7 Impressive Benefits of Snake Gourd

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The important health benefits of snake gourd may include its potential ability to reduce fever, detoxify the body, improve digestion, increase hydration, strengthen the immune system, manages diabetes, improve strength and quality of the hair, and aid in weight loss.

What is Snake Gourd?

Snake gourd is a vine plant that climbs up a tree and then unfurls its flowers and fruits to hang down to the ground. Some of the largest specimens can grow up to five feet in length, which is why this gourd is often used to make the traditional Australian musical instrument, the didgeridoo. This plant is native to Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and other neighboring countries, as well as some parts of Australia and Africa. It may not be a type of vegetable that is well-known around the world, but certain cultures have been utilizing this unique food variety for hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of years. [1]

The taste is bitter, but this often disappears when cooking, although once the vegetable is ripe, the bitterness is more difficult to eliminate. The leaves, tendrils, and other leafy parts of the plant are often used as vegetable greens, while the fleshy meat often replaces tomatoes in terms of culinary applications.

A couple of snake gourds on a wooden board

Looking eerily akin to dangling green serpents, snake gourds are not an item you see everyday. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

It is strange in appearance, name, and taste, but its health benefits cannot be denied. Let’s take a closer look at what specifically makes snake gourd such an important dietary staple in so many cultures around the world.

Snake Gourd Nutrition Facts

Snake gourd contains a possibly rich variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for human health, possibly including significant levels of dietary fiber, a small number of calories, and possibly high levels of protein. In terms of vitamins, it possesses vitamin A, B, C, as well as manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, and iodine. [2]

Health Benefits of Snake Gourd

Health benefits of snake gourd include the following:

May Reduce Fever

In many tropical countries, fever can be a major danger to public health, regardless of its cause. Snake gourd can be turned into a decoction and given to people suffering from fever. Overnight, fevers tend to break and the natural healing process can begin. [3]

May Detoxify the Body

Snake gourd has been used as a diuretic in traditional medicine for many years, as it stimulates the liver and may increase urination, thereby speeding up the elimination of toxins from the body. It may increase the creation of bodily fluids, which can eliminate dryness and dehydration, and help in the normal functioning of the kidneys and bladder. Juice from the leaves can also stimulate vomiting in case something toxic has been consumed. [4]

May Treat Digestive Issues

Children with bowel problems have been given snake gourd to ease their discomfort, as it acts as a mild laxative. Furthermore, the high fiber content of snake gourd can help anyone with bowel disorders and can eliminate constipation, reduce cramping and bloating, and optimize the nutrient absorption process in the body. [5]

Might Improve Respiratory System

Snake gourd functions as an expectorant, loosening pus and phlegm in the sinuses and respiratory tracts so that they can be eliminated. This further benefits the immune system, as toxins and other foreign agents often get caught in phlegm and mucus to cause more serious conditions. [6]

May Aid with Hair Care

For people suffering from alopecia, snake gourd is said to stimulate the growth of new hair and protect weakening follicles from hair loss. This can be attributed to its rich mineral and vitamin content, particularly its high level of carotenes, which specifically care for the skin and hair. It is also claimed that snake gourd can reduce the frequency and intensity of dandruff. [7]

May Boost The Immune System

Some research has shown snake gourd to have antibiotic properties, and when combined with the levels of antioxidant carotenes and vitamin C found in the vegetable, this helpful gourd can significantly boost overall health. The specifics of what conditions the antibiotic effects are most useful for is still a subject of research. [8]

An infographic on health benefits of snake gourd

Snake gourds range from small to very large in size and are elongated, slender, curved, or straight. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

May Help Manage Diabetes

According to an animal study published in the International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Trichosanthes cucumerina reduces fasting blood glucose levels in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The low-calorie, high-nutrient composition of snake gourd makes it a possibly anti-diabetic vegetable. It can be used in soups, curries, as well as stir-fries. [9]

May Relieve Stress

In traditional medicine, snake gourd was often utilized to reduce heart palpitations and ease the nervous system to induce lower blood pressure. This is likely due to the presence of potassium in the vegetable, which acts as a vasodilator and reduces stress on the cardiovascular system. [10]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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