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Family Cucurbitaceae
Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw.

Yang si gua

Scientific names Common names
Chayota edulis (Jacq.) Jacq. Sayote (Tag.)
Sechium americanum Poir. Tsayote (Most dialects)
Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. Chayote (Engl.)
Sicyos edulis Jacq. Choyote (Engl.)
  Choko (Engl.)
  Christophine (Engl.)
  Pipinella (Engl.)
  Vegetable pear (Engl.)
Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Yang si gua.
FRENCH: Chayotte, Chou-chou, Chouchoute, Christofine, Christophine, Mirliton
HAWAIIAN: Pipinola
PERU: Gayota
SPANISH: Chocho, Pipinela, Tallote

Sayote is a tropical perennial vine, with stems climbing to 40 feet high. Rootstock is tuberous. Leaf petioles are 6 inches long. Leaves are hairy, broadly cordate, entire or angled, 10 to 20 centimeters long. Flowers are staminate, yellowish to pale green, in long racemes. Pistillate flowers are solitary, corolla 12 to 17 millimeters. Fruit is pear-shaped, light green, and slightly wrinkled or with shallow, narrow, longitudinal grooves, in some forms set with soft spines. Seed is single, large, with a smooth testa, clinging to the flesh, protruding from the fruit apex.

- Introduced.
- Probably native to Mexico.

- Cultivated

- Study yielded eight flavonoids including three C-glycosyl and five O-glycosyl flavones. The leaves gave the highest amount of flavonoids
- Phytochemical analysis of fruit (pulps and seeds) yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, and terpenoids. (See study below) (10)
- Nutrient analysis of raw chayote per 100 g: (Proximates) water 94.24 g, energy 19 Kcal, carbohydrates 4.51 g, protein 0.82 g, total fat 0.13 g, cholesterol 0, dietary fiber 1.7 g, total sugars 1.66 g; (Vitamins) thiamin 0.025 mg, vitamin B6 0.076 mg, folates 93 µg, niacin 0.470 mg, pantothenic acid 0.249 mg, pyridoxine 0.076 mg, riboflavin 0.029 mg, vitamin A 0 IU, vitamin C 7.7 mg, vitamin E 0.12 mg, vitamin K 4.1 µg; (Electrolytes) sodium 2 mg, potassium 125 mg; (Minerals) calcium 17 mg, iron 0.34 mg, magnesium 12 mg, manganese 0.189 mg, phosphorus 18 mg, selenium 0..2 µg, zinc 0.74 mg; (Lipids) total saturated fatty acids 0.028 g,total monosaturated FA 0.010 g, total polyunsaturated FA 0.057 g, trans FA 0, cholesterol 0. (23)

- Antiulcer, laxative, diuretic, antihypertensive, antioxidant.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, vasorelaxant, membrane stabilizing, hepatoprotective, antihyperglycemic, hypouricemic, antifungal properties.

Parts used
Leaves and fruit.

- The fruit, tuber, stems and leaves are edible.
- Leaves are used in stews.
- Low in fiber, high in carbohydrate and caloric content.
- Fruit is laxative.
- Raw pulp of the fruit is soothing for skin rashes.
- Roasted leaves help in the suppuration of boils.

- Decoction of leaves drunk to relieve urinary retention and dysuria (burning when urinating) and to dissolve kidney stones. (Lira 1988; Flores 1989; Yang and Walters 1992) (27)
- Fiber: Stem fibers used to make baskets and hats. In Ghana, used as binding material in construction of mud houses.

