By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Unlike cucumber, bitter cucumber does not carry much nutritional benefits. Instead , it is rich in potent chemical constituents which makes it more of a medicinal herb rather than a vegetable.
Botanical name Citrulus colocynthis Schrad.
Ayurvedic name – Indravaruni
Colocynthin is the main chemical constituent, responsible for its purgative action. The roots possess a chemical constituent similar to oxytocin and hence the ability to contract the uterus and probably due to this reason traditional people of Assam use this in the correction of irregular menstruation.
Recently scientists have traced out its potent anti hyperglycaemic properties. Traditional people used to practice the whole plant in the treatment of chronic fever also.
Folk healers use the crude fruit in the treatment of jaundice and the diseases pertaining to liver and spleen.
Read related: Colocynth: Citrullus colocynthis Uses, Dosage, Side Effects
The fruit skin causes nausea and vomiting. So it should be strictly prevented from the reach of children. In fresh and green form, the fruit resembles cucumber fruit.
Few of the home remedies are practiced by this herb and the important ones are referred here below-
Premature graying of hair
1. Bitter apple seed oil for premature graying of hair:
50 gram of dried seeds are taken and made into fine paste by adding little water. It is cooked with about 400 ml of sesame or coconut oil. This oil is filtered and stored. This traditional oil is in practice in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This oil is found to be effective in premature greying of hair.
Constipation, abdominal distension
2. Indr Varuni Whole plant decoction in chronic constipation and abdominal distension:
Fresh herb is collected and decoction is made out of the whole plant. This decoction is used internally in the dose of 5-10 ml. This relieves constipation, abdominal distension, menstrual pain etc.
Read related:Constipation Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies
3. Colocynth Seed powder in food poisoning:
In case of food poisoning 2-3 gram of this seed powder is administered twice or thrice in a day. This helps to induce vomiting and hence the probable danger is checked. Fishermen use this kind of practice abundantly as they are repeatedly poisoned by poisonous fish intake.
Foot ulcer wash
4.Desert gourd dried seed decoction in washing the foot ulcers:
One fist full of dried seeds is taken and decoction is made. Whole fruit can also be used for this purpose. This decoction is used to soak the foot in case of foot ulcers caused during rainy seasons.
Many a time people are confused while selecting the edible and non edible fruits and vegetable. Cucumber and bitter cucumber are one such vegetative herbs which keeps us in confusion. Unknowing or accidental consumption will causes untoward effects and so one should be careful while selecting or eating cucumber especially when it is found near the fences and back water area.
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