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indravaruni - Cucumis trigonus Roxb.

indravaruni :

Cucumis trigonus Cucumis trigonus Roxb. (Fam. Cucurbitaceae) commonly known as “Thummittikai” in Tamil, and “Vishala” in Sanskrit is reported to possess a number of medicinal values. In Indian Traditional Systems of Medicine the fruit pulp of the plant is used as expectorant, liver tonic, stomachic and purgative


The Caraka Samhita quotes it among virechana dravya, mulini dravya and tikta varga. Susrutha Samhita refers the drug under Adhobhagahara, Urdhwabegahara and Shyamedi group of drugs. Vaghbata Acharya also referred about its vamana and virechana properties. 

Later at the period of nighantus, further knowledge of the drug like its synonyms, pharmacological properties and uses were unleashed. In most nighantus, the drug have been said to be useful in kamala, udara, pleeha, etc. highlighting its virechana property. There is also stress on the vishahara property of the drug and the "vishaharatwa" is called as the visishta karma of the drug. 

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: Cucumis trigonus

Allied species:

Colocynthis vulgaris
Colocynthis cucomis.


Sanskrit: bahuphalla, chitra, chitraphala, chitravalli, devi, garakshivriksha, godumba, indravaruni, kapilakshi, katphala, kumbhasi, laghuchirbhitta, maruja, mrigachirbhitta, mrigadani, mrigakshi, mrigervaru, mrigeshana, pathya, schvetapushpa, vichitra, vishala
English: bitter gourd , Kachri
Hindi: Jangal Indryan, Bislambi
Telugu: Adavi pucha
Bengali: Gomuk
Marathi: Shenni, Shendhad
Konkani: Karit
Tamil: Kattummati
Malayalam: Kattuvellari, certutu pekkummatti
Kannada: Halmekki, Mekki bali ,Karanti
Assamese: Jangli Indrayan, Ghimaru


In Dhanvantari Nighantu, 3 varieties are mentioned; Indravaruni – Citrullus colocynthis Linn. Vishala – Trichosanthes palmata Roxb. Svetapushpi – Cucumis trigonus Roxb.
But some other nighantus like Bhavaprakasha, Raja and Saligrama nighantu mentions two varieties namely Indravaruni and Mahendravaruni. The drug is also mentioned in Sadak, Kaiyadeva, and Madanapala nighantu. The drug have been quoted in Amarakosam also.

Mentions / Gana



Indravarunika tilts katucha sita ca svedini
Gulmapittodara shleshmakrimikushtajvaraapaha
       Raja Nighantu 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: indravaruni, vishala

Aindri - it is the favourite of Lord Indra.
Alabu - that which does not sink in water.
Chitra/Chitraphala - its fruit possess peculiar colours.
Gavadani - this plant is mainly eaten by cattle.
Gavakshi - which spreads well on the ground or which resembles cows eye.
Godumba - which spreads well on the ground.
Hemapuspi - those wiht white flowers.
Ikshwaka - its bitter taste destroys even the sweetness of sugarcane.
Indravaruni - it is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Indra.
Thumbi - which destroys all the diseases.
Vishala - it specifically spreads all over the body to cure jaundice etc.
Vishapaha - those which destroys poison.

Rasa: Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphahara Pittahara

The plant is reported to possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic activity which 
was attributed to a glycoside fraction contained in the alcoholic extract of this plants.


Though the seed propagation is easy, fast and reliable, the successful seed
germination depends on numerous internal and external factors. Seeds are the
principle means of regeneration and propagation of cucurbits however; the
seeds are poorly viable and undergo dormancy (Mulimani, 2007)


cucumis rely on insects especially honeybees for pollination.; 


Linoleic acid,lectin,cephalin and cerebroside
Plant contains Alnusenone and alnusenol, fruits contains cucurbitacine D and E, 
steroids, seeds contain fatty oil. The ethanolic extract of this plant showed the presence 
of alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, steroids. Terpenoids, resin and glycosides
(Deshpande, 2007; Ulubelen, 1976).


Important formulations 
1. Narayana churna
2. Madhuyashtyadi taila
3. Mrtasanjivini arista 

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Fruit, Root, Seed, ,


0.125 – 0.5 g. of powder.
0.25 – 0.5 g. of powder .