Antioxidant: Leaf ethanolic extracts and leaf and seed water extracts showed strong inhibitory activity by B-carotene bleaching. Results may be potentially exploited as biopreservatives and for health supplements or food to alleviate oxidative stress. (1)
Anti-hypertensive: Extract studies produced a fall in blood pressure. The mechanisms were not determined in the preliminary experiments. Further studies are indicated to delineate the mechanisms involved in decreased mean arterial pressure.
Flavonoids: Phytochemical study yielded eight flavonoids, including three C-glycosyl and five o-glycosyl flavones. Results showed the highest amount of flavonoids was in the leaves (35.0 mg/10 g of dried part), followed by roots (30.5 mg/10 g) and by stems (19.3 mg/10g). (3)
Antimicrobial: Alcoholic extracts of Sechium edule were tested against bacteria of clinical relevance as nosocomial pathogens. Results showed both fluid extract and tincture have very good antimicrobial efficacy against all strains of multiresistant staphylococci and enterococci and warrants further studies to isolate and identify the active principle/s. (4)
Radiopharmaceutical Labeling and Uptake Effect: The Effect of a Chayote (Sechium edule) Extracts (decocted and Macerated) on the Labeling of Blood Elements with Technetium- 9m and on the Biodistribution of the Radiopharmaceutical Sodium Pertechnetate in Mice: an In vitro and In vivo Analysis. The study suggests that some component of chayote extracts present an oxidant power to alter the biodistribution of Technitium-9m and cause alteration of the uptake in organs. (5)
Antiulcer: Treatment with an ethanolic extract of fruit significantly protected against aspirin-induced ulceration with reduction of total acidity, free acidity, gastric output and increase pH of gastric secretion (8).
Flavonoids: Study yielded eight flavonoids, including three C-glycosyl and five o-glycosyl flavones. Aglycone moieties are represented by apigenin and luteolin; the sugar units by glucose, apiose and rhamnose.
Antiepileptic / CNS Depressant Effect / Fruit: An ethanol extract of fruits was evaluated for antiepileptic and CNS depressant effect in a rats. Results showed significant reduction of duration of various phases of convulsion in MES- and PTZ-induced convulsion. There was dose-dependent reduction of locomotor activity in the CNS depressant model. (9)
Antibacterial / Food Borne Bacteria / Pulp: Study evaluated various extracts of S. edule fruits (pulp and seed) against food borne bacteria. Chloroform and methanolic extracts exhibited antibacterial activity against most of the gram negative bacteria tested (E coli, S. typhimurium, and S. flexneri). (10)
Antioxidant / RBC Membrane Stabilization: Study evaluated the influence of chayote extract on the morphology of red blood cells and on the radiolabeling of blood elements with technetium-99m. Results showed the chayote extract has antioxidant compounds which could be responsible for alteration of RBC morphology without altering the radiolabeling of blood elements. (11)
Antihypertensive / Vasorelaxant Effect: Study evaluated the a hydroalcoholic extract from roots, including fractions and subfractions, on different hypertension models induced with angiotensin II. Results showed an antihypertensive and vasorelaxant effect probably due to an AG II antagonism activity. The AG II antagonistic effect could also have a calcium antagonist effect. The presence of cinnamic acid derivatives could be responsible for the angiotensin II and calcium antagonist effect. (12)
Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Injury / Fruits: Study of ethanolic fruit extracts and its fractions showed significant hepatoprotective activity against CCl4 induced hepatotoxicity in rats in a dose dependent manner through it antioxidative effect on hepatocytes. (13)
Effect on Plasmid Puc.9.1. DNA: In this study, plasmid DNA was exposed to chayote extracts in the presence of stannous chloride and analyzed through agarose gel electrophoresis. Results showed the chayote extract was capable of damaging the DNA in the presence and/or absence of SnCl2. The effect might be due to generation of free radicals which might have induced lesions in the DNA molecule. (14)
