The Ash gourd also known as white gourd or wax gourd is a single species of tender annual vine believed to have originated in Java. The Chinese have been cultivating it for over 2000 years. It’s medicinal uses first appeared in 659 A.D in the Tang Materia Medica. I don’t know when it arrived in India, but it’s medicinal properties were known to Ayurvedic practitioners over 1000 years ago.
The ash gourd is justly valued for its nutritive and medicinal properties. In Chinese medicine the rind is used to treat urinary dysfunction and the seeds for vaginal discharge.
The fruit is used to treat summer fevers. In Ayurveda, the fruit is used to treat epilepsy, lung diseases, asthama, coughs, urine retention and internal hemorrhage. The rind is used to treat diabetes and the seeds to expel tapeworms. The juice of the fruit is effective in cases of mercury poisoning and snakebites. Being extremely low in calories, the ash gourd is used to treat obesity. A delicious sweet made by boiling the pulp in sugar syrup is used to treat general debility, to increase weight after sudden weight loss, weakness of the heart and anemia.