- Ash gourd, botanical nomenclature is Benincasa hispida, goes by several native names such as “Petha” in Hindi, “Boodida Gummadi” in Telugu, “kumbalam” in Malayalam, and “Neer Pooshnikkai” in Tamil.
- This green vegetable has been recognized for its significant medicinal benefits since time immemorial and is widely mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. In the present era, it continues to be heralded for its enormous health benefits and is vastly incorporated, in familiar local cuisine across our country, as well as in relieving symptoms of illnesses of the stomach, pancreas, liver, and skin, etc.
- Ash gourd naturally grows in South-East Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, and Nepal, as well as in the warmer southern regions in Australia continents.
- Ash gourd is a creeper that has big yellow flowers. The leaves are approx. 10 to 18 centimeters in length and have a hairy stem. The fruits are usually oval and sometimes long-oval in shape and grow up to 35 – 40 centimeters in diameter. The plant is grown by using seeds.
- Ash gourd is generally considered as a vegetable, which is used widely in cooking meals in a variety of Indian dishes such as sambhar, curry, mix veg. sabzi and dal, also used in making sweets called petha. Ash gourd has many therapeutic and remedial characteristics. Moreover, the roots and fresh juice of ash gourd also have applications in hair care and skincare.
- Ash gourd contains plenty of nutrition, as it has high water content provides a cooling /soothing effect on the body, contains a negligible amount of cholesterol thereby developing overall heart health and abounding in a glut of vitamins and minerals to aid key metabolic functions in the body.
- Nowadays Ash gourd is being consumed to a huge extent and not just in its indigenous milieus in Asia and Australia. The vegetable is propagated and harvested all over the world in hot and tropical environments, so that people can get advantages, for entire wellness.
Nutritional Content In Ash Gourd:
The seeds, leaves, and juice extract of ash-gourd vegetables are enriched with a plethora of fundamental dietary components like carbohydrates, fibers, fats, and proteins, vital trace compounds such as vitamins and minerals.
The 100 g serving of ash gourd contains – Calories 86.2 kcal
Accelerates weight loss
- Ash gourd, Being low on calories can help in weight loss.
- It is high in essential nutrients, can be taken regularly by those people who are strictly following a diet regime especially for diabetic people.
- Ash gourd also provides a humongous amount of dietary fibers that can be easily processed in the stomach, keeping one feeling full for a longer period, reduce frequent cravings, and helps in burning fat.
Augments Heart Function
- Ash gourd is having a negligible amount of cholesterol and can be safely consumed in the regular diet for promoting heart health.
- Boiled ash gourd vegetable can be added to many common homemade Indian dishes, as it helps in improving the circulation of blood to and from the heart, assuring normal functioning of cardiac muscles.
- Ash gourd helps in the normal excretion of body wastes via the excretory system in the body.
- It increases the secretions of fluids within the kidneys, instantly getting rid of collected toxins and at the same time, assuring sufficient hydration of the internal organs.
- The routine tasks of kidneys and bladder are supported by ash gourd as well.
Enhances Digestive System
- As Ash gourd is rich in fiber content, helps to relieve constipation, abdominal distension, bloating, and cramping of the stomach due to the ingestion of a heavy meal.
- Moreover, Ash gourd is purgative regulates routine bowel movements, thereby calming down any discomfort experienced in the gut.
Strengthens Respiratory System
- Ash gourd is expectorant by nature as well, which can help in expectorating excessive phlegm or mucous secretions by loosening it from the respiratory tract.
- It has a great impact on supporting the normal functioning of the lungs and also prevent allergies and breathing difficulties.
As Ketogenic Diet
- Ash gourd is a non-starchy vegetable, that’s why used in keto diets. In addition, being naturally low in carbohydrates and sugars can be an optimal component of a keto diet, which concentrates on lowering calorie intake.
- A quick recipe of stewed ash gourd vegetable and seasoning it with salt and pepper can be used on regular basis for lunch/dinner.
Ash Gourd Uses For Skin And Hair:
- Ash gourd contains smoothening or emollient Vitamin E, which naturally moistures skin.
- It has antioxidant properties as well.
- The gel extract from the ash gourd can be applied on rashes and sunburn. This will pacify the dried-up regions of the skin, leaving it smooth and completely moisturized.
Combat Skin Infections
- The residue of leaves has astringent quality.
- This helps in combating the highly inflamed spots on the skin.
- It also significantly reduces any boil, pus, or carbuncles, abscesses derived from skin allergies, fungal infections, and environmental factors like sun rays.
Promotes Hair Growth
- Ash gourd contains a great extent of vitamins and minerals which provide complete nourishment to the hair strands.
- When it is applied as a gel, it invades deep into the layers of the scalp.
- Helps in protecting follicles, thereby maintaining the strength of hair. If you are looking to gain long and healthy hair ash gourd is the best option.
Tackles Excessive Dandruff
- Ash gourd has the quality of reducing the intensity of dry itchy scalp and dandruff.
- It can also shelter the follicles, from the pollutants and fungus that trigger dandruff.
- Ash gourd gel, when applied routinely to the scalp and dry hair, can effectively improve the appearance of dull hair.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1000 plus patients worldwide.