Among the nature’s gift for our health and vitality is white Gourd or ‘Petha’ as it is locally known. White gourd id considered to be beneficial as per our traditional therapies. In Ayurveda, it is known by the name ‘kushmand’ i.e. the seeds of which do not remit heat. The Latin name of the herb is Benincasa hispida and it belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae.
Gourd is light and slimy in nature and cold in potency. The taste as well as after taste is sweet.
Chemically, there is presence of an alkaloid called ‘Cucurbitine’. Other than this, proteins, sugars, mucilage and some other alkalis supplement the composition. The seeds contain stable oil.
The alkali content is higher in the ripe fruit of Gourd and is thus even more beneficial. According to the Ayurvedic view, Petha in raw state, tends to cause a decrease in the ‘vatta’ or air and ‘pitta’ or heat humors of the body. While, the ripe fruit is termed as ‘Sarvadoshahara’ i.e. it destroys an aggravation in all the doshas or body humors.
The part of the herb (which is a actually in the form of an annual creeper) that is used for medicinal purposes is the fruit, seeds and oil derived from the seeds.
To combat the external heat : Petha is a wonderful bliss for the summer season. Being sweet and cold by nature, it tends to decrease heat in the body systems. In case of sunstroke, you can try this easy home remedy. Extract the pump from the fruit of can try this easy home remedy. Extract the pump from the fruit of petha and simply apply it like a paste on the affected skin. It would provide a soothing and calming effect on to the burning skin. When there is headache due to excessive heat, it is advisable to take 10 to 20 gms of the fruit with some sugar mixed in it. Also apply some Gourd seed oil on the forehead and find relief. Other than this, you can easily prepare at home ‘murabba’(sweet jelly) jams or chutneys that are bound to be a hit even with children. A sweetened summer drink ‘thandyai’ is quite popular in our Indian homes. Try preparing the same using seeds of gourd. The cooling effect would be enhanced.
For debility : This is another malady of summers when due to environmental heat, there are symptoms like weakness, anxiety, lack of enthusiasm, excessive thirst and perspiration. Here again Petha comes as help. You need to supplement the same in your regular meals more often. There are some medicinal preparations of Gourd like ‘Kushmand Khand’ that are prescribed for debilitated patients. 10 to 20 ml of the fresh juice prepared by crushing the pulp is also recommended.
Wormicidal action : the seeds of white gourd have the specific property to destroy intestinal worms, particularly the tapeworm. 3 to 6 gms of the seed powder is to be taken along with warm water. It is advisable to take mild laxative along with this therapy so as to procure the proper elimination of the worms.
Brain Tonic : Petha has been included in the category of intellect-promoting drugs. This is because it has a calming and cooling effect on the brain and the entire nervous system. As a special effect, a regular intake of the same ensures an increase in the normal working and thus strengthening of the brainpower. Gourd is also similarly favorable for the heart. A word of caution: Excessive intake of gourd could induce sleep.