Some consider INDRAVARUNI as Citrullus colocynthis Schrad.

Commercial value:

Cucumis trigonus Roxb., is a drought underexploited vegetable growing abundantly during rainy season in arid and semiarid regions throughout India and having edible and medicinal potential 


Annual, herbaceous creeping herb  Leaves sub orbicular, 3-6cm across, scabrous, 5-7 shallowly lobed, margin dentate or lobulate, hispid; petioles 2-5 cm long slender, hispid . Stem slender, scabrous. Flowers are small, yellow, solitary or rarely in pairs or threes. Male flowers in fascicle; peduncles 5-10 mm long. Calyx tube campanulate, 2-3 mm long, teeth subulate, corolla yellow, 2-7 mm long, lobes ovate oblong, acute. Anthers 1.5 mm long; appendage of the connective shorter than the anthers; pistillode 1 mm long.
Female flowers are solitary, peduncles 2-3 cm long, densely hairy .Fruits pepo, oval-round, sometimes obscurely trigonus, variable in size smooth and glabrous, 4 x 2.5 cm, longitudinally variegated with 10 green strips ,Pale yellow or red when ripe (Plate: I-g-J). Seeds ovate–oblong, compressed smooth, pale yellow 

Geographical distribution:

to India found in and upper gangetic plain, and the latter on the lower range of western 
Himalayas. Also found in areas of Ceylon, Afghanistan, Persia, and North Australia
(Kiritikar and Basu, 1999).


Cucumis trigonus commonly found in cultivated fields or on waste lands

General Use:

In Indian traditional systems of  medicine the fruit pulp of the plant is used as expectorant, 
liver tonic, stomachic and purgative. The fruit pulp is useful in leprosy, jaundice, diabetes, bronchitis and amentia
. Fruit pounded and boiled with cow’s milk and applied to the head is supposed to prevent insanity, strengthen the memory and remove vertigo. The drug is also used in snake bite.

Therapeutic Uses:

The green fruits, slightly sour; stomachic; cures “Kapha” and 
biliousness; increases “Vata”. The dried fruit is indigestible; astringents to the bowels; 
improves taste; cures “Kapha’ and biliousness (Ayurveda).the pulp of the fruits is very 
bitter and is a drastic purgative

Systemic Use:

The fruits are used in flatulence, leprosy, fever, jaundice, 
diabetes, cough, bronchitis, ascites, anaemia, constipation, other abdominal disorders and amentia. 


A decoction of the roots is preferred as being milder in 
its operation and causing less irritation. The seeds are cooling and astringents, and 
useful in bilious disorders


fruit pulp is bitter, acrid, thermogenic, 
anthelmintic, liver tonic, cardio tonic, appetizer, expectorant and intellect promoting 
(Kirtikar and Basu, 1999).

Clinical trials:


Cardioprotective Effect of Cucumis trigonus Roxb on Isoproterenol-Induced Myocardial Infarction in Rat by B.S. Thippeswam, S.P. Thakker,S. Tubachi,G.A. Kalyani


1. Hepatoprotective Activity of Cucumis trigonus Roxb. Fruitagainst CCl4 Inducesd Hepatic Damage in Rats Kalpana Patil,Shaikh Mohammedimtiaz , Anoop Singh, Varsha Bagewadi

Use in other system of medicine:

: About 2-3 g of root powder mixed with 10 ml of curd, prescribed daily for 15 days to reduce the sugar content in urine and also to check excessive urination (Sabara-Dhenkanal).


The genus Cucumis belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae and its gene pool
is represented by 52 species (Kirkbride, 1993; Ghebretinsae et al., 2007; Kocyan
et al., 2007; Renner et al., 2007; Mabberley, 2008). Cucumis species occurred in a
large scale from 38°N and 37°S of old world, with more species in southern
hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere. Almost all the species in the genus
Cucumis are indigenous to Africa.Cucumis trigonus Roxb., a member of family
Cucurbitaceae is distributed throughout India and found in areas of Ceylon,
Afghanistan, Persia and Northern Australia. It is also known by several local /
vernacular names in the world

Photos of indravaruni -

KEY WORDS: indravaruni Cucumis trigonus Roxb.

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