Scientific names    

Cucurbita maxima Duchesne     
Curcubita sulcata Blanco     
Sun gua (Chin.)      

Common names

Calabaza (Sp.)
Kabasi (Sul.)
Kabasi (Sul.)
Kalabasa (Tag., Ceb.)
Kalabasang-bilog (Tag.)  
Kalabasang-pula (Tag.)
Karabasa (Ilk.)
Kumbasa (Bon.)  
Giant pumpkin (Engl.)
Squash (Engl.)
Sweet-fleshed squash (Engl.)
Fan nan gua (Chin.)
Other vernacular names

AFRIKAANS : Pampoen.
ARABIC : Qar'islambuli, Qar'malti, Qar'maghrabi, Karr estmboly (Egypt).
CHINESE: Bei gua, jiao si gua, yang gua DANISH : Centnergræskar.
DUTCH : Pompoen, Ronde pompoen, Reuzenpompoen, Reuzenkalebas.
ESTONIAN : Suureviljaline kõrvits. FINNISH : Jättiläiskurpitsa.
FRENCH : Potiron, Giraumon, Courge-giraumon, Courge d'hiver, Grosse courge, Courge-potiron.
GERMAN : Risen-Kürbis, Risenkürbis, Riesenkuerbis.
HEBREW : Delaat gedola.
HINDI : Kadduu, Sitaphal.
HUNGARIAN : Sütö tök.
ITALIAN : Zucca, Zucca gigante, Giramonte.
JAPANESE : Kuri kabocha, Seiyou kabocha, Seiyou kabocha. NEPALESE : Kadu, Kashi phal, Pharsi, Sitaa phal.
NORWEGIAN : Kjempegraskar.
POLISH : Dynia duza, Dynia olbrzymia.
PORTUGUESE : Abóbora-menina, Abóbora-moranga.
RUSSIAN : Tykva gigantskaia.
SPANISH : Calabaza amarilla, Calabaza de cidra, Calabaza gigante, Calabaza tamalayota, Calabaza tonanera, Calabaza redonda, Quinoa, Quinua, Zapallo (Argentina).
SWEDISH : Jättepumpa, Pumpa.
URDU : Halva kaddu, Mitha kaddu.
YORUBA : Apala.

Kalabasa is a coarse, prostrate or climbing, annual, herbaceous vine, reaching a length of 4 meters or more. Leaves are hispid, rounded, 15 to 30 centimeters in diameter, heart-shaped at the base, shallowly 5-lobed, with finely toothed margins, and often mottled on the upper surface. Flowers are bell-shaped, erect, yellow and about 12 centimeters long, the corolla limb is about as wide, and 5-toothed. Fruit is large, variable in shape, fleshy, with a yellow pulp. Seeds are ovoid or oblong, compressed, and about 1.3 centimeters long.


- Widely cultivated throughout the Philippines as a vegetable produce.
- Occasionally found as an escape.
- Planted in all warm countries.


• Phytochemical screening yielded carbohydrates, steroids, proteins and amino acids.
• Fruit contains fat, 10%; pentosan, 5.2 %; protein, 14.2%; and ash, 9/3%.
• Seeds contain fixed oil, 20-25%; a proteid, edestin. The seed's active principle is a pepo-resin found in the cotyledons.
• Curcurbitin, a constituent in pumpkin seeds has shown anti-parasitic activity in the test tube.
• Seed extract yielded carbohydrates, saponins, and flavonoids.


• Considered anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, diuretic, tonic, vermifuge.
• Considered antidiabetic, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic.

Parts used
Fruits, seeds, stalk.


Nutritional / Edibility

- Widely used as a vegetable in the Philippines, baked, boiled, or stewed.
- Young shoots and flowers used as green vegetable.
- A vegetable which is an excellent source of vitamin B. The shoots and flowers contain calcium, phosphorus and iron. The fruit contains calcium and vitamin A.
- Seeds are a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins.
- In India, fruit is largely used in curries.
- Fruit makes an excellent substitute for pumpkin in pies.


• In India, fruit pulp is often used as poultice for carbuncles, boils and ulcers.
• Dried pulp, in the form of confection, used as remedy for hemoptysis and hemorrhages from the pulmonary tract.
• For venomous insect bites, the fruit stalk in contact with the ripe gourd is cut, dried, and made into a paste and applied to venomous insect bites, especially centipedes.
• The fresh seeds, pulped or in emulsion, are used as antihelminthic. Seeds are eaten fresh to expel worms from the stomach. For tapeworms, seeds are given with sugar at bedtime, followed with a dose of castor oil in the morning.
• Seed oil used as nervine tonic.
• In Brazil, pumpkin seeds are used for stomach pain, as antiinflammatory, antipyretic and anthelminthic.
• In China, pumpkin seeds have been used for acute schistosomiasis.
• In Thailand, seeds used for kidney stones.


• Seed contains an oil. Used for lighting.
• Fruit can provide a face-mask for dry skins.


• Antimicrobial / Anti-inflammatory / Neuro Effects : Extracts of leaves, fruits and flowers of C. maxima were subjected to pharmacologic and microbiological studies. Results showed complete inhibition of B. subtilis and partial inhibition of E. coli. Fruits and leaves showed neuro effects: decrease motor activity, ataxia, temporary palpebral ptosis among others. Ethyl acetate extracts of flowers showed decreased respiratory rate, analgesia, diarrhea and exophthalmos.

• Toxicity evaluation of Cucurbita maxima seed extract in mice: Hydroalcoholic extract of CM seeds had a considerable safety margin and devoid of acute toxicity.

