Comparative Evaluation of Anthelmintic Potential of Cucurbita maxima Seeds, Moringa oleifera Seeds and Solanum surattense Fruits


Saroj Kumar Raul*, Gopal Krishna Padhy, Soudamini Alekha Charan, Neelima Gurubarik

Maharajah’s College of Pharmacy, Phoolbaugh, Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh India

*Corresponding Author E-mail:



The medicinal plants are widely used by the traditional medical practitioners for curing various diseases. Helminthiasis is the most common infection in human affecting a large proportion of world population. Parasitic diseases may cause severe morbidities including lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis. Development of resistance to most of the commercially available anti helminthiasis becomes a severe problem worldwide. The present study was under taken to evaluate antihelmenthic activity of ethanol extract of seeds of Cucurbita maxima, Moringa olifera and fruits of Solanum surattense on Indian earthworm pheritima phosthuma. Various concentrations (10, 25, 50 mg/ml) of extracts were tested and results were expressed in terms of time of paralysis and time of death of the worm. Piperazine citrate (10mg/ml) is used as reference standard and saline water as control.


KEYWORDS: Antihelmenthic activity, Pheritima posthuma, Cucurbita maxima, Moringa olifera, Solanum surattense.




Medicinal plants used in India is an important therapeutic sources for treatment of variety of elements and has been found to be immense global important. India is perhaps the largest producer of medicinal herbs and rightly called the botanical garden of the world. Medicinal herbs have been used for thousands of years in the indigenous system of medicine like ayurveda, siddha and unani.


Helminthiasis is the most common infection in man affecting a large proportion of world population. Parasitic diseases may cause severe morbidities including lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis. Development of resistance to most of the commercially available antihelminthiasis became a severe problem worldwide. Moreover these drugs are unaffordable, inaccessible or inadequately available to the poor farmers of the developing countries. These factors paved the way for the herbal remedies as alternative anthemintics. Evaluation of the activities of medicinal plants claimed for possessing the anthelmintic property is getting attention these days. Screening and evaluation of the claimed medicinal plants could offer possible alternatives that may be both sustainable and environmentally acceptable. 1-3


Plant Introduction:

Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species of amonogeneric family Moringaceae. English common names include moringa, benzolive tree, and West Indian Ben. It is also known as drumstick tree, from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed pods, horseradish tree, from the taste of the roots which resembles horseradish, or Ben oil tree, from the oil derived from the seeds. It is an exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree with a variety of potential uses. The tree itself is rather slender, with drooping branches that grow to approximately 10 m in height. In cultivation, it is often cut back annually to 1 meter or less and allowed to regrow so that pods and leaves remain within arm's reach.4-5


A number of medicinal properties have been ascribed to various parts of this highly esteemed tree. Almost all the parts of this plant: root, bark, gum, leaf, fruit (pods), flowers, seed and seed oil have been used for various ailments in the indigenous medicine of South Asia, including the treatment of inflammation and infectious diseases, along with cardiovascular. In some developing countries, the powdered seeds of M. oleifera are traditionally utilized as a natural coagulant for water purification because of their strong coagulating properties for sedimentation of suspended undesired particles. 6-13


Cucurbita maxima, commonly known as squash belongs to the family cucurbitaceae, is widely used as vegetable and a source of vitamin A, iron, phosphorous and calcium. The fruits after harvest can be stored many months, if kept dry. Research on this plant reported that spinasterol isolated from the flowers of Cucurbita maxima showed potential anticarcinogenic, antigenotoxic and antitumorigenic activity. The medicinal properties of Cucurbita maxim also include anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antihypertensive, and anti-inflammatory. The seeds are used in the treatment of liver and digestive disorder while the oil from the seeds exhibited anthelmintic property. 14-17


Solanum suranttense also known as Yellow berried nightshade of the family Solanaceae is one of the dasamoola and commonly used drug in Ayurveda. Its ancient name Kantakari, is a very spiny diffuse herb growing up to 1.2 m tall. Different parts of this plant such as its fruits, roots are used in making specific medicines. Ayurvedic classics categorized this plant under Kasahara, Sotha hara, Hikka nigrahana, Kantya, Anga marda prasamana, Sheetaprasamana dasemaanis (Group of ten drugs).It is used especially in treating kasa (cough), shwasa (bronchial asthma), jwara (fever) etc. The whole plant is useful in vitiated conditions of vata, kapha, helminthiasis, dental caries, inflammations, flatulence, constipation, dyspepsia, anorexia, leprosy, skin diseases, hypertension, fever, asthma, bronchitis, hiccough, lumbago, haemorrhoids and epilepsy. The plant is bitter, acrid, thermogenic, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, digestive, carminative, appetizer, stomachic, febrifuge, expectorant, laxative, stimulant, diuretic, rejuvenating, emmenagogue and aphrodisiac.18-20



The methodology adopted to evaluate the anthelmintic activity of seeds of Cucurbita maxima, Moringa olifera and fruits of Solanum suranttense are as follows.


