Forgotten vegetable and medicinal plant are an interesting topic. Kemarungan (Coccinia grandis) are popular among the Indonesian X-generation childhood.  During the 80s-90s, this plant was still often found growing wild in gardens or on land boundary fields. Children at that time called the fruit of this plant, as snake food.  But nowadays, Kemarungan is difficult to find. This species may also put in the list of marginal vegetables in Indonesia.

But, for people who like outdoor activities, on several occasions, they can still found the plants.  They easily refer as wild cucumbers.  It is not surprising, because the plant has stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits, which are similar to cucumbers.  In fact, Coccinia grandis is member of Cucurbitaceae. And it is the reason why their appearance is similar.

Some literature mention that the origin of Kemarungan is from Eastern Africa.  But currently, the distribution includes tropical East Africa, India, tropical Asia, and Australia.  The plant has many local names in Indonesia.  We can found almost all regions in Indonesia.  Some local name of Coccinia grandis are, Ivy gourd (English), Kemarungan, Timun Padang, Timun Jepang, Bikan, Papasan, Kemarong, and Bolu Teke.

forgotten vegetable and medicinal plant

Forgotten vegetable and medicinal plant

The young shoot (leaves and long slender parts) and green fruits of Kemarungan is rich in beta carotene, riboflavin, folic acid, and ascorbic acid.  Young shoots are the common parts of vegetables during the 80s-90s.  The recipes from its plants are fried and boiled.  The young fruits also can be mixing with the shoots or become another dish such as soups or curries.  Kemarungan is growing wild and no report that people grew them for commercial purposes. 

Kemarungan has some medicinal benefits.  Peoples use the roots and leaves juice for diabetes and gonorrhoea treatment.  The leaves are also useful to treat external wounds in the skin.  The crushed leaves and stems can be used to relieve the headache and rheumatism.   

There are some beneficial effects from Kemarungan as medicinal plant.  The leaves and stems have an antibacterial effect which potentially uses as natural antibiotics.  Antidiabetic effect is possible to help peoples who have diabetic problems. While the antipyretic effect is useful to treat the fever. Overall, the most popular part of traditional medicine is leaves and roots.


Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses

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