• Antigenotoxicity / Spinasterol: Study on antigenotoxic constituents of squash flowers showed isolate SQFwB2D (spinasterol) from the chloroform extract to possess the most antigenotoxicity, decreasing the mutagenicity of tetracycline by 64.7%.

• Pumpkin Seed Oil / BPH: Pumpkin seed oil has been approved by the Germany's Commission E since 1985 for the treatment of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

• Antiparasitic: Study showed that pumpkin seed can produce an antihelminthic effect. There was alteration in helminthic motility and a protheolithic effect. Egg destruction was noted in the gravid proglottids.

• Antibacterial: Study of ethanol seed extract showed a spectrum of inhibition on Staph aureus, B. subtilis, P. mirabilis, K. pneumonia and E coli.

• Hypoglycemic: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic activity of fruit juice and hydro-alcoholic extract of C. maxima in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Both caused significant decrease in hyperglycemia, with the extract showing more hypoglycemic effect than the fruit juice.

• Immunomodulator: Cm seeds were tested for immunomodulatory effects using a dexamethasone-induced immunosuppression model in rabbits. Results showed Cucurbita maxima possesses potential to act as an immunomodulator.

• Antidiabetic / Aerial Parts: Study of antidiabetic activity of methanol extract of aerial parts in Wistar albino rats against STZ-induced diabetes showed fasting blood glucose reduction in a treatment-duration dependent manner.

• Anticancer / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the antitumor activity of a methanol extract of C. maxima Duschesne aerial parts on Erlich Ascites Carcinoma model in mice. Results revealed significant anticancer activity attributed to its cytotoxicity and antioxidant properties.

• Sterols / Antimicrobial Activity: Study of flowers afforded a 4:1 mixture of spinasterol and 24-ethyl-5a-cholesta-7,22,25-trien-3ß-ol. Results showed slight activity against fungi A. niger and C. albicans and bacteria B. subtilis and P. aeruginosa.

• Anthelmintic / Schistosomiasis: Study of a decoction prepared from C. maxima var. alyaga seeds showed a killing effect on S. japonicum somulae in vitro, with a dose-effect relationship in the mean percentage somula death.

• Hepatoprotective: Study showed the hepatoprotective activity of methanol extracts of C maxima and Legenaria siceraria seeds against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity.

• Anthelmintic Activity / Comparative Study: Study compared the in-vitro anthelmintic activity of Asparagus racemosus and C. maxima against Indian model. Both ethanolic and aqueous extracts of both plants showed significant anthelminthic activity, with the EE of A. racemosus showing better activity.

Commercial vegetable cultivation.
Pumpkin seed oil in the cybermarket.

Source: stuartxchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1)Cucurbita maxima - Duchesne. ex Lam. / Winter Squash / Plants For A Future

(2)Microbiological and pharamcological studies on extracts of Cucurbita maxima / VILLASENOR I. M.; BARTOLOME A. L. O et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research / 1995, vol. 9, no5, pp. 376-378 / INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 21695, 35400005373809.0130

(3)Toxicity evaluation of Cucurbita maxima seed extract in mice / Summary Pharmaceutical Biology / 2006, Vol. 44, No. 4, Pages 301-303

(4)Antigenotoxic spinasterol from Cucurbita maxima flowers / Irene Villaseñor et al / Mutation Research/Environmental Mutagenesis and Related Subjects, Vol 360, Issue 2, 10 June 1996, Pages 89-93 / doi:10.1016/0165-1161(95)00071-2

(5)  Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas / Díaz Obregón D, Lloja Lozano L, Carbajal Zúñiga V. / Revista de gastroenterología del Perú / 2004 Oct-Dec; vol 24 (issue 4) : pp 323-7

(6)Cucurbita maxima Duchesne ex Lam. / Catalogue of Life, China

(7)Sorting Cucurbita names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE

(8)Effect of Hydro-Alcoholic Extract of Cucurbita Maxima, Fruit Juice and Glibenclamide on Blood Glucose in Diabetic Rats / Lal, V.K., P.P. Gupta, Awanish Pandey and P. Tripathi / American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology 6 (3): 84-87, 2011

(9)Comparative Effect of Cucurbita Maxima Seed with Immunomodulators on Biochemical Parameters in Rabbits / V. Ranganathan and S. Selvasubramanian / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 02 (06); 2012: 191-193

(10)Antidiabetic Activity of Cucurbita maxima Aerial Parts / P. Saha, A. Bala, B. Kar, S. Naskar, U.K. Mazumder, P.K. Haldar and M. Gupta / Research Journal of Medicinal Plant, 2011, Vol 5, No: 5, pp 577-586 /
DOI: 10.3923/rjmp.2011.577.586

(11)Anticancer activity of methanol extract of Cucurbita maxima against Ehrlich as- cites carcinoma / Prerona Saha, U. K. Mazumder, P. K. Haldar, Sagar Naskar, Sriparna Kundu, Asis Bala, Biswakanth Kar / Int. J. Res. Pharm. Sci., 2(1), 2011, 52-59

(12)Sterols from Cucurbita maxima / Consolacion Y. Ragasa and Kathleen Lim / Philippine Journal of Science
134 (2): 83-87, December 2005


(14)Hepatoprotective Effect of Methanolic Extract of C. maxima and L. siceraria Seeds / Jain Nidhi and A K Pathak / Intern Journ of Pharmaceutical, Chemical, and Biological Sciences, 2012, 2(2). 151-154

(15)Phytochemical Screening and In Vitro Comparative Study of Anthelmintic Activity of Asparagus racemosus and Cucurbita maxima / G. V. N. Kiranmayi, K. Ravishankar, P. Priyabandhavi / Journal of Pharmacy Research, Vol 5, No 3 (2012)