The Miraculous Health Benefits of Ash Gourd (पेठा)
Table Of Content
Ash gourd Also known as Winter-melon, or Kohala in Marathi and Petha in Hindi, Ash Gourd is a round or oblong melon, native to South Asia. It grows on a vine and is very similar in size and colour to a watermelon. When ripe, the ash gourd’s exterior transforms from its fuzzy surface into a waxy, ash-coloured exterior, which also lends the gourd its name.
It has a mild taste, similar to that of a cucumber. The flesh of the ash gourd is commonly added to Indian and Chinese dishes.
The ash gourd has been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal formulations since centuries. It is considered a particularly effective treatment against diabetes. Its fruit, leaf, root and juice find use in ayurvedic medicines for fevers, jaundice, heart ailments, and bone disorders.
Ash Gourd’s Nutrition Profile
Ash gourd is rich in fibre but low in calories. It has a negligible amount of fat and carbs but scores high in micronutrients and vitamins. It is rich in Vitamin C, Roboflavin—which helps the body to synthesise macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fats) to generate energy. It also contains flavonoids and carotenes—powerful antioxidants act protect the body from free radical damage,
Ash Gourd Health Benefits
1. Fights diabetes
Its low calorie-high-fibre combination slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, thereby bringing down blood sugar levels (BSL). It also increases safety, reduces cravings, helping in weight loss diets.
Ash gourd’s anti-oxidant elements improve immunity and protect the body from the ravages of free radicals. This, along with its high water content helps indirectly improving the functioning of the excretory system, and visceral organs, like the kidneys.
2. Protects Against Kidney damage
Ash gourd juice has a catalytic effect on the excretory system. Its water content and enzymes help increase the removal of fluids in the kidneys. This helps the body get rid of accumulated toxins while having a hydrating effect on internal organs.
3. Protects from High Thyroid Hormone Levels
The thyroid is a very important gland. This tiny gland produces two thyroid hormones known as T3 & T4. These hormones affect the entire body at a cellular level. They regulate calorie-burn rate, slow down/speed up heart rate, raise/lower body temperature and control muscular contraction.
Too high a concentration of thyroid hormone can be dangerous. The high iodine content in Ash Gourd prevents this by reducing elevated thyroid hormone levels. Ash gourd also has Zinc present in it which regulates enzyme function to optimize thyroid concentration.
4. Speeds up Weight Loss
Ash gourd is low in calories but high in fibre and water. These are essential ingredients for healthy weight loss. The high fibre content induces a feeling of satiety and reduces food cravings, which improves weight loss.
5. Improves Heart Function
The juice of the ash gourd improves blood circulation and provides vital nutrients needed for a healthy heart. These have help improve cardiac ailments such as palpitations, arrhythmia, angina, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
6. Brings Relief from Joint Problems
Ash gourd contains a number of anti-inflammatory nutrients and vitamins, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. These help in ensuring good bone health, reducing muscle pain, reducing the risk of bone and joint problems like arthritis, osteoporosis. They also help speed up healing in case of gout, fractures, and help regain flexible movement in muscles and joints.
7. Enhances Immunity
Rich in nutrients, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, carotenes, vitamin and trace mineral content, consuming the ash gourd has a robust positive effect on the immune system.
8. Strengthens Digestive System
The high fibre content and high water content in the ash gourd helps in avoiding constipation. It also enhances the functioning of the excretory system, reduces bloating, and cramping of the stomach; and has a laxative effect that regulates bowel movement.
9. Fights Fever
Phytonutrients in the Ash Gourd leaves when rubbed on a person suffering from high fever, help bring down body temperature The leaves also expel excess water and salts from the body helping maintain ideal electrolyte balance.
10. Jaundice Treatment
The leaves of the ash gourd contain cucurbitacins and Vit C. Cucurbitacins have been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, as emetics and purgatives and to treat liver disease. The anti-oxidants in the gourd plus the cucurbitacin content help boost immunity and improve liver function in the body.
Preparation & Consumption
- Ash gourd can be had in a variety of ways. The most common of which is as a vegetable dish or curry.
- It is also commonly used to make sweets and candies—called petha in India
- The leaves and seeds are rich in micro-nutrients and anti-oxidants and are extensively used in treating a variety of health problems, as described above.
Preparation as a gel
- Peel the gourd and slice it into wedges.
- De-seed the wedges and cut out the soft flesh; discard the rinds and seeds.
- Blend the flesh into an even paste.
- Do not add water.
- You will get a gel-like paste that can be used topically to soothe irritated calf, remove dandruff and improve hair health.
Use only fresh ash gourds, and wash thoroughly to get rid of residual pesticides. To avoid inadvertent toxicity from overconsumption—as it contains many trace minerals—do not overconsume.