Latin name: Benincasa hispida, B. cerifera.
Sanskrit/Indian name: Kushmanda, Petha.
Wax gourd is an annual climbing plant. The whole plant is covered with soft tiny hairs. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name Wax gourd. The nutritious fruit is used to prepare a variety of vegetable dishes. In North India, it is used to prepare a sweet dish called Petha.
In Ayurveda, the fruit and seeds are beneficial for the management of a host of medical problems including epilepsy, diabetes, obesity, peptic ulcers, internal bleeding, haematuria, asthma and many more.
It has a Sweet taste and a COOLING potency. Balances Vata and Pitta. Ripe Ash Gourd balances all the three body elements (Vata, Pitta & Kapha).
Brain tonic, sedative, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, diuretic, demulcent, expectorant, febrifuge, aphrodisiac, cardiac tonic.
Recent research has shown that the fruits contain anti-cancer terpenes.
- Ash gourd calms nerve cells and acts as a brain tonic. It also helps deal with mental illnesses such as epilepsy, insomnia, anxiety.
- It is ideal for diabetics and patients suffering from obesity.
- It combats general debility due to its nutritious and strengthening properties. The seeds are anabolic and encourage tissue growth
- Eating Ash Gourd murabba, chutney or drinking thandai (a cooling drink made from its crushed seeds) is a good option in summers.
- The cooling and its basic nature helps in treating peptic ulcers and relieving acidity due to spicy foods or fasting for a long time.
- Ash Gourd is ideal for people who suffer from constipation and related gastro-intestinal problems, e.g. piles, gas.
- The seeds of Ash Gourd act as an anthelmintic agent. It has a specific action on Tapeworm.
- It works wonders for internal bleeding and is useful in treatment of haematuria, bleeding ulcers, bleeding piles.
There are no contraindications as such for the fruit eaten as vegetables. Therapeutic doses should be taken only on prescription of an Ayurvedic physician.