Saheed Sabiu*, Christiana Eleojo Aruwa, Viresh Mohanlall and Himansu Baijnath Pages 471 - 481 ( 11 )
Background: Momordica balsamina L. is a monoecious climbing vine and perennial herb native to the tropical regions of Asia, Arabia and the Caribbean, and with a prominent presence in Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Southern African provinces. While evidence of its anecdotal usage as medicine exists, scientific reports complementing the claims are at their infancy or still emerging.Objective: This review presents an appraisal of the morphology, therapeutic and biotechnological significance of M. balsamina. Method: Online resources such as Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect and MeSH were utilized for literature search and relevant information from inception till May 2020 was included in the review to streamline sought outcomes for in-depth discussion. Results: The data gathered and considered worthy of inclusion in this study revealed that M. balsamina is rich in phytonutrients of medicinal significance including cucurbitane-type triterpenoids, balsamin and momordins. These compounds and other novel bioactive agents in M. balsamina have been found to possess remarkable pharmacological attributes and could further be harnessed for use against several debilitating human disorders. Conclusion: The potential applications of M. balsamina as a nutraceutical and pharmaceutical agent should not be undermined. Also, with the inadequate toxicological data on this wild species, its consumption should be with caution and translational studies that could advance scientific knowledge and aid better understanding of both its pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics properties without sidelining its potent biotechnological applications are highly encouraged. It is hoped that this paper will provide baseline information that could serve as a guide and inspiration for further studies on the prospects of M. balsamina.
Momordica balsamina, balsam apple, balsamin, cucurbitane, momordin, biotechnological application.
Department of Biotechnology and Food Science, Durban University of Technology, P.O. Box 1334, Durban, 4000, Department of Biotechnology and Food Science, Durban University of Technology, P.O. Box 1334, Durban, 4000, Department of Biotechnology and Food Science, Durban University of Technology, P.O. Box 1334, Durban, 4000, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban, 4000