Winter melon, also known as ash gourd is not just a vegetable but is also a medicinal food. Packed with plenty of phytonutrients, winter melon is an important ingredient used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for treating many health problems. Ash gourd is an easy growing vegetable that grows well in warm climates. It has a chalky wax coating on its skin that helps preserve it and increase its longevity. Winter melon can last for several months even without the need for refrigeration. Drinking winter melon tea during summer days is found to be effective in beating the summer heat waves. Native to Southeast and South Asia, winter melon is grown widely throughout Asia.
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Nutritional facts about Winter melon
About 96% of winter melon is composed of water. It is loaded with various vitamins and minerals that helps boost your health and prevent diseases. It is rich in vitamins like vitamin C and B complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. This vegetable is also a good source of minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium. In addition to these nutrients, winter melon also provides good amounts of protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
Health benefits of Winter melon
Although winter melon is a widely used vegetable, many people are not aware of the numerous health benefits offered by it. Here you can read some of the benefits that makes winter melon a must-have food item in your regular diet.
Winter melon is excellent for weight loss
In addition to being a low calorie food, winter melon also shows diuretic effects that helps reduce weight due to water retention. The high levels of fiber in this vegetable fill you up and satiates your hunger. This helps in preventing frequent snacking and overeating, thus helping to maintain a healthy weight.
[Read more about healthy ways to gain weight]
Winter melon prevents constipation
Winter melon is rich in dietary fiber and other nutrients that aids in digestion. Fiber rich foods helps to make the stool soft, bulky and easier to pass through the intestines. This helps in promoting regular bowel movements and in preventing constipation.
Winter melon for kidney problems
Eating winter melon or drinking its juice on a regular basis helps in protecting the kidneys. It helps in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, which is good not only for the heart but also for the kidneys. It also improves the immune strength and also the functioning of the kidneys. Winter melon helps detoxify the body by acting as a diuretic and eliminating the toxic waste products through the urine.
Diuretic effects of Winter melon
The rind of winter melon contains chemicals that exhibit diuretic effects, which increases the frequency of urination that allows the body to get rid of the excess toxins. The rind is often cooked and eaten as a remedy for treating lower blood pressure, urinary infections and all types of edema.
[Read more about home remedies for urinary tract infection]
Benefits of winter melon seeds
Winter melon seeds are eaten as a way to soothe sore throat, cough and to fight bronchial irritation. These seeds have the ability to reduce fevers and their anabolic properties help stimulate the growth of new tissues. These seeds are also a wonderful remedy for the hair growth. The winter melon seeds can be boiled in coconut oil and the oil can be applied on the scalp to promote hair growth as well as to get rid of scalp problems like dandruff. Decoctions of winter melon seeds are beneficial in expelling intestinal parasites such as tapeworms. The decoction can be prepared by boiling the seeds in water. Allow the solution to steep for about 45 minutes, strain the decoction and drink it regularly.
Winter melon for treating peptic ulcers
The juice of winter melon is a great cure for peptic ulcers. To get relief from the pain due to ulcers, drink a mixture of equal parts of winter melon juice and water in an empty stomach in the morning. Make sure not to consume anything else for at least three hours after drinking the juice. Drink this juice regularly until the pain subsides.
Winter melon for diabetics
The medicinal properties and healing powers of winter melon makes it beneficial for people suffering from diabetes. Since it is a low calorie vegetable, winter melon is an ideal food item to be included in the diet of diabetics.
[Read more about health benefits of bittermelon]
Winter melon as a remedy for epilepsy
Winter melon is believed to be one of the best remedies for treating epilepsy. Squeeze out the juice from this vegetable and add some liquorice powder to it. Mix thoroughly and drink it regularly to treat epilepsy.
Winter melon for insomnia
Insomnia or sleeplessness is a common problem affecting millions of people. Consuming winter melon regularly is found to be helpful for people suffering from this condition.
Winter melon lowers acidity
Winter melon acts as an antacid and helps maintain the correct pH of the body. So if you have acidity problems, make sure to include this vegetable as part of your regular diet.
[Read more about home remedies for GERD]
Winter melon for treating anemia
Winter melon is widely used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for the treatment for anemia. Fully packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus and calcium, this vegetable helps produce new blood cells and can be used as an effective remedy for treating anemia.
Winter melon helps stop bleeding
Winter melon is a natural coagulant, which helps control bleeding. The leaves of this vegetable are sometimes crushed and applied on cuts and bruises to speed up healing. It is also effective in preventing internal bleeding. Consuming ash gourd juice regularly is helpful for conditions like haematuria, piles and bleeding due to ulcers.
Winter melon for mental health
Winter melon shows natural sedative and soothing properties, because of which it is beneficial for maintaining good mental health. Drinking a glass of winter melon gourd juice daily can help reduce stress and helps you stay relaxed. It produces a soothing and calming effect on nerves and brain and so it is used to provide relief from problems related to the nervous system such as anxiety, depression, neurosis, insomnia and paranoia.
[Read more about benefits of water melon seeds]
Beauty benefits of Winter melon
In addition to the various health benefits, winter melon has many cosmetic uses as well. Applying a mixture of ash gourd juice and lemon juice on the skin has been found to be beneficial in getting rid of dark spots on the skin and bring a natural glow and shine to the skin. The juice of winter melon is also very good for your hair. It is considered to be one of the best remedies for preventing dandruff and hair fall. To get rid of dandruff, just apply winter melon juice on the scalp and massage well. After some time wash your hair with a mild shampoo. The seeds and rind of this vegetable are added to coconut oil and the oil is applied on the hair to promote hair growth as well as to eliminate dandruff.
Some remedies using winter melon
Given below are some of the easy natural remedies that you can try at home to get relief from certain ailments:
For Peptic ulcer – Mix together winter melon juice with the same amount of water and drink it every morning on an empty stomach.
For heat boils – Make a paste of chickpea flour with ash gourd juice and apply it on the affected area.
For increasing appetite – Combine together 100 ml of fresh winter melon juice, 5 grams of ghee and 5 grams of honey and drink it at night. If you have a poor appetite, take this drink regularly to increase your appetite.
For fertility – Regular consumption of the winter melon or its juice is helpful in improving fertility as it helps increase the production and motility of sperms.
For improving memory – Grate the flesh of fully ripe winter melon and squeeze it to extract its juice. Add equal quantity of water to this juice and drink it in an empty stomach every day. This drink is considered to be a brain tonic that can help improve memory power.
For constipation – Cut the flesh of matured winter melon into big cubes and boil them in water until the pieces are half cooked. Eating the half cooked vegetable regularly help to alleviate constipation. The water used to boil winter melon can be used as stock to prepare healthy soups.
For cough and cold – Drinking the juice of winter melon daily is a great way to prevent the common cold and cough. It is also an effective remedy for other respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, influenza and sinusitis.
For dandruff – Boil the seeds and skin of winter melon in coconut oil. Applying this oil on the hair and scalp helps encourage hair growth as well as prevent dandruff, itchy scalp and dryness of the scalp.
[Read more about 50 natural ways to treat dandruff]
Winter melon is used extensively in various cuisines around the world. It is used to make stew, soups, candies, cakes, stir fries, curries, juice and winter melon tea. Being a low calorie vegetable, winter melon makes an excellent addition to any low calorie diet plan. Research has confirmed many of the medicinal properties of winter melon, making it an effective natural remedy for a wide range of ailments.