Ash gourd is known as safed kaddu, white pumpkin, winter melon etc. In India it is hung in the entrance of the newly constructed house as a good omen and to ward off evil. It has long shelf life and can remain if uncut for even six months. Though it is a fruit, it is cooked as a vegetable and used in South Indian cuisine very often. In North India a sweet delicacy called ‘Petha’ is very popular.
Although ash gourd is widely used, you may not know that it helps us fight many ailments and prevents many more.It is highly nutritive with vitamins B, C and essential minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorous and fibre.
Helps in weight loss: Ash gourd contains 96 per cent of water and full of nutrients. Ash gourd is the best alternative to calorie loaded food. It would be appropriate to say that ash gourd is useful for ‘maintaining weight’ instead of weight loss as it is usually helps deal with anorexia helping underweight people get back to normal weight by boosting metabolism.
Mental illness: In Naturopathy ash gourd is used as brain food to treat mental illnesses and nervous disorders such as epilepsy, paranoia and insanity. It has a calming effect on nerves and brain. One glass of ash gourd juice can help deal with the stress of the day and keep us calm.
Stomach free of ulcers and intestinal parasites: Ash gourd alkaline in nature hence has a cooling and neutralizing effect on stomach acids and as such used effectively for treating digestive ailments like hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers. Ash gourd helps clear away all the harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestine by acting as an anti-microbial agent. This helps keep gastrointestinal infections and there by indigestion at bay. It also helps combat formation of ulcers on the membranes of stomach and intestine. Ash gourd juice is used to treat diabetes too.
Helps stop bleeding: Ash gourd helps control bleeding as it is a natural anti- coagulant. It works wonders for internal bleeding. It even helps stop nose bleed that occur in summer. Along with that bleeding through ulcers, piles and other such internal bleeds can be stopped by consuming ash gourd juice.
Kidney stones: The fresh juice of ash gourd is recommended for the removal of kidney stones. Ash gourd juice taken regularly mixed with jaggery and saltpetre heals urinary obstruction and dissolves kidney stones.
Beneficial for hair: The ash from burning the rind and seeds is mixed with coconut oil is used to promote hair growth and to treat dandruff.
The rich potassium content in the fruit helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
Every part of the fruit is useful. Leaves are rubbed on the bruises to heal them and seeds are used to expel worms from the intestines.
Ash gourd is one of the most inexpensive vegetables with innumerable health benefits which should definitely be a part of any nutritious diet.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna