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Washington, Nov 28: According to a study published in the journal Science, compound called cucurbitacins, present in cucumbers, which give them a bitter taste may possess cancer and diabetes treating properties.
Cucurbitacins also give a bitter flavor to other all wild cucurbits-the family that includes cucumber, pumpkin, melon, watermelon and squash. Researchers from the University of California traced the genes that conferred the intense bitter taste in wild cucumbers. The new research reveals how cucumber genetics can be tweaked to make the fruit more edible. (Read: 7 fruits that are good for people with diabetes)
Understanding that process might open up approaches to developing other food crops based on plants that are naturally either inedible or poor in nutrition, and could also make it much easier to produce cucurbitacins in large enough quantities to use in clinical trials and potentially in medicine. (Read: 10 health benefits of cucumber)
The fruit and leaves of wild cucurbits have been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years, as emetics and purgatives and to treat liver disease. More recently, researchers have shown that cucurbitacins could kill or suppress growth of cancer cells.
Photo source: Getty images
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