An extremely popular and nutritious vegetable throughout the tropical and subtropical region, Ash Gourd has been used for centuries for its medicinal capabilities. From aiding in weight loss to helping prevent and relieve mental illnesses, the ash gourd has been proven to benefit individuals from the inside out.
Botanical Name and Family of Ash Gourd
The botanical name of ash gourd is Benincasa hispida. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae or Curcurbits family and is closely related to cucumbers, squash, watermelon and luffa. Ash gourd has quite a few names including white pumpkin, winter gourd, winter melon, tallow gourd and kushmanda.
What Is Ash Gourd?
Ash gourd is a vine that yields a fruit that on maturation loses all its hair and takes on a wax-like coating. Although ash gourd bears fruit, it is considered a vegetable as it is popularly used to prepare stews, soups and stir-fry dishes throughout South and East Asia. In parts of India and Pakistan, the fruit is used to make a sweet candy called Petha.
Active Ingredients Found in Ash Gourd
Ash gourd contains several minerals, amino acids and starch. It also contains triterpene compounds called mutiflorenol and alunsenol. It is a rich source of mucins, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Health Benefits of Ash Gourd
Ash gourd has been used in Ayurveda to deal with lung diseases, cough, asthma, epilepsy, tapeworm infestation and urine retention. Due to its action of nerve cell stabilization, it can help as a general health tonic to deal with exhaustion.
Research shows this fruit to possess antioxidant and anti-ulcer activity; it has been used against acidity and peptic ulcers as well as a laxative. Ash gourd has also shown valuable anti-aging effects.
Studies even suggest that this fruit has the ability to help deal with mental illnesses as it acts as a natural sedative, producing a calming effect on the nerves and brain. Ash gourd is used to alleviate conditions related to the nervous system such as paranoia, epilepsy, anxiety, neurosis and insomnia.
So, if you’re having a hard time dealing with the stresses that a long day has caused you, drink a glass of ash gourd because a glass of its juice a day can help keep stress at bay.
How to Use Ash Gourd
The outer hard rind of the gourd and the seeds must be removed and the soft, inner pulp can be cooked in the form of stews and soups. The fruits, the seeds and the oil from the seeds are used. Ash gourd is also used to make juice.
Side Effects of Ash Gourd
Ash gourd is safe for general use. It should be used in limited quantities by persons struggling with obesity. Use must also be limited by persons with respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma and cold, especially during winter.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Sabale V, Kunjwani H, Sabale P. Formulation and in vitro evaluation of the topical antiaging preparation of the fruit of Benincasa hispida. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011 Jul;2(3):124-8. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.85550. PubMed PMID: 22022154; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3193683.
Rachchh MA, Jain SM. Gastroprotective effect of Benincasa hispida fruit extract. Indian J Pharmacol. 2008 Nov-Dec; 40(6): 271–275. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.45154. PMCID: PMC3025145