Watermelon rind, also known as Pericarpium Citrulli Vulgaris in pharmaceutical Latin, is something undesirable after the flesh has been consumed, right? But what would be your first response if you are told that it is packed with nutrients? In fact, you are not alone and it comes as a surprise to many to hear that watermelon rind is like Viagra. More than that, thanks to its excellent medicinal properties, it has many more medicinal uses. That’s to say, it has been commonly used as a Chinese herbal medicine, called Xi Gua Pi in Pinyin, for the treatment of diabetes, nephritis edema, acne, erectile dysfunction (ED), wounds, and so on. So, is it good for you? However, the most credible saying is that it depends.
What is watermelon rind?
Medicinally it mainly refers to the mesocarp of Citrullus vulgaris Schrad. This is a member in the genus citrullus of Cucurbitaceae family. The processing steps are to peel the epicarp and pulp residue, wash, and dry. Besides, watermelon seeds are also used medicinally.
Dried rind is thin and curled. It is in cylindrical or irregular shapes and of different sizes, with yellow, yellow-green or dark brown outer surface and inner surface with reticular vascular bundle lines. IT is brittle and easily broken. Those without the outer peel are irregularly blocky, wrinkled and curled, with sallow surface, clear wrinkles, and reticular vascular bundles. And it is slightly odorous and almost tasteless.
Peels contain sugar and wax. And watermelon rind juice contains citrulline, betaine, malic acid, fructose, glucose, sucrose, lycopene, vitamin C and so on.
Watermelon rind benefits
Modern pharmacology shows that citrulline contained can promote the formation of urea in rat liver. So, it has a diuretic effect and can be used to treat nephritis edema, jaundice due to liver disease, and diabetes. In addition, it can still alleviate fever, promote wound healing and promote skin metabolism. In summary, 7 major health benefits of eating watermelon rind are as follows
1) U.S. researchers recently found that watermelon is more than just an ordinary fruit since it contains an amino acid called citrulline. This interesting topic actually stems from the fact that citrulline is found with similar pharmacological effects with Viagra. That being said, citrulline acts like an aphrodisiac by increasing the amount of blood that enters the cavernosa and promoting the release of nitric oxide. Is watermelon rind better than Viagra? Well, this is a good question. It must be said, though, that eating watermelon alone won’t be highly effective, which is consistent with the results of the latest research – you must eat at least 30 watermelons to have the same effect of a Viagra. So, long term use of it is a good idea if you know how to use it to make delicious dishes;
2) In summer days the scorching sun may make some people feel a variety of symptoms like chest discomfort, low spirits, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever and so on. And these symptoms won’t go away if the hot weather continues, and what’s worse, they would just come the following summer. In fact, this series of symptoms are not caused by organic cause but the invasion of human body by summer-heat and damp and thus the repression of spleen-stomach Qi, according to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine. These symptoms are mainly found in children who drink too much and women who have a sedentary living. And watermelon peel is one of those healthy foods that can be of help;
3) Acne is kind of skin disease that occurs in the hair-follicle sebaceous glands. The causes of acne vary, but the most direct factor is the clogged pores. After the pores are blocked, grease inside the hair follicles fails to drain out and piles up to form small acne. Due to different response of the individuals, the extent of damage caused by acne is different. And the clinical performance is not always the same either. Some people only have small acne, but some others have severe cysts, which in the end will lead to acne marks or even scars. For those acne caused by heat, eating watermelon rinds can be a good way to go;
4) It is low in calories, about only 31 calories in 100 grams. That means it is possible to lose weight by replacing it with the intake of staple food. The health benefits of its juice cannot be ignored as well. It helps increase the flow of urine, which therefore not only reduces the level of bile pigment, but also keeps a regular bowel movement every day. But it is the tannins that can make you slimming. The excess carbohydrates won’t provide energy to maintain your daily activities. Instead they are transformed into neutral fat, such as subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, and so on. Good news is that the ingestion of tannic acid can help decompose and burn fat rapidly. In addition, watermelon peel is rich in potassium, which increases secretion of urine and alleviates water retention. As a result, it expels the excess salt from the body and reduces edema, especially the swelling of the legs. In this respect, it is a natural way to give women shapelier legs;
5) Chinese medicine believes that prickly heat is mainly caused by the accumulation of summer heat in combination with dampness in the skin, followed by the clogged pores. Because it clears heat and drains the damp, it works on the prevention and treatment of prickly heat, both externally and internally;
6) It is good for skin since the citrulline contained can promote skin metabolism, lighten skin, improve moisture in the skin, and get rid of acne marks. In addition, it is high in vitamin C and vitamin E, which makes it a great ingredient for face mask. More importantly, it is quite easy to use – mash it and then put them on the face for 15 minutes before the cleansing. As you can see, the face mask is that simple. But it does make the skin smooth and tender. In addition, it has some effect in the treatment of sunburn too;
7) It can be used to treat lung injury due to summer heat, fever, thirst, dry cough with no phlegm, or constipation.
Sample watermelon rind recipes on herbal remedies
The Chinese Materia Medica says that it is sweet in flavor and cool and non-toxic in nature. It goes to meridians of heart, stomach, and urinary bladder. Major functions are clearing heat, relieving thirst, and increase the flow of urine. Key watermelon rind uses and indications include fidget and thirst due to summer-heat, scarcity of urine secretion, edema, and mouth sores. Recommended dosage is from 9 to 30 grams. Besides, in the market there are many related items ready for use, e.g. watermelon rind pickles, preserves, jelly, candy, jam, powder, pills, tea, soup, and so on.
1) Xian Dai Shi Yong Zhong Yao (The “Modern Practical Chinese Drugs”) reads that it combines with Rhizoma Imperatae to treat nephritis and edema;
2) She Sheng Zhong Miao Fang (Marvelous Formulas for the Health of the Multitudes) records that it can cure lower back strain and pulled back muscle after it is dried in the shade, ground into powder, and mixed with salt and wine;
3) Ben Cao Hui Yan (Treasury of Words on the Materia Medica) says that it heal toothache by applying its ash in the affected area between the teeth.
Watermelon rind side effects and contraindications
Is watermelon rind edible? Yes. But a consumption of a large amount of it may cause injury of stomach and spleen. As a result, it will thus lead to gastrointestinal dysfunction, diarrhea and other diseases. So, TCM wise it shouldn’t be used in the patients with retention of cold and dampness in spleen and stomach.