Fluted pumpkin is a tropical vine grown in West Africa. It belongs to the species Occidentalis and a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Its botanical name is Telfairia occidentalis. The fluted pumpkin is also called fluted gourd, ugu, and ikong-ubong.
The fluted pumpkin fruit is inedible. It is mainly cultivated for its leaf and edible seeds. It is primarily used in soup and herbal medicines. The seeds contribute to a well-balanced diet as they are high in protein and fat.
Fluted pumpkin has a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals such as Potassium, Folic acid, Thiamine, Niacin, Dietary fibres, Riboflavin, Copper, Manganese, Proteins, Vitamins E and B6. The leaves of the fluted pumpkin are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. Vitamin A is vital for the skin and eyes. Vitamin C in fluted pumpkin helps to heal wounds, form scar tissue and maintain healthy skin, bone, and teeth. The phosphorous in the pumpkin keeps the onset of kidney diseases at bay. The presence of antioxidants like glutathione reductase, tocopherol, dismutase, catalase, and ascorbic acid in the plant protect the body from free radicals.
Saponins, tannins, phenolic compounds, chlorophyll, glycosides, and phytosterols possess chemo-suppressive properties and help prevent cancer growth.