Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) – Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Watermelon is well known coolant nutritional and healing fruit. It hydrates the body, cleanses and eliminates impurities. It is beneficial in relieving inflammation, fatigue, excess thirst, oedema, kidney infections, scanty, painful urination, bladder infection etc. It is a good diuretic fruit.

Introduction

Botanical Name – Citrullus lanatus
Synonyms – Citrullus amarus, Citrullus vulgaris
Family – Curcurbitaceae

Medicinal Qualities


Reference – Bhojanakutoohalam

Taste – Sweet
Virya (potency) – cold (shitha)
Vrishya – aphrodisiac
Santharpano – nourishes all tissues (dhatu)
Balya – improves strength
Veerya vivardhana – increases virility
Pushti vivardhana – increases nutrition

Traditional Uses
Daha – relieves burning sensation
Shrmapaha – relieves fatigue

Effect of watermelon on Tridoshas
Balances pitta dosha.

Seeds of Watermelon

  • Seeds of watermelon are coolant, diuretic and nutritive in nature.
  • Seeds yield yellow colour oil. Seed oil contains glycerides of linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic and stearic acids.
  • They are rich source of enzyme urease.
  • Used to relieve symptoms of acute inflammation of urinary bladder.
  • Seeds are used as snacks. They are dried, roasted or ground into flour.
    (read)

Flowers of Watermelon
Flowers are diuretic and coolant.

According to Bhavaprakasha NighantuQualities of Watermelon

Unripe Watermelon
Virya (potency) – cold (shithala)
Guru – heavy for digestion
Grahi – absorbent

Unripe Watermelon is Not Good for
Vision (druk)
Decreases quality of sperm and semen (shukrarth)
Decreases pitta dosha

Ripe Watermelon
Hot in potency (virya) and alkali (kshara) in nature.
Effect on Tridoshas
Balances Kapha and Vata dosha.
Increases pitta dosha.

Culinary use Watermelon Rind
The rind is used to make pickles and eaten as vegetable, candied fruit, stir-fried, stewed or grilled. (read)

Folklore Remedies

  • Root juice is used as remedy to stop bleeding after abortion.
  • Watermelon juice is used as antiseptic in typhus fever.
  • Juice of watermelon with added sugar and cumin is the best coolant drink. It is a good remedy in painful, difficult urination, urinary tract infection, gonorrhoea, liver congestion and inflammation.
  • Ash of dried rind of watermelon is applied on aphthous mouth ulcers.
  • In some places, its pericarp is used in diarrhoea.

Parts used
Fruit, Seeds, Flowers, Root

Sanskrit synonyms
Kaalinda, krishnabija,
Kalinga, Suvartula

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Constituents of Watermelon

  • Watermelon fruit contains carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, steroids, glycosides, tannins, polyphenols and carotenoids including lycopene.
  • Watermelon is a source of vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, folate and calcium. It is fat and cholesterol free hence considered as low caloric fruit. It is a rich source of ß-carotene.
  • Rind, fruit pulp and seeds contains citrulline, a non-essential amino acid which is converted to L-arginine when eaten. It has beneficial effects on heart, dilating the blood vessels and improving blood flow.
  • Skin contain fixed oil, arachidic acid and traces of copper

Pharmacological Activities


Study shows that watermelon possess Antioxidant, anti diabetic, antimicrobial, anti-hypertensive, mosquitocidal, repellent, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, radioprotective, anti-ulcer and laxative properties. (A)

Side effects of eating Watermelon
Watermelon can cause side effects if taken in excess. Few possible side effects are –
1. Gastric ailments, weak digestion strength. As per Ayurveda, watermelon increases Kapha Dosha. Taking it in very large quantities can cause weak digestion.
2. Not recommended in diabetes, gestational diabetes and low blood pressure
4. In some people consuming watermelon can cause Allergic reactions. This is for those people who are naturally allergic to watermelons.
5. In excess, it may cause

Names, Morphology, distribution

Names in Different Languages
English Name – Watermelon
Hindi Name – Tarbuja, Tarbuja
Bengali Name – Tarmuja
Marathi Name – Kalingada
Gujarati Name – Tadbuja
Tamil Name – Komati
Telugu Name – Panchkaya, Tarbhuja
Pujabi Name – Tarabuuja

Morphology
It is a trailing annual with the stems up to 3 m long and have branched tendrils at each node.  Leaves are ovate to obovate, 8-20 cm long, deeply pinnate and rough to touch. Flowers are small, yellow in colour. Fruit round to oblong, colour range from yellow, light green to dark. Seeds are many, black, white or brown, flattened, embedded in edible pulp.

Distribution
It is native to Kalahari desert of Africa. It is cultivated in tropical regions of the world.

Research, chemical composition


Hypogylcemic Effect – A study conducted to evaluate hypoglycemic effect of ethanolic seed extracts of Citrullus lanatus has concluded that ethanolic seed extract of Citrullus lanatus controls the blood glucose level and helps to maintain the antioxidant level in various organs and prevents the organs from oxidative damage.
SpermatogenesisA study conducted to evaluate the effects of watermelon seed extract on spermatogenesis in rat have concluded that it significantly increases sperm count, motility and viability and beneficial in infertility.
Analgesic Activity – A research study was conducted to evaluate analgesic activity of aqueous extract of Citrullus lanatus peels. The result showed that aqueous extract of Citrullus lanatus peels has good analgesic potential and may be adopted as alternative to conventional NSAIDS.
Mosquitocidal and Repellent activity – A study conducted to evaluate mosquitocidal and repellent activity of the leaf extract of Citrullus vulgaris against the malarial vector, Anopheles stephensi liston (diptera culicidae) have shown that Citrullus vulgaris plant extract have significant insect growth regulatory activity against Anopheles stephensi.
Anti Diabetic Activity – A research done on Anti-diabetic effect of Watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris Schrad) on Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Mice have proved its beneficial effect on diabetes.
Anti diarrhoea ActivityA study was conducted to evaluate anti-diarrhoea activity of watermelon seed in Albino rats. The result showed that Citrullus lanatus may have anti-diarrhoea potential.

Chemical Constituents of Citrullus vulgaris
Pentadecanoic acid, monopentadecanoin, 2, 3-dihydroxypropyl nonadecoate, lignoceric acid-2, 3-dihydroxy-propanenyl ester, lancerebroside 5, salicylic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, hydroquinone, succinic acid and vanillic acid.(B)

Scientific Classification
Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Magnoliophyta
Class – Magnoliopsida
Order – Cucurbitales
Family – Cucurbitaceae
Genus – Citrullus
Species – C. lanatus
Latin name – Citrullus lanatus

Watermelon, raw

Taste – sweet
Properties – light
Potency – cold
After digestion taste transformation (Vipaka)  – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata neutral
Pitta balancing
Kapha neutral

Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried

Rasa – mild sweet
Guna – heavy (as it is dried)
Veerya – cold (may be hard to digest)
Vipaka – sweet
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing (contains magnesium, which can cure migraine, muscle cramps, strengthens bones)
Pitta balancing (contains iron which is Pitta balancing)
Kapha increasing (strnegthen simmune system, improves male fertility)

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