Hi, this is Rashmi Nandgaonkar.
I would be revealing the secret message in the ‘bottle’ of natural vegetation, the bottle gourd.
I hope after reading this, the much neglected vegetable in the kitchen world would find a special place henceforth.
Bottle gourd is one of the earliest vegetable grown .It is cultivated almost throughout the year.
It is green in color, bottle shaped (hence the name) with white pulp and white seeds embedded in the spongy flesh.
It is a rapid growing, trailing, or climbing herb, found in two varieties, sweet and bitter. The sweet variety is more commonly used for consumption whereas the bitter variety is mainly used for some medicinal purposes.
Bottle gourd holds a special place ayurvedic medicine in India.
Though it is generally avoided in the cooking due to its bland taste, I am sure that after going through its amazing health and other benefits, you would definitely reserve a place for it.
1. Let’s have a look at the nutritional benefits first (values /100gm edible portion)
Moisture -- 96.1%,
Calcium -- 20mg,
Proteins -- 0.2%, Fats -- 0.1%
Carbohydrates -- 2.9%
It also contains vitamin C,B complex, and trace elements.
2. Due to high water content consumption of bottle gourd is cooling and calming.
3. It helps in treating urinary disorders by neutralizing the acidity in urine with its alkaline properties. Thus it gives relief from the burning micturition symptom in urinary tract infections.
4. With its low caloric values, it is beneficial for the calorie conscious group or hypertensive and /or obese people.
5. Bottle gourd is very effective in treating constipation, due to its high water and fibre content. This property is also beneficial in pregnancy when constipation and other digestive ailments are on the rise and this remedy is absolutely natural with no side effects, hence mother and baby friendly too. Additionally it provides other nutrients required during pregnancy.
6. The high fibre content also helps in relieving flatulence and is effective in preventing piles.
7. The bitter variety of bottle gourd is used to treat bronchitis, cough, and asthma.It is also used as an antidote for some types of poisons.
8. It is used in restoring health to the liver and balances its functions. It is therefore widely used to treat people suffering from jaundice or other liver ailments.
9. It is known to have the capacity to cure toothaches.
10. It also provides relief from epistaxsis (bleeding from nose) and haematemesis. During hot summer days this cooling property comes as a great relief.
11. Bottle gourd slices when place on forehead give a soothing relief from headache and heat.
12. Helps in reducing bad cholesterol levels. People with a tendency to cardiac problems or high blood pressure must make it a point to include this vegetable in their diet plan.
13. It also manages the blood pressure levels.
14. In diabetes too, bottle gourd plays an important role in maintaining the good health. It helps in regulating the blood sugar levels and thus prevents other health problems that may arise due to diabetes.
15. The cooling property of bottle gourd provides relief to people prone to mouth ulcers or gastric ulcers.
16. Bottle gourd is used in treating graying of hairs.
17. It is also beneficial in skin care. Either consumption or application, it helps in reducing skin lesions and preventing skin infections. It makes your skin glow with health. A total package of health and beauty care, isn’t it?
Apart from the heath and beauty benefits bottle gourd has some interesting uses too.
18. In some rural areas, wherever this vegetable is known to have been cultivated, it was used as cups, bowls, and basins.
19. In some rural parts of Mexico, Brazil, the bottle gourd is dried and carved hollow to create a water container.
20. Similarly in India, Hindu ascetics have been known to use dried and cut bottle gourd as a ‘kamandalu’.
21. The ‘baul’ singers from Bengal (India) and Bangladesh have their musical instruments made out of it. Even a percussion instrument in Hawaii is made out of ripe dried bottle gourd.
22. And last but never the least, you will never find this vegetable to be heavy on your pocket. This vegetable has remained humble and cheap retaining its priceless qualities over the years.
So, the next time you go for the green grocery, don’t hesitate to pick it up .You never know what message lies in store for you in this bottle.
I hope that bottle gourd would no longer be considered as a favorite only among the geriatrics but also the younger generation.
As far as the taste is concerned bottle gourd has the property to merge with any other favorite vegetable of your choice, or a sweet preparation is a better alternative for children especially.
The idea is to just open the bottle and pour out the benefits adding life to your health and beauty.
The author of this article, Rashmi Nandgaonkar, is a registered nurse and midwife and manages her own hospital. She is pursuing a diploma in counseling, and attends workshops on special education for special kids, and Ayurvedic cooking. She is an avid reader, and loves traveling, music, cooking, spending spare time with her kids. She has won many awards during her nursing education including the Mayors award.