|By goGreen | August 16, 2011|
Botanical Name: Trichosanthes anguina
Also known as Chinese cucumber and belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. It is a rapidly growing vine; leaves are angular and hairy, with 5-7 lobes which emit a foetid odor when bruised. Flowers are white in color; the fruits are large and greenish white. They reach up to 150 cm. in length and 8 cm. in thickness. The tender immature fruits are cooked as vegetables.
Snake gourd is a very nutritious vegetable. It shows that Snake Gourd is a very nutritious vegetable with an analysis that shows it consists of:
- moisture 94.6 percent
- protein 0.5 percent
- fat 0.3 percent
- fibre 0.8 percent and
- Carbohydrates 3.3 percent per 100 grams of edible portion
Its mineral and vitamin contents are:
- calcium 26 mg. percent
- phosphorus 20 mg. percent
- iron 0.3 mg. percent
- carotene 96mg. percent
- thiamin 0.04 percent
- riboflavin 0.06 mg percent
- niacin 0.3 mg. percent
Its calorific value is 18.
The juice of the fresh leaves is beneficial in heart disorders like palpitation and pain in the heart on physical exertion. It should be taken in doses of 1 to 2 tablespoons thrice daily. The juice is also useful in the treatment of alopecia, a disease of the scalp resulting in complete or baldness and in the treatment of jaundice.
Snake Gourd has been proven to cure—
Snake gourd is useful in reducing bilious fever. A decoction of the fruits should be prepared for use in this condition. Its ability is increased if it is given with chiretta and honey. In obstinate cases of fevers, a combined infusion of this plant and of coriander will be more beneficial. About 12 grams of each should be infused in water overnight. The strained liquid should be given in two parts the next day. A decoction of the leaves of the plant, made with the addition of coriander leaves, is also useful in bilious fever. The leaf juice is used to induce vomiting. In remittent fever, the leaf juice is applied as a liniment over the body.
Snake gourd is considered useful in wasting and thirst, which is an ancient reference to diabetes. This has led to investigations of its potential to treat this disease. Modern Chinese treatments for diabetes frequently include Snake gourd root as an ingredient. Even otherwise, being a low-calorie food, this vegetable can be used liberally with advantage by Type-II diabetics to reduce weight and also at the same time get adequate nourishment.
The juice of the fresh leaves is useful in the disorders of the heart like palpitation and pain in the heart on physical exertion. The juice should be given in doses of one to two tablespoons thrice daily.
An infusion of the leaves is beneficial in the treatment of jaundice. It should be given in 30 to 60 grams doses with coriander seed decoction thrice daily.
As a Purgative
Juice of the snake gourd root is a strong purgative, while an infusion of the dried fruit is a mild one. It also aids digestion. The leaves of the plant are useful as an emetic and purgative in children suffering from constipation. A teaspoon of the fresh juice should be given early in the morning for this purpose. The seeds are especially useful as a moistening agent for treating dry constipation.
The seeds of the snake gourd should not be taken in excess of prescribed dosage as their overdose may cause gastric discomfort, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea; due to their high content of oil. The fruits are contraindicated in cold with diarrhea. Snake gourd root should be used cautiously during pregnancy as high doses may have an abortifacient effect.