Ash gourd is a nutritive, annual, hairy climbing herb. It is an ash colored, large fruit vegetable like pumpkin. It is also known as white gourd or wax gourd.
Ash gourd consists of substantial amount of moisture and a little amount of protein, fat, fiber and carbohydrates. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, iron, phosphorus, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C. The seeds contain pale yellow oil.
Botanical Name- Benincasa hispida
Indian Name- Petha
Below are some of the medicinal properties of ash gourd:
- The dilute juice of ash gourd is useful in the treatment of peptic ulcer. The juice, squeezed out of grated ash gourd with an equal amount of water added to it, should be taken daily in the morning on an empty stomach. No food should be consumed for 2 to 3 hours afterwards. This also relieves inflammation in the alimentary canal.
- A delicious sweet prepared from pulp of the fruit by boiling its pieces in water and adding sugar syrup to it is used as a medicine to increase weight, in tuberculosis, weakness of the heart, heat in the body, thinness of semen and anemia.
- The peel and seeds of ash gourd, boiled in coconut oil are useful in hair growth; prevent dandruff and dryness of the scalp.
- Ash gourd acts as a blood coagulant. From ancient times, its fresh juice mixed with a teaspoon of gooseberry or lime juice is used as a specific medicine to stop profuse bleeding from lungs and presence of blood cells in the urine.
- Due to its diuretic action, it increases the output of urine and washes out waste products from the body.
- Shelled seeds of ash gourd are anabolic - that promote tissue growth - especially when taken with coconut milk they expel tape worm and other worms from the intestine.
The unripe fruit of ash gourd is cooked as a vegetable. The ripe fruit is largely used for making sweetmeat. The young leaves and buds are also cooked.