Cucurbitacin-B

2.4.1 Cucurbitacin-B

A group of tetracyclic triterpenoids, usually termed as “bitter principles of cucurbits” that essentially possess distinct antineoplastic and anti-gibberellin activity.
Biological Sources Cucurbitacins are obtained from a number of species belonging to
cucurbitaceous plants known since antiquity due to their useful as well as toxic properties.
It is obtained primarily from most plants belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, namely: Luffa acutangula (Linn.) Roxb. (Ridged or Ribbed gourd); Luffa cylindricaa (Linn.) M. Roem (Luffa aegyptiaca Mill ex Hook f. (Dish-cloth gourd, Vegetables sponge, Spongegourd)], Luffa echinata var longystyla Clarke (supposed to be a hybrid of L. graveolens Roxb. And L. aegyptica Mill); and Luffa graveolens Roxb. It is also found in various species belonging to family viz., Begoniaceae, Cruciferae, Datisceae, Euphorbiaceae, and Scrophulariaceae.
Geographical Source It is found in Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim, Bihar and Bengal abundantly.
Chemical Structure It has been observed that cucurbitacin B and E are the most commonly identified principles of these plant sources.

Cucurbitacin-B
Uses
1. It has antineoplastic and anti-gibberellin activity.
2. The plants have been employed as vermifuges, narcotics, emetics and antimalarials.
3. They have also been implicated in sporadic livestock poisoning in South Africa.

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