.Ash gourd (Benincasa hispida) also called wax gourd, winter melon, Chinese watermelon, or white gourd, is a fleshy vine of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), grown for its edible fruits. The ash gourd is native to tropical Asia, where it is commonly used for juices, soups, curries, and stir-fries and is sometimes made into a beverage. Like other gourds, the fruit has a long shelf life and can be stored for many months. Read on to know about Health Benefits of Ash Gourd and Ash gourd Juice ( Weight Loss and Digestion ).
The ash gourd is an annual plant that grows as a trailing vine or creeper with solitary yellow flowers. When immature, ash gourd has white thick flesh which is sweet. By the time it reaches maturity, it loses the hairy texture and a waxy coating is developed which provides a long shelf life. Mature fruits are green and contain flat white seeds. This powdery waxy coating is where the melon derives its common name – ‘ash gourd’.
Names of Ash Gourd in India:
Hindi – Petha, pethakaddu
Udupi – Boldu Kumbda
Manipuri – Torobot
Marathi – Kohla
Tamil – Neer poosanikai
Malayalam – Kumbalanga
Telugu – Boodida Gummadikaaya
Gujrati – Kolu
Kannada – Budi KumblakayiBengali – Kumra, chaalkumro
Assamese – Komora
Taste and Uses of Ash Gourd
Ash gourd is used to prepare a sweet candy called petha. In Himalayas, t is paired with pulses (Mung) to make a dish called bori. Ash gourd becomes hard when sun dried and gets a longer shelf life. Hence, can be used in curry dishes and eaten with rice or chapati.
Maharashtrians use it is to prepare a sweet dish called Kohalyachi Vadee (Burfi), as well as dal ans sambhar.
In South Indian cuisine, it is traditionally used to make a variety of curries as well as yougurt based stew. In Andhra Pradesh, it is used to make stews, stir fries and vadialu. Vadialu are made by chopping the gourd in small pieces and mixing with ground urad beans and spices, then sun-drying. Kannadigas use it to prepare dishes like Kodel, Ale bajji, Kashi Halwa and chutney.
The juice of the raw ash gourd (Maipawl or Khar) is used by the people of North-East India as a natural remedy to treat mild to severe dysentery. In Bengal there are various dishes made with it like ChalKumro’r Bora, Chalkumro ghonto, Chalkumror dudh curry, as well as Chal kumro with mung dal.
In general, on colder days, you can add either honey or black pepper to ash gourd and reduce the natural cooling qualities in the fruit while retaining its raw energy boost. Ash gourd should be eaten raw to retain maximum vital energy.
Nutritional value of Ash Gourd:
100 grams portion of raw ash gourd comprises 96% water and is very low in calories, fat, protein, and carbs. Yet, it remains rich in fiber as well as it provides small amounts of various nutrients.
|Value||13 kcal||3 gm||0.4 gm||0.1 gm||3 gm||14% DV*||8% DV||6% DV|
*DV – daily value
Ash gourd also contains smaller amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, as well as other B vitamins. In addition to vitamin C, ash gourd is a good source of flavonoids and carotenes. These two antioxidants are believed to help protect your body against cell damage and certain conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Health Benefits of Ash Gourd and Ash Gourd Juice:
Helps in weight loss
Ash gourd is low in calories and high in nutrients. Hence, it facilitates weight loss. Ash gourd also contains dietary fibre that keeps you fuller for longer, reduces cravings, as well as helps to burn fat faster. Fibre keeps the blood sugar levels at check, therefore beneficial for diabetics.
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Ash gourd stimulates the regular functions of our kidneys and bladder. This aids in the proper disposal of body wastes. A study published in the Jiangsu Journal of Agricultural Sciences found that compounds in ash gourd illustrated strong kidney protection benefits when tested in rats with kidney damage. It acts like a diuretic as well as increases the release of fluids within the kidneys, allowing toxins to be excreted quickly. It also ensures optimum hydration of the body’s internal organs.
The fibre in ash gourd helps to reduce constipation, bloating, as well as stomach cramping after a big meal. Ash gourds laxative properties regulate bowel motions, alleviating any stomach discomfort.
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Methanolic extract extracted from ash gourd seeds has powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. This gives a natural pain relieving effect.
Fights intestinal parasites and heals ulcers
Ash gourd prevents ulcers in the stomach and intestinal membranes. Peptic ulcers can be treated by drinking ash gourd juice mixed with equal parts water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It gives a cooling effect by neutralizing the acidity caused by spicy foods or long periods of fasting. It also helps in avoiding acid reflux. Antimicrobial qualities of ash gourd aid in preventing gastrointestinal infections as well as indigestion in the stomach and intestine.
Cures internal bleeding
Internal bleeding in the kidney produces illnesses like hematuria (blood in the urine) as well as bleeding from piles, ulcers, and other internal bleeding, which can be relieved quickly by combining fresh ash gourd juice with lemon.
Increased energy and alertness
Daily consumption of ash gourd increases the energy level and enhances your intellectual capabilities and brings a state of calmness overall.
For skin and hair
The combination of ash gourds with lemon or other moisturizing ingredients can help to lighten dark spots on the face, and give your skin a healthy glow. To get rid of and prevent dandruff, apply ash gourd juice to your scalp and hair. The juice can help dull hair regain its health and shine over time, and improve bald patches.
The astringent content in the extract generated from ash gourd leaves helps to neutralize the skin’s highly inflamed patches, boils, abscesses, as well as carbuncles in the skin. Fungus, allergies, pollution, and sun exposure can cause carbuncles.
Ash gourd juice is easy to make. Adding a bit of salt, pepper and lemon to the juice makes it more palatable and tasty, and is very hydrating. Ash gourd juice is very beneficial and healthy for a variety of ailments as well as for general good health. Health Benefits of Ash Gourd and Ash gourd Juice ( Weight Loss and Digestion ).
With so many health benefits, ash gourd is definitely a wonder addition to the daily diet. With the umpteen nutritional benefits and a low caloric value, ash gourd will help maintain a healthy weight. This remarkable natural wonder, which belongs to the cucumber and squash family, also provides valuable curative properties for conditions such as fever, jaundice and diabetes. This is owing to its noteworthy antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, due to the presence of beneficial plant compounds like flavonoids and carotenoids.