Family • Cucurbitaceae - Cucumis melo Linn. - CANTALOUPE - Xiang gua

Scientific names

Cucumis melo Linn.
Cucumis dudaim Linn.
Tian gua (Chin.)

Common names

Atimon (Bis.)
Inkug (Sul.)
Itimon (Ilk.)
Katimon (Bis.)
Melon (Span., Tag.)
Cantaloupe (Engl.)
Musk melon (Engl.)
Xiang gua (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Ha mi gua, bai lan gua, hua cai tu gua, yue gua, shao gua, bai gua, sheng gua
DANISH: Netmelon
DUTCH : Netmeloen, Muskaatmeloen.
FINNISH : Verkkomeloni.
FRENCH : Melon brodé, Melon de Cavaillon, Melon cantaloup brodé, Melon maraîcher.
GERMAN: Netzmelone.
HINDI : Kharbuza.
ITALIAN : Melone retato, Melone reticolato, Melone moscato.
JAPANESE : Masuku meron.
PORTUGUESE : Melão reticulado, Melão-de-casca-de-carvalho.
SPANISH : Melón bordado.
SWEDISH : Nätmelon.
THAI : Taeng thai.
TURKISH : Kavun fidani.

Melon is a spreading, annual, more or less hairy vine. Leaves are somewhat rounded, angled, 6 to 15 centimeters long, heart-shaped at the base, and shallowly 3- to 7-lobed. Flowers are yellow, 1.5 to 2centimeters long. Fruit is ovoid, somewhat rounded or ellipsoid, 20 centimeters long or less, smooth, green, and longitudinally striped or mottled.


– Cultivated in several forms or varieties in the Philippines.
– Occasional as an escape.
– Cultivated in all warm countries.

– Fruit contains dextrose, 1.4 to 2.6%; citric acid, water, 92 to 96%; fat, 0.5 to 0.8%;.
– Seed contains globulin and glutine, arginine, histidine, lysine, cystine, tryptophan, fixed oil, galactan and glucose.
– Oil consists of glycerides of linoleic, oleic, palmitic, stearic and myristic acid; also, lecithin and chloresterin.
– Roots contain nenemetin, potassium malate and pectin.
– Contains an emetic principle.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Cucurbitane-Type Triterpenoids from the Stems of Cucumis melo / Chuan Chen, Shigao Qiang et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2009, 72 (5), pp 824–829 / DOI: 10.1021/np800692t

(2) Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of a Cucumis melo LC. extract rich in superoxide dismutase activity / Ioannis Vouldoukis et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 94, Issue 1, September 2004, Pages 67-75 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.04.023

(3) Breast cancer-related effects of eating melons

(4) PHYSICO-CHEMICAL STUDIES OF INDIGENOUS DIURETIC MEDICINAL PLANTS–Citrullus vulgaris Schrad, Cucumis melo Linn, Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf, Moringa oleifera Lam, Raphanus sativus Linn and Zea mays Linn. / MARYAM MIRZA, MAHBOOB ALI KALHORO, ZAHRA YAQEEN, TAHIRA B. SARFARAZ AND R.B. QADRI / Pakistan Journal of Pharmacology Vol.20, No.1, January 2003, pp.9-16

(5) Antioxidant Activity and Pharmacological Evaluation of Cucumis melo var. agrestis Methanolic Seed Extract / R. Arora, M. Kaur and N.S. Gill / Research Journal of Phytochemistry, 2011, Vol 5, No: 3, pp 146-155 /
DOI: 10.3923/rjphyto.2011.146.155

(6) Invitro Cytotoxicity and Free Radical Scavenging Activity of aqueous extract of Cucumis melo / P.A.Vasundra Devi / International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biological Research (IJPBR) Vol. 2(6), 2011, 150-156

(7) Antifungal Effects of Mature and Immature Fruit Extracts of Cucumis melo L. on Aspergillus flavus / M. Asadi, I. Gholampour Azizi and F. Yahyayi / Global Veterinaria 8 (4): 347-351, 2012


– Considered emetic and purgative.
– Fruit, especially the pulp, considered nutritive, demulcent, diuretic and cooling.
– Seeds considered diuretic.
– Kernel considered stomachic, peptic and constructive remedy.

