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Ash Gourd Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Anuja Bodhare +2 more

Introduction:  

The Ash gourd plant is an annual trailing vine. It is scientifically known as Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) and belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae. It has a unique melon like-fruit that is often eaten for its medicinal and functional properties. Ash gourd plant grows in warm, humid tropical climates and is cultivated in countires of South East Asia, including India, Japan, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Taiwan.1,2 

ash gourd juice benefits

Did you know that the ash gourd fruit got its name from the colour of its skin; which is Ash, and the waxy shine on the skin; hence, it is also called Wax Gourd. It is mainly grown in the rainy season and people also call it the Winter melon.  In ancient medicial systems, the Ayurvedic preparation of ash gourd, known as ‘Kushmanda’ in Sanskrit,  was thought to have medicinal properties. The most famous  sweet, ‘Agra ka Petha’, is also prepared using the ripened ash gourd fruit soaked in sugar syrup. There are several other names for ash gourd that you might have heard of; it is named Donggua in (Chinese), Beligo in (Indonesia), White gourd, White pumpkin or Ash pumpkin, etc. 1,2   

Let’s read more about the beneficial properties and potential uses of this Ayurvedic ash gourd juice.  

Did you know?

  • Ash gourd juice is low in calories and can be beneficial for diabetic patients. source: PMC
  • Ash gourd juice does not have an immediate effect on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients. source: PMC
  • Ash gourd juice is often used in traditional medicine for its potential anti-diabetic effects. source: ncbi

Nutritional value of Ash gourd juice: 

The essential nutrients of ash gourd fruit are proteins, flavonoids, carotenes, vitamins, minerals, volatile oils, etc. Ash gourd fruit is majorly composed of 96% water; the reaming nutrients are as follows:1,3  

Nutrient Components Value/100 grams 
Carbohydrate 3.96 g 
Protein 12 g 
Fibre 2.9 g 
Zinc 0.6 mg 
Calcium  30 mg 
Iron 11.8 mg 
Vitamins B1  0.04 mg 
Vitamin B3  0.528 mg 
Vitamin B2  0.145 mg 
Vitamin C 17.2 mg 
Vitamin B6 0.046 mg 
Vitamin B5 0.176 mg 
Table 1: Nutritional Value of Ash gourd fruit per 100 grams.1 

Also Read: Carrot Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Based on my experience, I have come across research suggesting that Ash gourd may have a potential protective effect on Alzheimer’s disease. Ash gourd showed promise in protecting neurons against oxidative stress, which is believed to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This protective effect could be attributed to the presence of vitamin E and β-carotene in Ash gourd, which helps counteract oxidative damage.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Properties of Ash gourd juice: 

Ash gourd fruit is a common vegetable that might have nutritional and medicinal properties. The bioactive nutrients might show potential benefits in various chronic diseases.3 The properties of ash gourd juice are: 

  • It may be a potential prebiotic (produce good bacteria in the stomach) 
  • It might act as antacid (help acidity) 
  • It may act as detoxifacient (removes toxins from the body) 
  • It may have a potential  anti-inflammatory action  
  • It may help reduce fever 
  • It may have anxiolytic effect (relieve anxiety) 
  • It may have an anticonvulsant effect (help seizures) 
  • It might be helpful in depression  
  • It may act as an antioxidant 
  • It might help with  blood-glucose lowering 
  • It might help with  blood-lipid lowering  
  • It may have potential antimicrobial and anti-parasitic activity 
  • It may act as bronchodilator (make breathing easier).1,3 

Also Read: Lemon Water: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Over the years, I have come across research suggesting that Ash gourd may have an anti-compulsive effect. An anti-compulsive effect refers to the ability of a substance or treatment to reduce or alleviate compulsive behaviours. This effect could be attributed to the presence of tryptophan in Ash gourd, which is believed to enhance the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and behaviour.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Uses of Ash gourd juice: 

Ash gourd might be used as functional food; all parts of the fruit seem to have beneficial properties as seen in certain studies.3,4  However, how helpful these are for humans needs to be seen by larger studies. 

The potential uses of ash gourd juice are described as follows:  

1. Potential uses of ash gourd juice for diabetes:  

Ash gourd juice is low in calories and carbohydrates with no fat content. It might be a great choice for patients with diabetes due to this nutrient profile. The pulp of the fruit might have anti-diabetic properties contributed by various nutrients. When mixed with honey, the dried powder of the peel of the fruit may help lower blood  sugar levels.  

