Versatile Nutraceutical Potentials of Watermelon-A Modest Fruit Loaded with Pharmaceutically Valuable Phytochemicals

Molecules. 2020 Nov 11;25(22):5258. doi: 10.3390/molecules25225258.


Watermelon (Citrulus lantus) is an important horticultural crop which belongs to the Curcubitaceae family. The nutraceutical potential of watermelon has been illustrated by several researchers, which makes it a better choice of functional food. Watermelon has been used to treat various ailments, such as cardio-vascular diseases, aging related ailments, obesity, diabetes, ulcers, and various types of cancers. The medicinal properties of watermelon are attributed by the presence of important phytochemicals with pharmaceutical values such as lycopene, citrulline, and other polyphenolic compounds. Watermelon acts as vital source of l-citrulline, a neutral-alpha amino acid which is the precursor of l-arginine, an essential amino acid necessary for protein synthesis. Supplementation of l-citrulline and lycopene displayed numerous health benefits in in vitro and in vivo studies. Similarly, the dietary intake of watermelon has proven benefits as functional food in humans for weight management. Apart from the fruits, the extracts prepared from the seeds, sprouts, and leaves also evidenced medicinal properties. The present review provides a comprehensive overview of benefits of watermelon for the treatment of various ailments.

Keywords: anti-cancer; anti-diabetic; functional food; l-citrulline; lycopene; obesity; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Citrulline / chemistry
  • Citrullus / chemistry*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Functional Food
  • Horticulture
  • Humans
  • Lycopene / chemistry
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Citrulline
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Lycopene