Ivy gourd: Benefits, Ayurveda Usage, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

Ivy gourd, botanically Coccinia indica is known in Ayurveda as Bimbi. This well known vegetable plant is described for the treatment of intestinal worms, skin diseases, for inducing emesis and purgation in panchakarma therapy.
Latin Name- Coccinia indica W & A, Coccinia grandis
Family- Cucurbetaceae

Bimbi

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Kunduru, Tirkol
English Name- Ivy gourd,  Scarlet gourd, Kowai
Bengali name- Telakucha
Gujarati Name- Tindora, Gove
Kannada Name- Tondekai
Marathi Name- Tadali
Malayalam Name- Kovakka
Punjabi Name- Kanduri
Telugu name -Kaki donda, donda
Tamil name- Kovaikkai, Kovakkai

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanksrit Synonym of Bimbi –
Tundikeri/ Tundika- The ripened red color of the fruit resembles the color of beak of parrot.
Raktaphala- The ripened fruit is blood red in color
Ashtopama Phala – ripe fruit resembles lips in shape and colour
Oshta upama phala- The color of the ripened fruit resembles red color like that of lips
Vidruma phala, Ushnaphala, Dantachada, Peeluparnika

Coccinia grandis
Coccinia indica

Habitat, cultivation

Bimbi plant is a climber, growing all over the temperate region of India. There are 2 varieties available- bitter variety available in the forests and the sweet variety cultivated as vegetable and used for culinary purpose. The fruits of the plant are oblong growing 4- 6 cm long, having whitish lines in the surface. The plant is a native to African and Asian continent and grows wildly as a weed.

Ivy Gourd flower

Classical categorization

Charaka Samhita- Moolini – Herbs with root as used part
Sushruta Samhita- Urdhwabagahara – group of herbs that are used for inducing vomiting
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Guduchayadi varga
Bhavaprakasha- Shaka varga – vegetable group
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu: Oushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu- Guduchayadi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Coccinia
Species: Coccinia indica, Coccinia grandis

Properties, Part used, Dosage

Ivy gourd – Coccinia grandis – medicinal Properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Cause dryness), Teekshna (Strong)
Veerya (Properties) – Ushna (Hot in potency)
Vipaka –Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Karma (Action) – Kaphapittahara (reduces the vitiated kapha and pitta dosha)
Ivy go

As per Bhojana Kutuhalam twelfth chapter, the leaves of bimbi is sweet in taste, cold in potency, treats vata-pittaja conditions, bleeding disorders, kamala, pandu, thirst and increases medhodathu,semen and aggravates kapha dosha.

Ivy gourd leaf with fruit

Part used– Leaves, Root (Medicinal purpose), Fruit (as vegetable)
Dosage-
Juice: 10-15 ml
Root: 3-6 g

scarlet gourd

Chemical constituents

The fruit of the plant contains beta-amyrin and its acetate, lupeol, B- Sitosterol, Taraxerol and cucurbitin B. Cephalandrol, cephalandrine A & B are found from the aerial parts. The root of the plant contains starch and carbohydrate.

Uses

Uses of Ivy Gourd – Bimbi:

  • The root of the Coccinia grandisis made into paste and given in a dose of 3-5 g daily to control bed wetting in young children.
  • The tender fruit of bimbi is chewed raw to treat mouth ulcers.
  • The leaves of Coccinia indica is heated mildly and wrapped around the place of swelling to reduce swelling and pain associated with it.
  • The fresh juice of the leaves is given in a dose of 10-15ml to treat wounds.
  • The fresh juice of the leaves and root of Coccinia indica is given in a dose of 15-20 ml to control diabetes.
  • The paste of the leaves is applied over the area affected with eczema and ringworm.
  • The juice of the leaves and fruits of Coccinia indica is given in a dose of 20-25 ml to treat jaundice.
  • The sweet variety of the bimbi fruit is used as vegetable.

Sanskrit verse

ivy gourd medicinal uses

Ayurvedic uses, Indications

Ivy gourd fruit and root:
Vamani – excess usage may induce vomiting.