A human study conducted by Majumdar et al. (2010) observed that ash gourd juice helps reduce blood glucose levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes. However, more studies are required to present the benefits of ash gourd juice for diabetes.1,2, 

2. Potential uses of ash gourd juice for weight loss:  

The various properties of ash gourd juice might help in weight loss management. As we know, ash gourd juice is low in calories and fats and thus it may be beneficial to people who want to lose weight. The lipid-lowering properties and high content of dietary fibre of ash gourd juice might help decrease  serum cholesterol and lipid levels which may help lower body fat.  

A literature review by Waidyarathna et al. (2020) suggests that if you use ground peeled raw ash gourd fruits and seeds with an equal amount of water and some salt, it might be helpful to lose weight quickly. 1,2,4 Although this information is insufficient and requires more studies.  

3. Potential uses of ash gourd juice for ulcers:  

The health benefits of ash gourd juice might positively affect people suffering from peptic ulcers (related to the digestive tract and stomach). Ash gourd juice is prepared by shredding the fruit and mixing it with water. Drinking ash gourd juice on an empty stomach might be helpful in peptic  ulcers; after having the juice, one should avoid having food for at least three hours. As per the Ayurveda medicine system, ash gourd has been referenced to as a valuable medicine for peptic ulcers. 2 This information is age-old and insufficient; therefore large scale human studies are necessary to confirm these benefits. 

4. Potential uses of ash gourd juice for skin:  

The benefits of ash gourd juice are associated with its skin-benefitting properties. The fruit extract is used to prepare face cream; it might be useful and effective in delaying the deterioration of skin cells with age. A study undertaken by Huang et al. (2004) had  shown that some compounds of the fruit (pulp, peel, seeds) contribute to its antioxidant activity, which may fight ageing-inducing free radicles. It might also decrease oxidative damage and managing the effect of degradation of skin cells. 4 More studies are required to confirm the beneficial effect of ash gourd juice for skin. 

5. Other Potential uses of ash gourd juice:  

  • Ash gourd juice may help in food poisoning. It may help in painful urination (dysuria) and relieve pain in the sensitive parts.4 
  • It might help symptoms of common cold, fever, cough, sinusitis, etc.2 
  • Ash gourd juice might help to relieve constipation, inflammation of the stomach and overall might strengthen  the functioning of the digestive system.2,4 
  • Ash fruit juice is an excellent refreshing drink for various brain-related diseases like seizure and insanity (mental illness).4 
  • Ash gourd might have  antacid activity; it may be useful to maintain the pH of the body and the acid levels in the stomach by managing the acidity built up by certain foods like soft drinks and fried food.2 
  • Ash gourd fruits are may be used as a laxative (helps constipation) and diuretic (increases urine production).3 
  • Mixing fruit pulp with sugar helps in iron deficiency.4 
  • The benefits of ash gourd juice might be enhanced when taken with ghee; it might amplify the speech, voice and overall intelligence of a person.4 
  • The oil prepared from boiling the powder of seeds with coconut oil may be useful for baldness, dandruff and headache.4 

Although some studies show the benefits of ash gourd juice in various conditions, these pieces of information are insufficient. Therefore, more studies are required to confirm the benefits of ash gourd juice on human health. Hence, you should always consult a doctor before using ash gourd juice for any medical condition.  

In my experience, I have observed that Ash gourd extract has shown effectiveness in reducing allergic inflammation. These effects may be attributed to certain compounds present in ash gourd that help to alleviate inflammation.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Also Read: Beetroot Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

How to Use Ash gourd juice? 

Ash gourd juice contains the significant nutrients essential for maintaining good health.1 It can be used in the following ways: 

  • Ash gourd fruit can be eaten raw like cucumber, or it can be boiled with meat.1 
  • It can be added to make ice cream, jams, ketchup, drinks and cakes.1 
  • The peeled, immature fruit, can be stir-fried, braised or steamed, and used in the preparation of spiced foods.1 
  • Ash gourd fruit is also used to make sweet candy (Petha ) and nuggets (Bari).2 
  • Herbal gruel and chutney are prepared from the pulp of the fruit.4 
  • Ash gourd stems are deep-fried and eaten like chips or papad.4 

Before consuming ash gourd fruit or juice, it is better to take the advice of a qualified doctor. They will be the best person to prescribe you the correct way to use it. 

