Family • Cucurbitaceae - Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. - CHAYOTE - Yang si gua

Scientific names

Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw.
Fu shou gua (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

FRENCH: Chayotte, Chou-chou, Chouchoute, Christofine, Christophine, Mirliton
HAWAIIAN: Pipinola
PERU: Gayota
SPANISH: Chocho, Pipinela, Tallote

Common names

Sayote (Tag.)
Tsayote (Most dialects)
Chayote (Engl.)
Choyote (Engl.)
Choko (Engl.)
Christophine (Engl.)
Pipinella (Engl.)
Vegetable pear (Engl.)
Yang si gua (Chin.)

Sayote is a tropical perennial vine, with stems climbing to 40 feet high. Rootstock is tuberous. Leaf petioles are 6 inches long. Leaves are hairy, broadly cordate, entire or angled, 10 to 20 centimeters long. Flowers are staminate, yellowish to pale green, in long racemes. Pistillate flowers are solitary, corolla 12 to 17 millimeters. Fruit is pear-shaped, light green, and slightly wrinkled or with shallow, narrow, longitudinal grooves, in some forms set with soft spines. Seed is single, large, with a smooth testa, clinging to the flesh, protruding from the fruit apex.


– Introduced.
– Probably native to Mexico.
– Cultivated


– Study yielded eight flavonoids including three C-glycosyl and five O-glycosyl flavones. The leaves gave the highest amount of flavonoids
– Phytochemical analysis of fruit (pulps and seeds) yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, and terpenoids.

– Antiulcer, laxative, diuretic.


Parts used
Leaves and fruit.

– The fruit, tuber, stems and leaves are edible.
– Leaves are used in stews.
– Low in fiber, high in carbohydrate and caloric content.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antioxidant activities of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz extracts / A A L Ordonez et al / Food Chemistry Vol 97, Issue 3, August 2006, Pages 452-458/ doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.05.024

(2) The antihypertensive effects of the Jamaican Cho-Cho (Sechium edule) / Gordon E A et al / West Indian Med J. 2000 Mar;49(1):27-31

(3) Study of Flavonoids of Sechium edule (Jacq) Swartz (Cucurbitaceae) Different Edible Organs by Liquid Chromatography Photodiode Array Mass Spectrometry / Tiziana Siciliano et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2004, 52 (21), pp 6510–6515 / DOI: 10.1021/jf040214q

(4) Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw., Cucurbitaceae / Names and description / PIER

(5) Anti-Ulcer Activity of Sechium Edule Ethanolic Fruit Extract / Gandhu Sateesh, Syed Fathullah Hussaini, Gone Santhosh Kumar, Bodavula Samba Siva Rao / Pharma Innovation, IC Journal No: 7725, Vol. 1 No. 5 2012

(6) Antiepileptic and central nervous system depressant activity of Sechium edule fruit extract / Sayeed Mohammed Firdous, Shafique Ahmed and Samiran Dey / Bangladesh J Pharmacol 2012; 7: 199-202

(7) Antibacterial activity of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz against gram negative food borne bacteria / Sibi G, Kalpana Kaushik, K. Dhananjaya, K. R. Ravikumar and H. Mallesha / Advances in Applied Science Research, 2013, 4(2):259-261

(8) Analysis of the biological effects of Sechium edule fruit extract: a morphological and radiobiological study / Dire, et al / Life Science Journal, Vol 6, No 3, 2009

(9) Extracts and Fractions from Edible Roots of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. with Antihypertensive Activity / Galia Lombardo-Earl, Rubén Roman-Ramos, Alejandro Zamilpa, Maribel Herrera-Ruiz, Gabriela Rosas-Salgado, Jaime Tortoriello, and Enrique Jiménez-Ferrer / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014) /


(11) Study of the Effects of a Chayotte (Sechium edule) Extract on the Plasmid Puc.9.1 DNA / G. F. Dire et al / Plant Pathology Journal 6(1): 72-76, 2007

(12) Preventive and Therapeutic Efficacies of Benincasa hispida and Sechium edule Fruit’s Juice on Sweet-beverages Induced Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Oxidative Stress / Ashok Kumar Tiwari, Iragavarapu Anusha, Maddineni Sumangali, Domati Anand Kumar, Kuncha Madhusudana and Sachin Bharat Agawane / Pharmacologia, Volume 4 Issue 3, 2013

(13) Antibacterial activities of the methanol extracts of ten Cameroonian vegetables against Gram-negative multidrug-resistant bacteria / Jaurès AK Noumedem, Marius Mihasan, Stephen T Lacmata, Marius Stefan, Jules R Kuiate* and Victor Kuete* / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:26 / doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-26

(14) Antimicrobial Activity of Nine Extracts of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz / A. A. L. Ordoñez, J. D. Gomez, N. M. Cudmani, M. A. Vattuone and M. I. Isla / Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, 2003, Vol 15, No 1, Pages 33-39 / (doi:10.1080/0891060010015583)

(15) Comparative Analysis of the Biological Effects Related to a Natural Extract Processed from the Bark of Chayote (Sechium Edule) / G.F. Dire, et al / Global Veterinaria 4 (3): 225-229, 2010

(16) Antifungal and antibacterial properties of three medicinal plants from Malaysia / Gwee Pei Shing, Chen Li Wen, Tan Syu Wei, Ong Hean Chooi, Khoo Kong Soo and Sit Nam Weng* / Pharmacognosy Communications, Volume 3 | Issue 2 | Apr–Jun 2013

– Fruit is laxative.
– Raw pulp of the fruit is soothing for skin rashes.
– Roasted leaves help in the suppuration of boils.

