Mother earth, being generous, has richly blessed us with several fruits and vegetables of nutritional and medicinal values. One of such herbal fruits is pepino melon (Solanum muricatum Aiton), also known as sweet melon, pepino dulce, melon pear, melon shrub, or simply Pepino.
Pepino melon fruit has the shape and texture of an eggplant, it is rich in vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium. The fruits of pepino melon can come in different colors. They are juicy, mildly sweet and possess the scent of cucumber. Pepino belongs to the same family of sweet tomatoes and eggplant. It is fleshy and is 95% made of water.
How do you eat pepino melon?
The most common pepino melon fruit has a golden skin with stripes of purple and greenish-yellow colors. The fruits of pepino can be eaten raw, just like eggplant and apple fruits. Both the skin and the juicy flesh are consumed raw. The inner fleshy part of the fruit contains edible seeds, which are eaten together with the fleshy skin.
Aside eaten pepino like an apple, it can also be eaten alongside other fruits as salad. It can be blended into a smoothie and taken as juice.
What are the benefits of pepino melon?
Pepino melon is not just a fruit, it is also a herbal medicine with several bioactive and volatile compounds. The vitamins and minerals present in the fruits include, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, folic acid, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, copper, calcium, and potassium. The fruit of pepino dulse also contains polyphenols and flavonoids in rich amounts. These compounds, and the volatile oil present in sweet melon confers on it the various health benefits which we shall discuss in this article.
Pepino is good for your heart
The polyphenol and flavonoid rich fruits of pepino melon are beneficial for maintaining proper functioning of your heart. Like the apple and sweet tomatoes, the fruit is rich in antioxidant compounds which protect your heart from oxidative damages of your cardiac cells. When you consume pepino melon regularly, the polyphenolic compounds and vitamin C would protect your heart, improve the pumping of blood to various parts of your body, suppress atherosclerosis and reduce your susceptibility to cardiac arrest.
Pepino melon can lower your cholesterol level
If you wish to maintain a low blood cholesterol level, and avoid the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, especially heart failure, do not stop taking fruit juice, especially pepino melon juice. This is because the fruit contains some flavonoids and phenols that maintains the level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol level (HDL), while decreasing that of low density lipoprotein level (LDL). HDL is regarded as the good cholesterol but LDL is the bad one. When there’s a high level of HDL in the blood, it mops up every LDL that’s deposited on the arterial walls of blood vessels.
If left unremoved, the LDL deposited on the walls of the blood vessels can be oxidized and cause plaque formation and subsequently lead to atherosclerosis, and stroke.
May be helpful for diabetes patients
Aside possessing hypolipidemic properties, pepino melon also possesses hypoglycemic activities. Both hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic activities are good qualities of an antidiabetic agent. Like spermidine supplement and blue oyster mushroom, pepino melon also improves insulin secretion and sensitivity.
A diabetes patient would really benefit from pepino melon by drinking the juice alongside his medications. The antioxidants present in the fruit will suppress the autoimmune destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, improve insulin production, sensitivity, and glucose clearance from your blood.
Pepino melon is also good for an obese person. We all know that obesity is a result of excess accumulation of fats and calories, which are then stored in the adipose tissue. Over time, this tissues continue to expand until the individual becomes obese due to excess fats.
Helps in keeping your body hydrated
Pepino melon is in the class of cucumber and water melon. They possess high water content and are good for overcoming the challenges of draught and desert prone areas. Pepino juice will keep you hydrated and help quench thirst, while maintaining your body moist.
Pepino melon relieves pain
This fruit is rich in compounds that exert anti-inflammatory properties on the body. By so doing, it acts as a pain relief and prevent immune responses through the suppression of proinflammatory factors. It has long been used by the locals in traditional medicine to soothe pains such as arthritis and skin edema.
May improve vision
Like spearmint tea, pepino also improves eyesight and maintain good eye health. The fruit is rich in vitamin A and beta carotenes. Lack of vitamin A is associated with a disease known as Xerophthalmia. When your body lacks vitamin A, the retina would become weak, causing night blindness. Also, your eyes will not be able to produce tears, causing dry eyes, which can be accompanied by painful sensations due to lack of tears. You may witness the development of whitish spots that would tend to cover your eyes. This is probably the first stage of blindness.
