Coccinia Grandis, more commonly known as ivy gourd, is an edible plant native to tropical Asia, Africa, and Oceania. It has been said to lower blood sugar levels and help with diabetes. It may also be useful for wound treatment, gonorrhea, constipation, and other ailments.
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Is Ivy Gourd Poisonous?
The ivy gourd plant is not known to be poisonous. If you overconsume it, it could cause nausea and vomiting. If you are intolerant to the plant, the most common immediate side effects are dizziness, headache, and nausea.
If you plan to use it topically, it is best first to test your reaction to it with a small patch of skin.
What Is Ivy Gourd Good For?
While there is no definite scientific evidence, many people use ivy gourd to lower their blood sugar levels. The stems and leaves have been shown to increase glucose tolerance, therefore providing more regulated blood sugar levels.
It has also been rumored to be an effective treatment for several skin conditions, including wounds, eczema, and psoriasis. Applying the leaves directly to the skin reduces inflammation, kills bacteria, and regenerates skin tissue.
Some researchers also believe it can help prevent obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Because of the high levels of potassium and phytonutrients, it is also considered to be good for the heart.
While there are many other rumored health benefits, there has not been enough scientific testing to prove them safe.
However, the ivy gourd plant is very popular in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. This natural system of treatment has been around for more than 3,000 years.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants Found in Ivy Gourd
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins B1 and B2
- Vitamin C
- Folic Acid
- Ascorbic Acid
Where Does Ivy Gourd Grow?
This fruit naturally grows in Africa, South Asian countries, and Southeast Asia. These days, you can also find it in Hawaii, Texas, and Florida.
Finding it fresh, if you don’t live in these areas, can be difficult. If you can get your hands on seeds, it is important to remember that it grows best in subtropical, tropical, or monsoon climates.
How to Identify Ivy Gourd?
Because ivy gourd is so unique, it’s fairly easy to spot. It is a perennial vine with large, angular, green ivy leaves, star-shaped white flowers, and a red fruit that is usually no more than two inches long. If the ivy gourd fruit is not yet ripe, it is green.
It is considered to be an invasive weed. The vines of the fruit can grow up to four inches in just one day. It quickly spreads and covers anything in its path, including trees, fences, cars, and more.
The vines can smother and kill other nearby plants and trees. In your garden, you’ll need to harvest the fruit every day and ensure the vines don’t grow out of control.
What Other Names is Ivy Gourd Known By?
From the Cucurbitaceae family, the scientific name is Coccinia grandis. Because of its popularity in India and Ayurvedic medicine, it has multiple Indian names, including:
- Kovakkai in Tamil
- Tendli in Marathi and Konkani
- Dondakaaya in Telugu
- Tindora in Hindi
Other common names include:
- Scarlet gourd
- Kowai fruit
- Baby watermelon
- Perrenial cucumber
- Thai spinach
- Little gourdIs
How to Consume or Use Ivy Gourd
The leaves and the root are commonly used for medicine, while the fruit, leaves, and stems are all used for culinary purposes.
Some of the most common methods of consuming and using it include:
The “cucumber” itself can be eaten raw. Many people use it in salads. The taste is slightly tart and juicy.
When picked at the right time, the ivy gourd fruit has a nice crunch.
Wrapping the slightly heated leaves around a wound has been said to help with swelling, killing bacteria, and healing.
3. Soups and Curries
The stems, leaves, and fruit (ripe or unripe) are often used in Indian cooking. They can be sauteed, steamed, or stewed into delicious soups and curries.
Making a paste from the ivy gourd leaves has been rumored to be a good treatment for skin conditions.
The extracted liquid from the leaves and stems can be applied topically (for skin conditions) or drunk. When drunk, it is said to help with diabetes, jaundice, and even bed-wetting.
Overall, it’s clear that Coccinia Grandis has great potential. Currently, there is a lack of medical evidence that proves all of its greatness, but as mentioned before, it has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for more than 3,000 years.
As with any natural supplement, especially one that has not been studied sufficiently by the FDA, you should always consult your doctor before consuming it.