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Health Benefits of Ivy Gourd And Its Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2020

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Ivy gourd is a popular vegetable in African and Asian countries. This vegetable resembles watermelon and grows quickly as a climber. It is used in several recipes. Each part Kovakkai offers lots of health benefits, It can be made into a paste and applied to the skin or can be directly consumed as a tonic.

Ivy gourd leaves when eaten raw offer optimal benefits. The ivy gourd plant is known to improve the metabolism, reduce the blood sugar level, and prevent conditions like diabetes. Ivy gourd also very good for the heart and the nervous system. Studies have even shown that it helps deal with kidney stones. Ivy gourd does not cause side effects, if it is cleaned, boiled or cooked.

About Ivy Gourd

The scientific name of ivy gourd is Coccinia Grandis. It is also referred to as scarlet gourd. This vegetable is famous in West Bengal and north-eastern states of Assam. It is also cultivated in different parts of South-east Asia. Other names of ivy gourd are kovakkai, kundru, tendli, and dondakaya.

The whole ivy gourd vegetable is consumed in some regions, while only the shoots are eaten in other parts of the globe. Coccinia Grandi's vegetable is widely cultivated in China, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Africa. The seeds or parts of this climber is used to cultivate this vegetable. Ivy gourd vegetable grows to about 4 inches a day. It has attractive flowers. But more importantly, the coccinia Grandis has many health benefits.

Nutritional Value of Ivy Gourd

The fruits of ivy gourd are used in preparing traditional medicines for effectively treating several diseases and infections. The leaves of this climber contain mast cell stabilizing and antihistamine properties, and hence used for treating fever, bronchitis, jaundice, and osteoarthritis.

Ivy gourd is rich in beta-carotene that ensures the optimal functioning of the heart and prevents heart ailments. This fruit also referred to as baby watermelon offers delicious taste and loads of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.

Nutritional content of ivy gourd includes 1.4mg of iron, 40mg of calcium, 0.07 mg of vitamins B1 and B2, and 1.6 mg of dietary fiber. Most of this fruit just like the watermelon is made up of water.

Nutritional Facts of Ivy Gourd Per 100 grams

0.1 g
Total Fat
3.1 g
Total Carbohydrate

Vitamins and Minerals

1.56 %
Vitamin C
17.50 %

Health Benefits of Ivy Gourd

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Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Ivy Gourd. You can consume ivy gourd to get all these benefits by including in your diet plan.

Ivy gourd extract blood sugar

Ivy gourd is used in Ayurvedic medicines to treat diabetes. The stems of this climber plant and the leaves are cooked and consumed or added to soups. The raw leaves of ivy gourd or kundru have shown successful results in increasing glucose tolerance. By eating kundru vegetable in your diet few times a week can do wonders in controlling the blood sugar levels.

Ivy Gourd Prevents Obesity

Research indicates that ivy gourd has anti-obesity properties. What it does is that it prevents the pre-adipocytes from converting to fat cells. Ivy Gourd even increases the metabolic rate and has a lowering effect on the blood sugar level. Subsequently, it is used in many Indian recipes.

Ivy Gourd for Fatigue

Iron is an essential element for the optimal bodily functions. Including iron-rich food in the diet is the key to avoiding fatigue. Anemia is often caused by iron deficiency in the body. Ivy gourd has 1.4mg of iron and thus is a valuable source of iron. This vegetable will keep you energized, healthy and fit. Iron deficiency can lead to several health ailments that can be corrected if this vegetable is consumed.

Ivy Gourd Defends Nervous System

Like watermelon, ivy gourd has water-soluble vitamins like B2. This vitamin plays a big role in maintaining your energy levels. Kundru has minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants that can help make the nervous system stronger.