Ashleshmala – balances down Kapha Dosha
Indicated in –
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Kshaya – depletion of body tissues, weight loss, tuberculosis
Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
Kasa – cough, cold
Pandu – anemia
Shvayathu – Swelling, inflammation
Kamala – Jaundice, Liver diseases
Ivy gourd leaves:
Madhura – sweet
Tikta – bitter
Sheetala- coolant
Laghu – light to digest
Sangrahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS
Katu Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) – pungent
Vatala – increases Vata Dosha
Balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha
The bitter ivy gourd calms down Pitta and is useful in Kamala – Jaundice, Liver diseases

Sweet Ivy gourd fruit:
Svadu – sweet
Sheeta – coolant
Stambhana – blocks the channel, useful in diarrhea, bleeding disorders
Lekhana – has scraping property, useful in balancing Kapha, in respiratory disorders and in cholesterol / clot deposition in blood vessels
Guru – heavy to digest
Vatadhmanakrut  – may cause bloating, gaseous distension of abdomen
Vibandhakrut – may cause constipation
Indicated in –
Pittasra – Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Shopha  – inflammation

Bitter Coccinia grandis fruit –
Pittaghna – Calms down Pitta
Vatakopana – can cause increase of Vata Dosha
Vishaghna – anti-toxic, useful in poisnoning
Ruchya – improves taste, relieves anorexia.
Guru – heavy to digest
Medhya – improves intelligence
Chardikrut – can induce vomiting

Indicated in –
Shopha  – inflammation
Asra – blood disorders such as abscess, skin disorders, bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Pandu – anemia

Adverse effects

Adverse action: There is no known or reported action of bimbi fruit. The bitter variety of the fruit may cause nausea and vomiting in some persons. It is also said in ayurveda that regular intake of bimbi phala may cause decreased intelligence level though no scientific studies have been carried out in this regard.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Bimbi:
Vastyamayantaka ghrita: This medicine has ghee as it is base. It is used for preparatory procedure for Panchakarma and also as medicine, used in the treatment of diseases related to urinary system.  Vasti means urinary bladder. Amaya means disease. Hence this ghee is widely used for urinary system diseases.

Galacto plus granules: This is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine in granules form given for increasing and improving the breast milk in lactating women.

Research articles

Research articles on Bimbi:
Anti- hyperglycemic effect: Chronic administration of kundru fruit extracts (200mg/kg) for 14 days reduces the blood glucose level of the diabetes induced animals as compared to diabetic control group. There was significant decrease in the blood glucose level in the 7th [p<0.01] and 14th [p<0.001] days of the diabetes induction, showing anti diabetic effect of the concern fruit.

Anti- microbial activity: The bioactive compounds of fruits of Coccinia indica were investigated for antibacterial activity against some pathogenic bacteria. The aqueous extracts did not show much significant activity, while the organic extracts (petroleum ether and methanol) showed the highest activity against the test bacteria.
The activity was more pronounced on gram-positive organisms with Staphylococcus aureus being more susceptible and Salmonella paratyphi A being more resistant.

Anti- inflammatory and analgesic action: This study was aimed to evaluate both post- and pre-treatment anti-inflammatory activities of the aqueous extract of fresh leaves of Coccinia indica in rats using the carrageenan-induced paw oedema method at various dose levels. Analgesic and antipyretic properties were evaluated using tail flick model and yeast-induced hyperpyrexia, respectively. The extract produced marked analgesic activity comparable to morphine at 300 mg/kg, which suggests the involvement of central mechanisms.

Reno protective action: In the present study, the effect of Coccinia indica consumption on diabetes-mediated kidney damage was determined. Various parameters, such as fasting blood glucose, urine sugar, albumin excretion, kidney index, and glomerular filtration rate, were ameliorated to various extents by the supplementation of C. indica in the diet. Additionally, diabetic rats fed with diet supplemented with C. indica fruits or leaves showed improvement in glucose tolerance compared to control diabetic rats. They also exhibited beneficial effects on key antioxidant enzymes of the kidney.

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]

2 thoughts on “Ivy gourd: Benefits, Ayurveda Usage, Remedies, Research, Side Effects”

    • Something strange property it(Coccinia Indica/Bimbi/Ivy Gourd or Kundru) has. When you chop this vegetable you will find stange thing like never before with any vegetable.

      When the sap water or the watery material from this vegetable get close contact with your palm skin for minimum 10minutes, you will stange, your skin gets sticky and when you try to remove this stickiness your finger skin gets spilling off like fruit spill(covers).

      It fills that sticky material is just like Fevi Quick(instant adhesive) and your finger skin gets roughed for long hrs.

      I do have found the same thing today which I never minded it earlier.

      My short observation,
      1) Close and long contact of its watery material leaves strange stickiness like no fruits and vegetables have(thick layer).

      2) Trying to remove the stickiness resulting in loss of top most layer of skin of your palm or finger. Extra effort may hurt yourself(may be bleeding)

      Please re-start your research and find what causes such thing degrading property or instant adhesiveness resulting roughness of palm/finger skin like Fevi Quick does with skin.

      Reply

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