When you drink pepino melon juice, you would enrich your body with the vital nutrients like vitamin A, and C, and the B vitamins which prevents the development of impaired vision.
Most times the foods we eat lack vegetables and fruits. Constipation usually happens when our systems lack fiber. And you know, the major source of fiber are vegetables and fruits. This makes pepino melon an excellent remedy for preventing constipation.
The fruit is rich in soluble fiber which helps in easing the movements of the bowel, and helps improve gastrointestinal health. It is also rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps us to empty our bowels during defecation.
May reduce the effect of ulcer
Aside helping to stop constipation, the soluble fiber present in pepino melon also offers relief to gastric ulcer. However, if you are treating chronic ulcer, i would recommend cabbage juice as a trusted remedy with records of testimonies from people who have tried it. A cup of cabbage juice, which you can prepare by blending a little portion of cabbage head and half cup of water, every morning before breakfast for seven days would help cure the ulcer.
Pepino melon improves bone health
Being a rich source of vitamin K, iron, potassium, calcium and the B vitamins, you wouldn’t want to miss the positive effects pepino melon would have on your bone. Iron plays a important role in bone formation. Its deficiency or overload have been associated with osteoclast. This makes pepino a good drink for the bone, as it contains iron in moderate quantity. Iron is also involved in vitamin D synthesis.
Calcium is another important element that is directly involved in bone strength. Just as the B vitamins are very important in bone formation and bone density. Studies have linked low bone density, osteoporosis, and increased risk of bone fracture to deficiency of vitamin B. In fact, pepino melon juice should be given to orthopedic patients to increase their healing progress. It should be taken by pregnant women to aid in the bone formation of their unborn child, and prevent rickets formation.
Pepino melon juice for pregnancy
B vitamins are most important types of vitamins you cannot do without as a pregnant woman. They are important for the growth and development of the fetus, helps follicular development, and maintains energy generation through optimum metabolism. Folate especially prevents the formation of birth defects such as defects on the brain formation and that of the spinal chord.
The iron present in the juice helps maintain normal circulation of oxygenated blood round the body. Iron deficiency possess great risk to pregnant women, causing anemia. Calcium plays important role also, just as phosphorus, in bone formation and cellular development of the fetus.
Another reason why you should consume solanum muricatum is because of its anticancer properties. A regular consumption of a cup of pepino melon will protect you from carcinogens, and suppress the growth of cancer cells.
A study has shown that the fruit extract of pepino exerts antiproliferative activities on cancer cells by inducing apoptosis. Apoptosis is a programmed cell death. This is done without affecting the normal cells of the body.
Most cancer medications utilize apoptosis to suppress cancer cells. What this means is that pepino melon may actually be a reliable anticancer agent.
What are the best way to eat pepino melon?
How do you grow pepino melon plant?
In order to successfully grow a pepino plant, you would need to understand its basic soil requirements. Pepino can be grown in any of the soil type, be it sandy, loamy, humus or clay soil. However, it requires that the soil’s pH be alkaline, well draining soil. It grows well in a moist environment with exposure to sunlight.
The seed is sown in the early spring under shades. When they are grown to ascertain size and after the winter, you can then transplant them to their permanent location in the spring or early summer.
Pepino melon are a hermaphrodites.
The flowers of pepino melon possess both the male and female organs, meaning that they self pollinate themselves. Actually, they are pollinated by insects that came for the nectar. There can be cross pollination, however, this is not a dependent means of fertilization.
The plant usually starts flowering from August through October. The fruits start forming from September through November. Depending on the gene, the fruits may be white, purple, green, or ivory in color with purple striping.
Read more at Gardening Know How: What Is A Pepino: Tips On Growing Pepino Plants https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/pepinos/growing-pepino-plants.htm
Balogh, Enikő & Paragh, György & Jeney, Viktória. (2018). Influence of Iron on Bone Homeostasis. Pharmaceuticals. 11. 107. 10.3390/ph11040107.
Ren W, Tang DG. Extract of Solanum muricatum (Pepino/CSG) inhibits tumor growth by inducing apoptosis. Anticancer Res. 1999 Jan-Feb;19(1A):403-8. PMID: 10226574.