Antihyperglycemic / Fruit: Study evaluated the preventive and therapeutic potentials of fruit juice of Benincasa hispida and Sechium edule in fructose and sucrose-sweetened beverages induced impaired glucose tolerance, oxidative stress and other IGT induced metabolic disturbances in rats. Results showed consumption of raw juice from vegetables may help ameliorate sweetened-beverages induced metabolic disturbances and impart health benefits to IGT individuals. (15)
Lowers Uric Acid: Study of sayote leaf extracts administered to hyperuricemic-induced rabbits showed a significant decrease of at least 25% of uric acid levels. Activity was attributed to flavonoids. No signs of toxicity or deaths occurred among the tested rabbits. (16)
Antidiabetic / Fruits: Study evaluated the effect of S. edule fruit extracts on alloxan induced diabetes in Wistar rats. Results showed significant decrease in blood glucose level, together with improvement of lipid profile. (17)
Antibacterial: Study evaluated the antibacterial activities of methanol extracts of ten Cameroonian vegetables against a panel of twenty nine Gram negative bacteria including MDR strains. All extracts exhibited antibacterial activities. S. edule was one of three extracts which displayed the largest spectra of activity, with inhibitory effects against all 29 Gram-negative test bacteria. S. edule was also more active than chloramphenicol on at least one of the test MDR bacteria. (18)
Antimicrobial: Study evaluated the antimicrobial properties of Sechium edule alcoholic extracts against bacteria of clinical relevance as nosocomial pathogens. Results indicate that both fluid extract and tincture have very good antimicrobial efficacy against all strains of multiresistant staphylococci and enterococci. (19)
Antibacterial / Antifungal: Study of various extracts of aerial parts of D. esculentum and Sechium edule and the fruits of S. muricatum showed significant antimicrobial activity against a panel of 12 medically important microorganisms. All plant extracts showed antifungal activity, with 66% and 49% of the bioassays showing fungistatic and fungicidal activity, respectively. Two yeasts, Cryptococcus neoformans and Issatchenkia orientalis were susceptible to all extracts. In the antibacterial screening assays, 49% showed bacteriostatic activity, while 21% showed bactericidal activity. (21)
• Leaves Lowering River Water Bacterial Count: Study evaluated the effectivity of Sechium edule leaves extract in lowering the bacterial count of water sample from Wawa River for household use. Results showed upstream and midstream colony count showed no significant difference while the downstream bacterial count showed significant difference, indicating a positive result for downstream colony count. (24)
• Cardioprotective / Fruits: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of fruits of Sechium edule for cardioprotective activity in rats challenged with s.c. administration of isoproterenol. Histopathology of hearts of ISO treated rats showed infiltration of inflammatory cells and muscle fiber changes suggesting of irreversible cell injury. Extract treated rats showed less degenerative changes compared to ISO-treated animals. (26)
• Antiproliferative on Tumor Cell Lines / Fruits: Study evaluated the anti-proliferative activity of crude ethanol extracts of fruits against three cancer cell lines viz., human cervical carcinoma (HeLa), mouse lung fibrosarcoma (L929), and mouse macrophage leukemia (P388). All varietal groups exhibited anti-proliferative activity against all tumour cell lines tested. (28)
• Inhibition of Lipogenesis / Stimulation of Lipolysis / Preventing of Fatty Liver / Polyphenol Extracts: Study investigated the effects and mechanisms of polyphenol extracts (SPE) of Sechium edule shoots in reducing lipid accumulation in oleic acid-treated HepG2 cells. Results showed a decrease in serum and hepatic lipid contents (e.g., triacylglycerol and cholesterol). Also, the water extracts and polyphenol extracts could decrease lipogenic relative enzymes (FAS, HMG-CoA reductase and SREBPs) via the AMPK signaling pathway, and increase the expression of CPT-1 and PPARa which are critical regulators of hepatic lipid metabolism. Study suggest potential for shoots as health food for prevention and treatment of fatty liver. (29)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated April 2018 / August 2014

