Photo © Dan Skean,
1985, Albion College Plant Image Database.
Authors: Lana Dvorkin PharmD, Julia
*Also referred to as Lagenaria Siceraria.
Information on calabash will be found
under Lagenaria and Cucurbitaceae
family. However, Lagenaria is a smaller
gourd that grows on a vine while Crescentia
Cujete grows on a tree. As far as
the authors can determine, Crescentia
Cujete is the correct botanical name
of this plant belonging to the Bignonia
|Tree with large fruits up
to 10" in diameter, simple, lobe
shaped leaves, and gourd like fruits.
Flowers develop from buds that grow
out of the main trunk and limbs. Small
bats pollinate the flowers. Since scores
of large fruits can grow on one tree,
it is probably not a good idea to sleep
under this tree when it is bearing fruit!
Many people use the dried shell of the
fruit to make bowls and food storage
containers. Some of these are highly
decorated with paintings and carvings
in many intricate patterns. (See links
for images of these creations.)
headache, toothache, ear ache, asthma,
boils, burns, cough, fever, laxative,
litholytic, menstrual irregularity,
prostate disorders. Used in Haiti and
St Lucia for inflammation, trauma, diarrhea.
Juice is used in Mexico for prevention
of diarrhea. Costa Rica used as a purgative.
Venezuela used to treat tumors. Used
as analgesic, anti-inflammatory to treat
trauma throughout the Caribbean. In
the Dominican Republic and Venezuela
used to treat hematomas.
|Native to Caribbean region,
Mexico and Central America. Cultivated
in the American tropics.
|Tartaric acid, cianhidric
acid, citric acid, crescentic acid.
Tannins, Beta-sitosterol, Estigmasterol,
Alph and Beta amirina, estearic acid,
triacontanol, Palmitic Acid, Flavonoids-quercetin,
apigenin. Flavonoids produce anti-inflammatory
activity, antihemorraghic and anti platelet
aggregation and inhibit the metabolism
of araquidonic acid.
|Proven Scientific Evidence
|Some anti-arrhythmic activity,
chronotropic and antiviral Anti-herpes,
antioxidant, capillary protective, prevents
plaque aggregation. Hypotensive Some
antibacterial activity against Bacillus
subtilis and Staphyllococus aureus Inhibits
in vitro Salmonella typhi, Streptococcus
pneumonia. For more information see
Hacia una Farmacopea Caribeña
|Must be carefully determined
due to toxicity. In animal studies a
dose equal to or greater than 1,200
mg/kg of an 80% ethanol extract produced
anti-inflammatory action superior to
a prescription drug.
|Fruit pulp has carcinogenic
activity inducing possible neoplasms
related to leukemia and lymphoma. Can
also produce severe diarrhea. The juice
and infusion are considered safe if
|Botanicas and fruit markets
1. Germosén-Robineau L, Enda-Caribe,
Universidad de Antioquía. Hacia
Una Farmacopea Caribeña : Investigacion
Cientifica y Uso Popular De Plantas
Medicinales En El Caribe. Santo Domingo;
Enda-Caribo: Republica Dominicana;
UAG & Universidad de Antioquia;
2. Armstrong WP. The wild and wonderful
world of gourds. Available at: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0503.htm.
Accessed 11/26/04, 2004.
3. Plants database. Available at:
Accessed 2/16, 2004.
4. Morton J, F. Atlas of Medicinal
Plants of Middle America : Bahamas
to Yucatan. Springfield IL: Charles
C. Thomas; 1981.
5. Melendez EN. Plantas Medicinales
De Puerto Rico. Vol 1. 1st ed. Rio
Pedras, PR: Editorial de la Universidad
de Puerto Rico; 1982.