Parts used
Roots, pulp, seeds, kernel.

Culinary / Nutrition
– The native variety as a soft, white flesh, which is cut up, shredded, or mashed, and eaten or drunk with sugar.
– The other cultivated varieties have yellowish or pale-orange flesh, with firmer flesh, and with rough skins. These belong to the cantaloupe group.
– Seeds are salted, dried, and the kernels eaten as delicacy.
– Seed kernels are rich in protein and fat, used as dressing for cakes, bread, confectionery, sweet snack foods. Sometimes, it is used as substitute for almonds and pistachio.
– Source of edible oil with the nutritional value of melon seed oil.
– A good source of potassium, vitamin A, and folate.


– Root considered an effective emetic – one piece in 60 gm of lime water.
– Peduncles used for anasarca and indigestion. In Indo-China, it is employed to arrest vomiting.
– Fruit pulp used as a lotion for chronic and acute eczema; also used for removing tan and freckles; and internally, used for dyspepsia.
– Seeds yield a sweet, edible oil which is nutritive and diuretic, useful for painful discharges and suppression of the urine.
– Fruit pulp also used as diuretic.
– Kernels prescribed for cancer of the stomach and for purulent problems of the digestive tract.
– Kernels used for menorrhagia, after the oil has been extracted.
– In Italy seeds are used as emollient and refreshing medicine.

Melon3Study Findings
• Cucurbitane-Type Triterpenoids / Cytotoxic Activity: Study of the stems of Cucumis melo isolated 21 cucurbitane-type triterpenoids, including 9 new compounds. Two known compounds, cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin A showed significant cytotoxic activity against proliferation of A549/ATCC and BEL7402 cells in vitro.
• Melon Allergy: In a study of 53 patients with a clinical history of adverse reactions to melon, acute clinical reactivity was confirmed in 19 (36%). The most frequent was oral allergy, two had life-threatening reactions. Skin prick test and specific IgE measurements were 42% and 44% predictive, respectively. Isolated melon allergy is rare, most patients having allergic rhinitis and asthma or both, and associated food allergies.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory: The CM extract inhibited in a dose-dependent manner the production of superoxide anion, closely linked to superoxide dismutase activity. The anti-inflammatory activity of the extract was related to its capacity to induce the production of IL-10 by peritoneal macrophages. Also, animals supplemented with the CME/gliadin combination was protected against the pro-inflammatory properties of IFN-g.
• Antioxidant / Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study of the seed extract of Cucumis melo var. agrestis in albino mice showed significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
• Cytotoxicity / Antioxidant: Study of an aqueous extract of fruit pulp showed hydroxyl radical, superoxide radical, nitric oxide and DPPH activity. It was found to be cytotoxic dose-dependent and concentration-dependent effect against Erlich’s Ascites Carcinoma Cells.
• Curcubitacin Liposome / Antioxidant: Study showed CLI (Cucurbitacin Liposome for Injection) showed significant antitumor effects in vivo and in vitro probably through induction of G2/M cell cycle arrest. Cucurbitacins are highly oxygenated tetracyclic triterpenes, predominantly found in the cucurbitaceae family.
• Antifungal / Aflatoxin: Aflatoxins are the most important fungi toxin produced by Aspergillus flavus on animal feedstuff. Various extracts of mature and immature fruits of C. melo was studied for effect on fungi. Results showed an effect on A. flavus and suggest possible benefit of adding the extract to feedstuff for decreasing the growth of A. flavus, thus decreasing aflatoxin production. The ethanolic extract showed better antifungal effect than the methanolic one.
• Immunomodulatory: Study showed the fruit extracts of P. granatum, A. squamosa and Cucumis melo significantly stimulated both cell mediated immunity and humoral immunity in mice.