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antioxidant activities of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz extracts / A A L Ordonez et al / Food Chemistry Vol 97, Issue 3, August 2006, Pages 452-458/ doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.05.024
The antihypertensive effects of the Jamaican Cho-Cho (Sechium edule) / Gordon E A et al / West Indian Med J. 2000 Mar;49(1):27-31
Study of Flavonoids of Sechium edule (Jacq) Swartz (Cucurbitaceae) Different Edible Organs by Liquid Chromatography Photodiode Array Mass Spectrometry / Tiziana Siciliano et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2004, 52 (21), pp 6510–6515 / DOI: 10.1021/jf040214q
Antimicrobial Activity of Nine Extracts of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz / A A L Ordoñez et al / Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, Volume 15, Issue 1 January 2003 , pages 33 - 39 / DOI: 10.1080/0891060010015583 /
The Effect of a Chayotte (Sechium edule) Extracts (Decoct and Macerated) on the Labeling of Blood Elements with Technetium- 9m and on the Biodistribution of the Radiopharmaceutical Sodium Pertechnetate in Mice: an In vitro and In vivo Analysis / Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
Year: 2003 | Volume: 2 | Issue: 4 | Page No.: 221-227 / DOI: 10.3923/pjn.2003.221.227/

Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. / Chinese names /Catalogue of Life, China
Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw., Cucurbitaceae / Names and description / PIER
Anti-Ulcer Activity of Sechium Edule Ethanolic Fruit Extract / Gandhu Sateesh, Syed Fathullah Hussaini, Gone Santhosh Kumar, Bodavula Samba Siva Rao / Pharma Innovation, IC Journal No: 7725, Vol. 1 No. 5 2012
Antiepileptic and central nervous system depressant activity of Sechium edule fruit extract
/ Sayeed Mohammed Firdous, Shafique Ahmed and Samiran Dey / Bangladesh J Pharmacol 2012; 7: 199-202
Antibacterial activity of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz against gram negative food borne bacteria / Sibi G, Kalpana Kaushik, K. Dhananjaya, K. R. Ravikumar and H. Mallesha / Advances in Applied Science Research, 2013, 4(2):259-261
Analysis of the biological effects of Sechium edule fruit extract: a morphological and radiobiological study / Dire, et al / Life Science Journal, Vol 6, No 3, 2009
Extracts and Fractions from Edible Roots of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. with Antihypertensive Activity / Galia Lombardo-Earl, Rubén Roman-Ramos, Alejandro Zamilpa, Maribel Herrera-Ruiz, Gabriela Rosas-Salgado, Jaime Tortoriello, and Enrique Jiménez-Ferrer / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014 (2014) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/594326
Study of the Effects of a Chayotte (Sechium edule) Extract on the Plasmid Puc.9.1 DNA / G. F. Dire et al / Plant Pathology Journal 6(1): 72-76, 2007
Preventive and Therapeutic Efficacies of Benincasa hispida and Sechium edule Fruit's Juice on Sweet-beverages Induced Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Oxidative Stress / Ashok Kumar Tiwari, Iragavarapu Anusha, Maddineni Sumangali, Domati Anand Kumar, Kuncha Madhusudana and Sachin Bharat Agawane / Pharmacologia, Volume 4 Issue 3, 2013
News: Sayote leaves lower uric acid level / By Hope B Bongolan / R & D Updates / Philippine Council for Health Researc and Development
EVALUATION OF ANTIDIABETIC ACTIVITY OF ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF SECHIUM EDULE FRUITS IN ALLOXAN-INDUCED DIABETIC RATS / Sonali Maity, Firdous SM*, Debnath R / World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 5, 3612-3621.
Antibacterial activities of the methanol extracts of ten Cameroonian vegetables against Gram-negative multidrug-resistant bacteria / Jaurès AK Noumedem, Marius Mihasan, Stephen T Lacmata, Marius Stefan, Jules R Kuiate* and Victor Kuete* / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:26 / doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-26
Antimicrobial Activity of Nine Extracts of Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz / A. A. L. Ordoñez, J. D. Gomez, N. M. Cudmani, M. A. Vattuone and M. I. Isla / Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, 2003, Vol 15, No 1, Pages 33-39 / (doi:10.1080/0891060010015583)
Comparative Analysis of the Biological Effects Related to a Natural Extract Processed from the Bark of Chayote (Sechium Edule) / G.F. Dire, et al / Global Veterinaria 4 (3): 225-229, 2010
Antifungal and antibacterial properties of three medicinal plants from Malaysia / Gwee Pei Shing, Chen Li Wen, Tan Syu Wei, Ong Hean Chooi, Khoo Kong Soo and Sit Nam Weng* / Pharmacognosy Communications, Volume 3 | Issue 2 | Apr–Jun 2013
Sechium edule / Synonyms / The Plant List
Chayote, fruit, raw: Nutrient Analysis / USDA: National Nutrient Database
Effectivity of Sechium edule (Chayote) leaves extract in lowering the bacterial count of Wawa river for household use of Dumagat people. / Gerald M Borromeo, Jessie C Roxas, Stevenson S Sayson / College of Medical Laboratory Science, Our Lady of Fatima University / Herdin Record #: NCR-OLFU-14052009403618 
Sechium edule / Plants For A Future
Cardioprotective activity of fruits of Sechium edule / Kosanam Neeraja, Rabindra Debnath, S. M. Firdous / Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology, Vol 10, No 1 (2015)
Chayote, Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw / Rafael Lir Saade / GoogleBooks
The antiproliferative effect of chayote varieties (Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw.) on tumour cell lines / Jorge Cadena-Iñiguez, Marcos Soto-Hernández, Ana Torres-Salas, Itzen Aguiñiga-Sánchez, Lucero Ruiz-Posadas, Ana Rocío Rivera-Martínez, Carlos Avendaño-Arrazate and Edelmiro Santiago-Osorio* / JOURNAL OF MEDICINAL PLANTS RESEARCH
The Polyphenol Extract from Sechium edule Shoots Inhibits Lipogenesis and Stimulates Lipolysis via Activation of AMPK Signals in HepG2 Cells / Wu, Cheng-Hsun, Ou Ting-Tsz, Chang Chun-Hua, Chang Xiao-Zong, Yang Mon-Yuan, Wang Chau-Jong / Journ of Agric and Food Chem (2014), Vol 62, No 3: pp 750-759

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