picked from August to February. The seed membranes are lightly dried at low temperature. An oil can be extracted from them. The seed kernels are dried in the sun or in ovens. An oil can be pressed out of the kernels. Roots are collected in winter. They are washed, then dried in the sun or in ovens.

Chemical composition:  The seed membranes contain b-carotene and lycopene. The seed kernels yield a fatty oil, the roots contain triterpenoid saponins.

Therapeutic uses:  The seed membrane is rich in b-carotene and is used in treating infantile rickets, xerophthalmia and nyctalopia. The oil extracted from the membranes is given in doses ranging from ten to twenty drops for adults and five to ten drops for children per day. The juice of kernels triturated in alcohol or vinegar is applied locally for furunculosis and phlegmon.

In cases of rheumatism the roots are prescribed in the form of a decoction in doses of 6 to 12g per day.