Hu Lu Ke (Bottle Gourd Peel)

What Is Hu Lu Ke

Hu Lu Ke commonly known as Bottle Gourd Peel is the peel of Lagenaria siceraria var. depressa (Ser.) Hara, which is an annual climbing herb belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. It is a relatively common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Ri Hua Zi Zhu Jia Ben Cao> (Ri Hua-Zi’s Collected Materia Medica) in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907AD-979AD).

Lagenaria siceraria var. depressa (Ser.) Hara is a variant of Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. It is also called White-flowered gourd, bottle gourd, and Calabash.

bottle gourd

This plant is native to Africa and is now widely cultivated in tropical to temperate regions of the world. It is a thermophilic plant, not drought and waterlogging. They grow well in well-drained, fertile plains and low-lying lands.

In autumn, people gather the ripe fruits of Lagenaria siceraria var. depressa (Ser.) Hara, break them, remove their pulp and seeds, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Hu Lu Ke contains ascorbic acid, niacin, choline, vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, β-carotene, isovitexin, isoorientin, saponarin, triterpenes, protein, cellulose, lignin, volatile oil, carbohydrates, minerals, and some trace elements.

Generally, the solid Hu Lu Ke with a lightweight and light odor is preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal nature of Hu Lu Ke is relatively neutral, with a sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung and kidney meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to induce diuresis and remove swelling, and treat edema, abdominal distension, jaundice, gonorrhea, obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, atherosclerosis, ulcers, colitis, hemorrhoids, insanity, and skin diseases.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting ethyl phenylpropionate-induced ear swelling and carrageenan-induced paw swelling in mice.
  • Raising the pain threshold and inhibiting the pain caused by the formalin pain experiment and glacial acetic acid experiment in mice.
  • Scavenging DPPH radicals and ABTS radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation [1].
  • Inhibiting ADP-induced platelet aggregation, preventing atherosclerosis and thrombosis [2].
  • Inhibiting the body weight gain, lowering serum total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol contents, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in hyperlipidemia rats [3].
  • Inhibiting pancreatic lipase activity and lipid digestion, reducing the entry of lipids into the body [4].
  • Reducing CCL4-induced liver damage and protecting the liver.
  • Inducing diuresis and treating facial edema, extensive abdominal edema, and difficult urination.
  • Treating stranguria due to heat or hematuria.
  • Draining dampness and treating jaundice caused by damp-heat.
  • Its extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pyogenes [5].


Side Effects

  • In recent times it has been unearthed that bottle gourd juice with a bitter taste can cause severe toxic reactions and lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, hematemesis, hematochezia, shock, and death [6].

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Hu Lu Ke should be controlled at 15-30g.
  • It can be made into decoctions.
  • People who are allergic to bottle gourd should not take it.
  • Patients with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • Pregnant and lactating women should follow medical advice before taking it.