A natural jaundice remedy, the fruits of Luffa acutangula (Ridge Gourd) (belonging to family cucurbitaceae) are grown, harvested before maturity and is very popular in Asia. Ridge gourd as whole, seeds and dried crusts are all used for medicinal purposes.
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- The most common use of the ridge gourd fruit is to be cooked as a vegetable. It is a very nutritive plant and has a bitter taste if taken raw. Ridge gourd acts as an appetizer. The ridge gourd is a healthy diet and contains a good amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, carotene, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, iron ad small quantities of iodine and fluorine.
- Ridge gourd has a sweet taste, cooling in nature and easy to digest. They form a low calorie diet, which is considered good for diabetes.
- The soft pulp and skin of ridge gourd both are used in making various recipes, especially in South Indian cuisine. Chutneys made from the pulp and the peel of ridge gourd is known for their enormous health benefits.
Herbal home remedies
- The ridge gourd is endowed with a number of medicinal properties and used in a variety of home remedies. All parts of the ridge gourd plant, fruits, leaves, seeds and even roots are used for their medicinal value.
- Ribbed gourd has diuretic properties.
- Ridge gourd is used as an expectorant and hypoglycemic.
- Ridge gourd is used as a bitter tonic.
- Seeds of ridge gourd are used as a laxative and purgative.
- Ridge gourd is also used in the enlargement of spleen.
- The roots of ridge gourd added to milk or water is helpful in the removal of kidney stones.
- The roots of ridge gourd are added to cooled water ridge gourd boiled in hot water and applied on skin is helpful in the swelling of the lymph glands.
- The leaves of the ridge gourd are useful in the treatment of dysentery conditions.
- The leaves or juice of the ridge gourd are used as dressing in the diseases such as inflammation of spleen, ringworms, piles and even leprosy. Pounded leaves mixed with garlic are applied locally for relief in leprosy.
- Oil is extracted from the seeds of ridge gourd which is used in the treatment of skin diseases.
- Ridge gourd is also an effective home remedy for the prevention of premature greying of hair. Ridge gourd is chopped in small pieces along with the ribbed skin and completely dried in the sun. Once the ridge gourd is fully dry, it is made into a powder and used to prevent the premature greying of hair.
Ridge gourd in Ayurveda
Ayurveda has attributed ride gourd with a number of health benefits which current clinical research is supporting as well. The ridge gourds are rich in minerals and are very alkaline for the body and hence they have a cooling effect on the body.
- Nutrition: Ridge gourd has many nutritional benefits as it is loaded with fibers, vitamins and minerals.it also has low calories and fats which make them an integral part of a healthy diet.
- Ridge gourd and weight loss: Since the ridge gourd is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, it is the ideal diet for those who are looking for weight loss. Ridge gourd has a high water content which makes it a food with very less calories.
- Ridge gourd and treatment of jaundice: The ridge gourd juice is a very good natural remedy for the treatment of jaundice. The juice which is prepared by pounding the ridge gourd or the powder which is made from the bitter ridge gourd seeds and crust is helpful in the cure of jaundice. The dried fruits are powdered and used as snuff in the treatment of jaundice.
- Ridge gourd and blood purification: Ridge gourd has blood purifying properties. It helps in the purification, restoration and nourishment of the liver and is also helpful in the liver detoxification resulting from alcohol intoxication.
- Ridge gourd and hypoglycemia: Ridge gourd has certain peptides which are exactly like insulin, alkaloids and charantin chemicals which help in reducing the blood sugar and urine sugar levels.
- Ridge gourd in constipation: the cellulose fibers present in ridge gourd are helpful in the treatment of constipation and also effective in the treatment of piles.
- Ridge gourd and skin care: Ridge gourd allowed to dry and mature on the vine, it can be harvested as a sponge. This loofah sponge has been used traditionally as an exfoliating product while bathing. They are considered helpful in removing dead cells from the skin thus making the skin smooth and conditioned. The blood purifying properties of ridge gourd are helpful against pimples and acne problems. Loofah sponge is also effective in fighting off foot and body odor.
- Ridge gourd as immune system booster: Juice of ridge gourd mixed with other healthy vegetables taken daily helps in strengthening of the immune system and helps the body in fighting off infections effectively.
- Ridge gourd for eyes: The high β-carotene content of ridge gourd fruit is considered good for the eyes of the health. Fresh juice is also put in eyes to treat granular conjunctivitis and styes.
- Ridge gourd is also useful as an emetic, expectorant and demulcent.
Ayurvedic remedies with Ridge Gourd
- For jaundice: One cup Ridge gourd juice mixed with 2 spoons of sugar, if taken twice daily cures jaundice.
- For bleeding from wounds: The pulp of the ridge gourd is ground and applied on the wound. This will stop bleeding from the wounds.
- For stomach worms: 1 Ridge gourd boiled in two glasses of water and then adequate salt is added to it. If this mixture is taken twice daily, stomach worms will be killed.
- For asthma: Grind the gourd to extract ½ cup ridge gourd juice mixed with sugar and taken twice a day will cure asthma.
1. Pullaiah T. Encyclopedia of world medicinal plants, Daya books, Vol 2, 2006, 1271-1274.