Plant Materials:

The plant material were collected from the Local area of Phool Baugh, Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh. They were identified and confirmed from the Department of Botany, Maharajah’s Autonomous College, Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh


Collection of Worms:

The Indian earthworm Pheritima Posthuma were collected from water logged areas of Visakhapatnam and identified from the Department of Zoology Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. Then all collected worms were washed with normal saline to removal of fecal matter. The earth worms are 3-5cm length and 0.1- 0.2cm width were used for all experimental protocol


Preparation of Extracts:

The collected materials were washed thoroughly in water and shade dried for three weeks at room temperature. Then the plant materials were coarsely powdered and extraction was done by using soxhlet apparatus with 90% ethanol. The extracts ware then concentrated under reduced pressure, dried and stored in air tight container for anthelmintic study.


Preparation of Test Samples:

Sample for in vitro study were prepared by dissolving and suspending 2.5gm of each extract in 25ml of distilled water to obtain a stock solution of 100mg per ml. Acacia gum was used as suspending agent. From the stock solution different working dilutions were prepared to get concentrations of 10mg/ml, 25mg/ml, and 50mg/ml.


Anthelmintic Activity:

The anthelmintic activity was performed according to the method of Ghosh et el.21 on adult Indian earthworm Pheritima Posthuma due to its anatomical and physiological resemblance with the intestinal roundworm parasite of human beings.22-25


Earthworms are divided into three groups, consisting of six worms in each group and released into 20 ml of desired formulation. All earthworms were of approximately equal size. Group I is served as control, receives only normal saline, Group II serves as standard, received standard drug Piperazine Citrate (10mg/ml). Group III serves as alcoholic extract of different concentrations (10mg/ml, 25mg/ml, and 50mg/ml.).


Observations were made for time taken to paralysis and the death of individual worms. Paralysis was said to be occurred when no movement of any sort could be observed except the worms were shaken vigorously. Death was said to occur when the worm lost the motility followed with fading away of the body color.



As shown in the Table-1 the data revealed that seeds extract of Moringa olifera at the concentration of 10 mg/ml showed the time of paralysis and death at 52.50 minutes and 71.80 minutes respectively. For concentration of 25mg/ml, the paralysis and the death time was found 41.80 minutes and 59.20 minutes respectively. At the concentration of 50mg/ml time was 33.10 minutes for paralysis and 46.10 minutes for death. While in Cucurbita maxima seeds extract at the concentration of 10mg/ml, the time of paralysis and death was found to be 110.50 minutes and 182.50 minutes respectively. At concentration of 25 mg/ml, it was 72.20 minutes for paralysis and 140.50 minutes for death. For concentration at 50mg/ml, the time of paralysis and death was 56.40 minutes and 126.32 minutes respectively .In case of, Solanum surattense fruits the time of paralysis and death was 34.20 minutes and 47.40 minutes respectively at concentration of 10 mg/ml. At concentration of 25 mg/ml, the time of paralysis and death was 24.50 minutes and 34.60 minutes respectively. At 50 mg/ml concentration, the time of paralysis and death was 15.30minutes and 22.20 minutes respectively. The observations with piperazine citrate showed that time of paralysis and death was 22.4 minutes and 46.5 minutes respectively for concentration of 10 mg/ml.


It was observed that Moringa olifera seeds as well as Solanum surattense fruits extracts showed a remarkable anthelmintic potential against Pheretima posthumous. Amongst the three extracts, Solanum suranttense showed better activity as shown in figure-1.


Table-1: Anthelmintic activity of Extracts

Test substance

Concentration mg/ml

Time taken for paralysis (P) in min

Time taken for  Death(D) in min





Piperazine Citrate




Moringa olifera










Cucurbita maxima










Solanum suranttense










All values represent Mean ±SD, n=6 in each group


Figure-1: Comparative studies of death time of standard with extracts



Authors are thankful to Principal and Management of Maharaja’s college of pharmacy for providing the necessary facilities and support for us to carry out this work.



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Received on 20.08.2014       Modified on 04.09.2014

Accepted on 09.09.2014      ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Pharmacognosy & Phytochem. 6(4):Oct. - Dec.2014; Page 187-189