Scientific Name:Citrullus lanatus
About this Herb:Watermelon is a vine-like (scrambler and trailer) flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp). Pepos are derived from an inferior ovary, and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon – although not in the genus Cucumis – has a smooth exterior rind (green, yellow and sometimes white) and a juicy, sweet interior flesh (usually deep red to pink, but sometimes orange, yellow and even green if not ripe).
The more than 1200 varieties of watermelon range in weight from less than one to more than 200 pounds; they also come any many shapes including the japan's square shaped watermelon. The cube design is obtained by growing the melons in jars of said shape.
The amino-acid citrulline was first extracted from watermelon and analyzed. Watermelons contain a significant amount of citrulline and after consumption of several kilograms, an elevated concentration is measured in the blood plasma; this could be mistaken for citrullinaemia or other urea cycle disorders.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often have detectable antibodies against proteins containing citrulline. Although the origin of this immune response is not known, detection of antibodies reactive with citrulline (anti-citrullinated protein antibodies) containing proteins or peptides is now becoming an important help in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
In recent studies, citrulline has been found to relax blood vessels. Circulating citrulline concentration is, in humans, a biomarker of intestinal functionality.
Common Names:Watermelon, melon, seed melon
Uses:Watermelon may be a natural Viagra because the popular summer fruit is richer than experts believed in an amino acid called citrulline, which relaxes and dilates blood vessels much like Viagra and other drugs meant to treat erectile dysfunction. The amino acid citrulline is converted into the amino acid arginine. This is a precursor for nitric oxide, and the nitric oxide will help in blood vessel dilation.
Watermelon rinds, usually a light green or white color, are also edible and contain many hidden nutrients [vague], but most people avoid eating them due to their unappealing flavor. They are sometimes used as a vegetable. In China, they are stir-fried, stewed or more often pickled. When stir-fried, the skin and fruit is removed, and the rind is cooked with olive oil, garlic, chili peppers, scallions, sugar and rum. Pickled watermelon rind is also commonly consumed in the Southern US. Watermelon juice can be made into wine.
Watermelon is mildly diuretic and contains large amounts of beta carotene and the dark red variety is the lycopene leader among fresh produce. Watermelon with red flesh is a significant source of lycopene. Preliminary research indicates the consumption of watermelon may have antihypertensive effects.
Applications:Juice: Drinking three 8 ounce glasses of watermelon juice every day is said to increase your arginine levels to 11 % after 3 weeks.
Infusion: Enjoy this delicious fruit as much and as often as you can, it is low calorie and very healthy.