Ash Gourd: Highly Valued In Ayurveda For Its Immense Health Benefits And Great Detoxifying Agent
The ash gourd is highly valued for its significant medicinal properties in the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India. It also has significance in spiritual traditions of India and Yoga, where it is identified as a great source of prana. Ash gourd supplies plenty of nutrition, being inherently high on water content providing a cooling effect on the body, having zero cholesterol thereby augmenting heart health and abounding in a plethora of vitamins and minerals to facilitate key metabolic functions in the body. Daily consumption of ash gourd in moderation will do miracles to you.
Ash gourd is a tender vine, which produces large fruit. This vegetable when immature has white thick flesh which is sweet. By the time it reaches maturity, it loses the hairs and a waxy coating is developed which provides a long shelf life. Incorporating ash gourd into your diet is a simple way to beat the heat, enjoy a powerful energy boost and add tasty variety to salads, juices, snacks and even sweets.
This remarkable natural wonder belongs to the cucumber and squash family. Scientifically termed 'Benincasa hispida', the ash gourd, also called wax gourd, white gourd, winter gourd, winter melon, tallow gourd, ash pumpkin. It is native to South and Southeast Asia. The wax gourd is widely grown throughout Asia, including Java and Japan. In all of these regions, ash gourd has been in use for thousands of years.
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Today, it continues to be heralded for its immense health benefits and is widely incorporated, in popular local cuisine across India. Ash gourd is commonly considered a vegetable, which is used in cooking a variety of staple Indian dishes such as kootu, curry, sabzi and dal, besides sweets and candies called petha. The therapeutic and remedial traits offered by the vegetable, as well as ash gourd seeds and leaves are extensive.
Ash gourd juice is a great detoxifying agent, and is best consumed early morning. This juice can absorb all the toxins, germs and contamination that may have accumulated in ones body through the course of a day. Every day, if you drink a glass of ash gourd juice in the morning, you will see tremendous amount of coolness in the body, an enormous amount of energy and at the same time it keeps your nerves very calm. People who are susceptible to problems such as colds, asthma, and sinusitis should be a little careful with ash gourd because it creates too much sheeta or coolness, in the system. Such people should always mix it with honey or pepper and drink it, so that the cooling effect is neutralized to some extent.
Ash gourd is composed primarily of water (about 96%), but it also boasts a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and B-complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. Ash gourd is also a valuable source of minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium.The gourd also provides a good amount of protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
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Ash gourd extract is considered as one of the best remedies for cardiac ailments such as palpitations, irregular heartbeats, chest pain, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Being an effective anti-inflammatory, ash gourd juice also reduces bone and muscle pain and heals joint disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis, gout and fractures. In addition, it is packed with the three-essential bone-fortifying minerals namely calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, which in turn increases bone mass and helps regain flexible movement in muscles and joints.
Ash gourd has a significant fiber content, which helps to prevent instances of constipation, bloating and cramping of the stomach. It stimulates the normal elimination of body wastes via the excretory system in the body. It boosts the secretion of fluids within the kidneys, promptly getting rid of accumulated toxins and at the same time, guaranteeing proper hydration of the internal organs in the body. Ash gourd juice supports the routine tasks of kidneys and bladder.
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Ash gourd has an intrinsic expectorant quality, which implies that it can readily loosen any excess phlegm or mucus secretions and remove them from the respiratory tract. This immensely benefits lung function and also prevents any allergies and breathing difficulties. Ash gourd, being low on calories and high in essential nutrients, can be taken regularly by those people who are strictly following a diet regime to lose weight, especially in the case of those with diabetes.
Ash gourd is also profuse in iodine content, which is vital to reduce elevated thyroid hormone levels, as well as zinc, which plays a central role in facilitating enzyme function for optimizing thyroid concentrations. The prominent vitamin B6 or pyridoxine content in ash gourd juice is very beneficial in monitoring brain functions and allowing the unobstructed conduction of nerve impulses. Hence, during instances of insomnia or severe lack of sleep, having a glass of ash gourd juice can lessen the activity of neurotransmitters and promote sleep.
Moreover, being an intrinsically alkaline vegetable, it neutralizes excess acidity in the stomach, providing instant relief from heartburn, indigestion, bloating and promoting digestion. It is also useful in treating urinary tract infection (UTI) and eliminates kidney stones, rectifies dysuria, constipation, to regulate renal processes and ensure smooth bowel, bladder movements.