Citrullus colocynthis (Bitter apple)
Bitter apple health benefits
Citrullus colocynthis, also known as colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, desert gourd, egusi, or vine of Sodom , is a plant that grows in tropical areas of the globe, but that can also be found in other places as in the desert areas of Sindh and Punjab province of Pakistan , or in the south, center, and east areas of Iran, where it is recognized by different pharmacologic activities, as i.e. its purgative, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, analgesic, hair growth-promoting, abortifacient and antiepileptic properties, being some of them confirmed in modern phytotherapy .
Not as known as its brother specie, Citrullus lanatus or water melon, Citrullus colocynthis also shares certain analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties observed in lanatus specie . Image left: Coloquintes by Frédérique PANASSAC under Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Common name: Colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, desert gourd, egusi, or vine of Sodom .
Citrullus lanatus, citrullus colocynthis and citrullus vulgaris are all from the curcubitaceae family.
TRADITIONAL MEDICINAL USES
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND ANALGESIC PROPERTIES OF CITRULLUS COLOCYNTHIS
The medicinal properties of Citrullus colocynthis are well known. Studies on Citrullus colocynthis anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities  suggest that Citrullus colocynthis Schrad(Cucurbitaceae), an herb which is endemic of Tunisia, can be used to treat certain inflammation disorders. In the referenced study theimmature fruit and seed extracts exerted important anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity.
It is believed that Citrullus colocynthis has been part of traditional herbal remedies used in Tunisia and part of their traditionally used healing herbs, as well as other herbs as Milk thistle, another healing herb from the Asteraceae familly that was traditionally used to treat liver problems (this was only one of the many benefits of milk thistle).
CITRULLUS COLOCYNTHIS FOR ANDROGENIC ALOPECIA
The medicinal properties of Citrullus colocynthis used to tread Androgenic alopecia  were also part of a study performed in early July 2011. In the referenced study, Citrullus colocynthis Schrad fruit was evaluated for its hair growth-promoting activity. The study performed in mice exhibited promising hair growth-promoting activity and increased the number of hair follicles, increasing follicle density.
ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTICANDIDAL PROPERTIES OF CITRULLUS COLOCYNTHIS
Other uses of Citrullus colocynthis include its use in folk medicine against dermatological, gynaecological and pulmonary infections , being effective against strains of gram-positive and gram-negative bacterias as those of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis, Candida glabrata, Candida albicans, Candida parapsilosis and Candida kreusei.
In some cases Citrullus colocynthis was used profiting the medicinal value of Aloe vera, being used in combination with that one.
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Side Effects and Precautions
See disclaimer below. Adverse effects such as: Colic, diarrhea, hematochezia, nephrosis, and vomiting and narrow therapeutic index cause herbalists to use this plant cautiously .
Additionally, at least three cases of toxic acute colitis which occurred after ingestion of colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis) for ritual purposes have been reported .
 Pakistan journal of scientific and industrial research: Volume 36, Issues 8-12
 Screening of analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of Citrullus colocynthis from southern Tunisia.
Marzouk B, Marzouk Z, Haloui E, Fenina N, Bouraoui A, Aouni M.
Laboratoire des Maladies Transmissibles et Substances Biologiquement Actives, Faculté de Pharmacie, Monastir, Rue AVICENNE, 5000 Monastir, Tunisia.
 Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of Tunisian Citrullus colocynthis Schrad. immature fruit and seed organic extracts.
Marzouk B, Marzouk Z, Fenina N, Bouraoui A, Aouni M.
Laboratoire des Maladies Transmissibles et Substances Biologiquement Actives, Faculth de Pharmacie, Monastir, Rue Avicenne 5000 Monastir, Tunisie.
 Effect of Citrullus colocynthis Schrad fruits on testosterone-induced alopecia.
Dhanotia R, Chauhan NS, Saraf DK, Dixit VK.
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr H.S. Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar, India.