Side Effects of Ash gourd juice: 

The side effects of ash guard juice are as follows:  

  • Ash gourd contains anti-nutritional factors ( e.g.phytates, oxalate, etc.), which might reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. A diet containing ash gourd juice may riskcalcium deposition, which might lead  to kidney stones.1 
  • Various toxicological studies on animals suggest that ash gourd juice may be safe and might not have any adverse effects.4 

However, if you experience any harmful reaction, immediately contact an Ayurvedic doctor and get appropriate treatment. 

Precautions to Take With Ash gourd juice: 

Ash gourd is considered safe if it is taken in minimal dosages. However, precautions have to be followed while having ash gourd juice. 

  • Hence, people suffering from kidney problems should limit their intake of ash gourd juice. 
  • There is no sufficient information available to say the safe use of ash gourd juice for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Thus, it is crucial to take advice from an Ayurvedic physician before taking it as a herb. 
  • Extra caution is also necessary while giving ash gourd juice to small children and older adults. 

We advise you to consult an Ayurvedic physician who will recommend you a safer dosage form. 

Also Read: Amla Juice for Weight Loss: The Science-Backed Method for Success

Interactions with other Drugs: 

There is not enough information. However, it is recommended that ash gourd juice should not be taken orally along with any mineral drugs.4 

It is always best to follow the advice of an Ayurvedic physician who will guide and prescribe you a better way to make use of this herbal juice.  

Also Read: Star Fruit: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the different vernacular names of ash gourd? 

Other vernacular names for ash gourd are Kundur in (Malay), Safed Kolu in (Gujarati), Neer oosanikai in (Tamil), Kumbalam in (Malayalam), Boodida gummadikaaya in (Telugu), Boodu gumbala in (Kannada) and Alupuhul in (Sinhalese).1,3,4 

What are the different roles of minerals in ash gourd juice?

Ash gourd juice contains essential minerals necessary for performing vital functioning and maintaining water balance in the body; sodium might help to maintain body fluid balance, whereas calcium and potassium might maintain healthy blood pressure. Iron helps to  transport oxygen to the brain, zinc nourishes the body, and manganese performs cellular activities.1 

What are the dental benefits of ash gourd juice? 

The dental benefits of ash gourd juice may be involved in managing teeth and gum health. Using ash gourd juice daily for mouth gargling might maintain your teeth and decrease bleeding gums. 2 However, one should consult a doctor before using ash gourd juice for dental health. 

Is ash gourd juice beneficial for weight loss? 

The benefits of drinking ash gourd juice might be helpful  in weight loss management due to its low calories. But this information is insufficient to claim the beneficial effect of ash gourd juice. Hence, more studies are needed.1,2 

Does ash gourd juice help to control acidity? 

Yes. Ash gourd juice may have antacid properties that might regulate the acidity in the stomach. People might use ash gourd juice for acidity; boiling it with cow’s milk may help relieve hyperacidity. However, you should consult an Ayurvedic doctor before using it to control acidity.1,4 

 

References: 

1. Gupta P, Chikkala S, Kundu P. Ash gourd and its applications in the food, pharmacological and biomedical industries. Inter J of Veg Sci. 2019 Dec;27(1):44–53. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/19315260.2019.1699222 

2. Pradhan K, Nandi A, Rout S, Tripathy B. Ash gourd-an under exploited potential crop. DRSR J. 2020 June;10(6):142-151. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kalyani-Pradhan/publication/342591922_ASH_GOURD-AN_UNDEREXPLOITED_POTENTIAL_CROP/links/5efcd7c392851c52d60cfffc/ASH-GOURD-AN-UNDEREXPLOITED-POTENTIAL-CROP.pdf 

3. Doharey V, Kumar M, Kumar Upadhyay S, Singh R, Kumari B. Pharmacognostical, Physicochemical And Pharmaceutical Paradigm Of Ash Gourd, Benincasa Hispida (Thunb.) Fruit. Plant Archives. 2021 Jan;21:249–52. Available from: http://plantarchives.org/SPECIAL%20ISSUE%2021-1/41%20(249-252).pdf 

4. Waidyarathna S, Ediriweera E. Therapeutic and culinary uses of Benincasa hispida (Alupuhul). J Convent Knowl Holist Health. 2020 Nov;4(01):1–6. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/347563996_Therapeutic_and_culinary_uses_of_Benincasa_hispida_Alupuhul 

 Disclaimer:  

The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.
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Surend Jundoosing

Very interesting articles for health benefits