Bitter Cucumber

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Citrullus colocynthis, also known as bitter cucumber, is a fruit-bearing plant. Low doses of its seeds and fruit can reduce blood glucose levels. Higher doses are associated with side-effects like colonic inflammation and rectal bleeding.

Bitter Cucumber is most often used for

Summary

Citrullus colocynthis, also known as bitter cucumber, is a fruit-bearing plant sometimes used medicinally.

Citrullus colocynthis is used to treat diabetes, since it may be able to induce insulin secretion from the pancreas after supplementation, while reducing blood glucose and improving lipid levels.

Preliminary evidence suggests a topical application of Citrullus colocynthis may stimulate hair growth, with an effect comparable to finasteride, a male pattern baldness drug. More evidence is needed to confirm this effect.

Even low doses (100mg, taken three times) of Citrullus colocynthis can cause diarrhea, while higher doses (1,500 mg) can cause colonic inflammation and rectal bleeding. These side-effects stop once supplementation is ceased.

Since the bioactive compounds in Citrullus colocynthis are still unknown, and even low-dose supplementation is associated with intestinal side-effects, Citrullus colocynthis is not recommended for oral supplementation.

What else is Bitter Cucumber known as?
Note that Bitter Cucumber is also known as:
  • Bitter Apple
  • Desert Gourd
  • Bitter Cucumber
  • Citrus Colocynthis
Bitter Cucumber should not be confused with:
  • Bitter Gourd/Melon/Squash (Momordica charantia)
Dosage information

Limited human evidence suggests that 100mg of the seed or dry pulp extract, taken three times a day for a total daily dose of 300mg, is associated with reducing blood glucose and improving lipid levels.

The traditional ‘recommended’ dose for Citrullus colocynthis is 300-800mg. This dosage range is associated with severe intestinal inflammation.

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      References
      7.^Sebbagh N, Cruciani-Guglielmacci C, Ouali F, Berthault MF, Rouch C, Sari DC, Magnan CComparative effects of Citrullus colocynthis, sunflower and olive oil-enriched diet in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in ratsDiabetes Metab.(2009 Jun)
      8.^Ayyad SE, Abdel-Lateff A, Alarif WM, Patacchioli FR, Badria FA, Ezmirly STIn vitro and in vivo study of cucurbitacins-type triterpene glucoside from Citrullus colocynthis growing in Saudi Arabia against hepatocellular carcinomaEnviron Toxicol Pharmacol.(2012 Mar)
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