[5,9] Wikipedia article on Citrullus collocynthis.
 Antibacterial and anticandidal screening of Tunisian Citrullus colocynthis Schrad. from Medenine.
Marzouk B, Marzouk Z, Décor R, Edziri H, Haloui E, Fenina N, Aouni M.
Laboratoire des Maladies Transmissibles et Substances Biologiquement Actives, Faculté de Pharmacie, Monastir, 5000 Monastir, Tunisia.
 Plant names http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au
 A Review on Citrullus colocynthis Schrad.: From Traditional Iranian Medicine to Modern Phytotherapy.
Rahimi R, Amin G, Ardekani MR.
1 Department of Traditional Pharmacy, Faculty of Traditional Iranian Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences , Tehran, Iran.
 Wikipedia article on Citrullus colocynthis
 Peculiar acute toxic colitis after ingestion of colocynth: a clinicopathological study of three cases.
Goldfain D, Lavergne A, Galian A, Chauveinc L, Prudhomme F.
Service de Gastroentérologie, Hôpital Victor Jousselin, Dreux, France.
- Tags: ABORTIFACIENT, ALHANDAL, ANALGESIC, ANDROGENIC ALOPECIA, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, ANTIDIABETIC, ANTIEPILEPTIC, BITTER APPLE, BITTER CUCUMBER, BITTERAPPEL, BITTERZITRULLE, CANDIDA ALBICANS, CANDIDA GLABRATA, CANDIDA PARAPSILOSIS AND CANDIDA KREUSEI, CITRULLUS COLOCYNTHIS, CITRULLUS COLOCYNTHIS (BITTER APPLE), CITRULLUS COLOCYNTHIS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND ANALGESIC ACTIVITIES, CITRULLUS LANATUS, CITRULLUS VULGARIS, COCOMERO AMARO, COLOCYNTH, COLOCYNTHIS 200, COLOCYNTHIS 30, COLOCYNTHIS 30C, COLOCYNTHIS 6C, COLOCYNTHIS COLIC, COLOCYNTHIS CRYSTALS, COLOCYNTHIS FOR BABIES, COLOCYNTHIS GRANULES, COLOCYNTHIS HOMEOPATHIC, COLOCYNTHIS HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY, COLOCYNTHIS HOMEOPATHY, COLOCYNTHIS MATERIA MEDICA, COLOCYNTHIS SCIATICA, COLOCYNTHIS SIDE EFFECTS, COLOCYNTHIS VULGARIS, COLOCYNTHIS VULGARIS DICTIONARY, COLOQUÍNTA, COLOQUÍNTIDA (PORTUGAL), CUCUMIS COLOCYNTHIS, DANISH: KOLOKVINT, DUTCH: KOLOKWINT, EGUSI, ENGLISH: WILD GOURD, ESCHERICHIA COLI, FRENCH: COLOQUINTE, GERMAN: KOLOQUINTE, GREEK: KOLOKUNTHIS, HAIR GROWTH-PROMOTING, HEBREW: אֲבַטִּיחַ הַפַּקּוּעָה, HERBA, HERBAL COLOCYNTHIS, HERBALISM, HERBS ONLINE, HINDI: INDRAYAN, HINDUWĀNA, INDIAN HERBS, ITALIAN: COLOQUINTIDE, KOLOKWINTAPPEL, KWINTAPPEL, MEDICAL HERBS, MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF CITRULLUS COLOCYNTHIS, NEPALESE: INDRENII, OR VINE OF SODOM, PERSIAN: هندوانه, PORTUGUESE: COLOCÍNTIDA (BRAZIL), PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA, PURGATIVE, SPANISH: COLOQUÍNTIDA, STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS AND ENTEROCOCCUS FAECALIS, TAMIL: கொம்மட்டி KOMMAṭṭI, TUERA, TUMBA, VINE OF SODOM, WELEDA COLOCYNTHIS, אבטיח הפקועה, பலம் PALAM