Ivy Gourd also helps the body deal with epilepsy, sclerosis, and Alzheimer's. When combined with vitamin B6, kundru is also effective in curing the symptoms of Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Ivy Gourd Increased Metabolism

Thiamine is a nutrient that converts carbohydrates into glucose, which keeps the energy levels in the body high, and regulates metabolism. Upon consuming ivy gourd, thiamine enters the blood plasma that generates more energy. This nutrient also helps to manufacture the red blood cells. Ivy Gourd is a energy-boosting vegetable also cures some genetic diseases.

Ivy Gourd Improved Digestion

Ivy gourd facilitates digestion. It contains fiber that aids in digestion. This vegetable thus adds roughage to the stool and enables smooth bulk elimination. Ivy Gourd also cures other gastrointestinal disorders like constipation, ulcers, and disease.

Ivy gourd for kidney stones

Kidney stones are crystallized forms of calcium and other minerals that get deposited in the urinary tract. If the salts exceed the acceptable rate, it can cause kidney stones. The calcium present in this ivy gourd is healthy and can be combined with other vegetables like spinach to treat kidney stones.

Cures Diseases

This vegetable has shown to cure many diseases. Ivy gourd anti-oxidant properties are responsible for killing the free radicals responsible for ageing and other degenerative illnesses. Ivy gourd is used to cure fever, asthma, jaundice, leprosy, and resolve bowel problem. It is imperative that you follow the right diet with the ivy gourd included for a few weeks to experience its benefits.

Protection against Allergies

Ivy gourd vegetable has high amounts of saponin, alkaloids, steroids, flavonoids and glycosides. These nutrients protect the body from anaphylactic conditions and other allergies, as well.

Ivy gourd Treats Infection

The root, fruits, and leaves of the Ivy gourd are made into a paste to treat scabies and leprosy. While many medicines are available in the market, but ivy gourd is one of the most effective natural remedies. It also works well as an antibiotic against bacterial infections.

Ivy gourd Prevents Cancer

The anti-oxidant properties of ivy gourd and the high amounts of beta-carotene can help prevent cancer. These nutrients are known to suppress the growth of tumor cells and so they aid in stopping the multiplication of cancer cells. Include the ivy plant in your diet to reduce your chances of getting cancer.

Ivy gourd Improves Heart’s Health

Ivy gourd is a rich source of potassium. This mineral is essential for the optimal health of the heart by regulating blood flow and preventing heart diseases, too.

Uses of Ivy Gourd

Each part of the ivy gourd offers several health benefits. The root is grounded into a paste and given in small doses in children to stop bedwetting. The ivy gourd plant helps treat mouth ulcers. The leaves can be directly wrapped on wounds to reduce swelling.

The juice of the ivy gourd leaves can be made into a tonic and consumed as well. The juice treats diabetes, jaundice, and keeps the blood sugar levels in control. The paste of ivy gourd can be applied on the affected area for those treating ringworm and eczema. Finally, the fruits of this plant are used as a vegetable.


Side-Effects & Allergies of Ivy Gourd

While for the most part ivy gourd is beneficial to us, it may have side effects in a few cases. The leaves, fruit, and stem are used to make medicines. There can be those for whom ivy gourd can inflict wounds on the skin.

The allergic reaction to the plant will appear on the skin. The reaction time will vary based on when the person consumed the food. The allergy can easily be treated with the help of doctors. It is essential to immediately consult the doctor if any reactions are visible on the skin.

Origin And Cultivation of Ivy Gourd

The origin of ivy gourd is considered to be India. This vegetable is quoted in various Indian manuscripts where it has been mentioned by the name Bimba fruit or Coccinia. Ivy gourd is grown in parts of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

There are about 35 types of Ivy gourd distributed in Asia and Tropical Africa, however, out of them only one of the species is being cultivated in India. This cultivated species is scientifically known as Coccina Grandis. It is also popularly known by the names Cephalandra Indica, Coccinia Cordifolia (L.) Cogn. and Bryonia Grandis L.

Some of the other species of ivy gourd that are widely cultivated in countries like China, Africa, Australia, Central America, Malaysia and some Asian countries are Coccinia Histella and Coccinia Sessilifolia.


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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
    Reviewed By
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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