Herbs of the Holyland by Nissim Krispil

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Squirting cucumber
Common name:

Squirting cucumber

Synonym name:

פקוס אל-חמיר

Hebrew name:

ירוקת החמור

Scientific name:

Ecballium elaterium



Arabic name:

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perennial plant
0.15-0.30 m
Flowering color:
Flowering period:
Growing areas:
It grows in most regions of the country, mostly near towns and villages or as a weed in summer fields.


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Perennial weed that has an Extending growth and it belongs to the cucumber family. The stems are thick and succulent, covered with bristly hairs. Its leaves are coarse in their top side and covered with white hairs underside. It has Yellowish flowers and the fruit is a juicy Berry with lots of seeds inside and it covered with bristles.
Squirting cucumber is a common folk remedy to treat chronic sinusitis. But it is important to know that the sap of the fruit may be toxic, so it should be used according to the dosage indicated below.
Picking the fruit should be done carefully, because when touching the fruit it can cause it spraying the sap and seeds on us. And if it touches our eyes it may cause an unpleasant feeling and scorching.
Before touching the fruit , wrap it in plastic Cup then for severing it from the plant do a semi circular motion. The Sap will sputter into the Cup. When we arrive home we shall cut the whole fruit, drip out all its liquid and pump it into a pipette.
Chronic sinusitis : drip one or two drops into each nostril. Breath in gentle so that the drops will enter into the sinuses but won't reach the throat. A few minutes after the treatment your eyes start to shed tears and your nose secrete mucus and fluids. The process can take few hours, and it cleans up the sinuses.
For acute ear infections, drip one drop of the fruit sap into each ear.
For Chronic constipation: drip one drop into a full glass of water and drink.
Aspiration of fluid or instilling drops, beyond the recommended dosage may cause burning in the throat , hoarseness and dark circles around the eyes. Nevertheless squirting cucumber is a most effective treatment in cases of chronic Sinusitis, acute otitis severe constipation and even more.


The plant appears in the mishna : " squirting cucumber and  Squash plant and pure foods " (ohalot 8,1). The Arabic name 'fakus' implies of its fruit shape, which resembles a zucchini or cucumber.
During the time when the seed are ripening the fruit is full with a thick, yellowish fluid and when touching the fruit, it causes the liquid and seeds to splash out afar from the plant. The plants common name was driven from this trait that reminded people the spitting of a donkey.
Maimonides recommends using the sap of the fruit as a purgative. The Israeli Arabs use it as an antidote to jaundice, eye cataracts, accumulated fluids in the respiratory system, ear infections and constipation.