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Current Traditional Medicine


ISSN (Print): 2215-0838
ISSN (Online): 2215-0846

Review Article

Cucurbitacins: Nature’s Wonder Molecules

Author(s): Sonal H. Kanani* and Devang J. Pandya

Volume 8, Issue 3, 2022

Published on: 15 March, 2022

Article ID: e070122200086 Pages: 9

DOI: 10.2174/2215083808666220107104220

Price: $65


Over the past decades, several natural constituents belonging to different classes have been isolated from plants for medicinal purposes. Cucurbitacins is one such type of natural compound. Cucurbitacin is a class of biochemical compounds that some plants, notably members of the pumpkin and gourd family, Cucurbitaceae produce and function as a defense against herbivores. They and their derivatives have been found in many plant families (including Brassicaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Begoniaceae, Elaeocarpaceae, Datiscaceae, Desfontainiaceae, Polemoniaceae, Primulaceae, Rubiaceae, Sterculiaceae, Rosaceae, and Thymelaeaceae), in some mushrooms (including Russula and Hebeloma) and even in some marine mollusks. They have been isolated from various plant species, chiefly belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, which comprises around 130 genera and 800 species. Cucurbitacins are a group of tetracyclic triterpenoid substances that are highly oxygenated and contain a cucurbitane skeleton characterized by 9β-methyl−19-norlanosta- 5-ene. Cucurbitacins can be categorized into twelve main groups according to variations in their side-chains. Cucurbitacins A, B, C, D, E, F, I, J, K, L, O, P, Q, R, S, and their glycosides are mainly found in Cucurbitaceae family members. These plants have been used as folk medicines in some countries because of their broad spectrum of crucial pharmacological activities such as anti- inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-atherosclerotic effects. The present review explores the possibility of a correlation between the chemistry of various Cucurbitacins and the uses of the plants which contain them, thereby opening avenues for further phytochemical, ethnomedicinal, and modern pharmacological research on these important molecules.

Keywords: Luffa echinata, Trichosanthes cucumerina, Cucurbitacin, Cucurbitaceae, Triterpenoids, antidiabetic.

Graphical Abstract
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