Study Findings
• Antioxidant: Leaf ethanolic extracts and leaf and seed water extracts showed strong inhibitory activity by B-carotene bleaching. Results may be potentially exploited as biopreservatives and for health supplements or food to alleviate oxidative stress.
• Anti-hypertensive: Extract studies produced a fall in blood pressure. The mechanisms were not determined in the preliminary experiments. Further studies are indicated to delineate the mechanisms involved in decreased mean arterial pressure.
• Flavonoids: Phytochemical study yielded eight flavonoids, including three C-glycosyl and five o-glycosyl flavones. Results showed the highest amount of flavonoids was in the leaves, followed by roots and by stems.
• Antimicrobial: Alcoholic extracts of Sechium edule were tested against bacteria of clinical relevance as nosocomial pathogens. Results showed both fluid extract and tincture have very good antimicrobial efficacy against all strains of multiresistant staphylococci and enterococci and warrants further studies to isolate and identify the active principle/s.
• Radiopharmaceutical Labeling and Uptake Effect: The Effect of a Chayote (Sechium edule) Extracts (Decoct and Macerated) on the Labeling of Blood Elements with Technetium- 9m and on the Biodistribution of the Radiopharmaceutical Sodium Pertechnetate in Mice: an In vitro and In vivo Analysis. The study suggests that some component of chayote extracts present an oxidant power to alter the biodistribution of Technitium-9m and cause alteration of the uptake in organs.
• Antiulcer: Treatment with an ethanolic extract of fruit significantly protected against aspirin-induced ulceration with reduction of total acidity, free acidity, gastric output and increase pH of gastric secretion.
• Flavonoids: Study yielded eight flavonoids, including three C-glycosyl and five o-glycosyl flavones. Aglycone moieties are represented by apigenin and luteolin; the sugar units by glucose, apiose and rhamnose.
• Antiepileptic / CNS Depressant Effect / Fruit: An ethanol extract of fruits was evaluated for antiepileptic and CNS depressant effect in a rats. Results showed significant reduction of duration of various phases of convulsion in MES- and PTZ-induced convulsion. There was dose-dependent reduction of locomotor activity in the CNS depressant model.
• Antibacterial / Food Borne Bacteria / Pulp: Study evaluated various extracts of S. edule fruits (pulp and seed) against food borne bacteria. Chloroform and methanolic extracts exhibited antibacterial activity against most of the gram negative bacteria tested (E coli, S. typhimurium, and S. flexneri).
• Antioxidant / RBC Membrane Stabilization: Study evaluated the influence of chayote extract on the morphology of red blood cells and on the radiolabeling of blood elements with technetium-99m. Results showed the chayote extract has antioxidant compounds which could be responsible for alteration of RBC morphology without altering the radiolabeling of blood elements.
• Antihypertensive / Vasorelaxant Effect: Study evaluated the a hydroalcoholic extract from roots, including fractions and subfractions, on different hypertension models induced with angiotensin II. Results showed an antihypertensive and vasorelaxant effect probably due to an AG II antagonism activity. The AG II antagonistic effect could also have a calcium antagonist effect. The presence of cinnamic acid derivatives could be responsible for the angiotensin II and calcium antagonist effect.
• Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Injury / Fruits: Study of ethanolic fruit extracts and its fractions showed significant hepatoprotective activity against CCl4 induced hepatotoxicity in rats in a dose dependent manner through it antioxidative effect on hepatocytes.
• Effect on Plasmid Puc.9.1. DNA: In this study, plasmid DNA was exposed to chayote extracts in the presence of stannous chloride and analyzed through agarose gel electrophoresis. Results showed the chayotte extract was capable of damaging the DNA in the presence and/or absence of SnCl2. The effect might be due to generation of free radicals which might have induced lesions in the DNA molecule.
• Antihyperglycemic / Fruit: Study evaluated the preventive and therapeutic potentials of fruit juice of Benincasa hispida and Sechium edule in fructose and sucrose-sweetened beverages induced impaired glucose tolerance, oxidative stress and other IGT induced metabolic disturbances in rats. Results showed consumption of raw juice from vegetables may help ameliorate sweetened-beverages induced metabolic disturbances and impart health benefits to IGT individuals.
• Lowers Uric Acid: Study of sayote leaf extracts administered to hyperuricemic-induced rabbits showed a significant decrease of at least 25% of uric acid levels. Activity was attributed to flavonoids. No signs of toxicity or deaths occurred among the tested rabbits.
• Antidiabetic / Fruits: Study evaluated the effect of S. edule fruit extracts on alloxan induced diabetes in Wistar rats. Results showed significant decrease in blood glucose level, together with improvement of lipid profile.
• Antibacterial: Study evaluated the antibacterial activities of methanol extracts of ten Cameroonian vegetables against a panel of twenty nine Gram negative bacteria including MDR strains. All extracts exhibited antibacterial activities. S. edule was one of three extracts which displayed the largest spectra of activity, with inhibitory effects against all 29 Gram-negative test bacteria. S. edule was also more active than chloramphenicol on at least one of the test MDR bacteria.
• Antimicrobial: Study evaluated the antimicrobial properties of Sechium edule alcoholic extracts against bacteria of clinical relevance as nosocomial pathogens. Results indicate that both fluid extract and tincture have very good antimicrobial efficacy against all strains of multiresistant staphylococci and enterococci.
• Antibacterial / Antifungal: Study of various extracts of aerial parts of D. esculentum and Sechium edule and the fruits of S. muricatum showed significant antimicrobial activity against a panel of 12 medically important microorganisms. All plant extracts showed antifungal activity, with 66% and 49% of the bioassays showing fungistatic and fungicidal activity, respectively. Two yeasts, Cryptococcus neoformans and Issatchenkia orientalis were susceptible to all extracts. In the antibacterial screening assays, 49% showed bacteriostatic activity, while 21% showed bactericidal activity.