Since ancient times snake gourd plant has been well-regarded for its significant medicinal value in Ayurvedic texts. It belongs to the cucumber and squash family. The plant is a vine, growing naturally in the wilderness in South-East Asian and East Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, China, Nepal and Indonesia, as well as in the warmer southern regions in Australia.
The immature fruit is green and elongated and derives its name due to its characteristic coiled appearance with light white stripes. It has a soft, fleshy texture and bland flavour, while the mature fruit is longer, red in colour and inedible, due to its bitter taste. It is commonly considered a vegetable, which is mostly made into a curry in India.
This green vegetable has a lot of nutrients and is easily digestible. According to USDA, a 100 g serving of snake gourd gives us:
86.2 kcal calories
0.6g dietary fibre
2.0g of protein
5.1 % calcium
6.7 % magnesium
5.0 % phosphorus
7.2 % zinc
5.7 % iron
It also hosts important phenolics and cucurbitacins.
Being high on water content, it provides a cooling effect on the body and its zero cholesterol is highly beneficial for heart health. It is a powerhouse of vitamin C and a host of flavonoids and carotenes, which serve as an agent to boost our immune system.
Owing to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, it is seen to provide relief against valuable curative properties for conditions such as fever and jaundice. In addition, the juice of snake gourd also helps in reducing hair and scalp ailments like dandruff and bald patches (alopecia).
As it is low on calories and high in essential nutrients, it can be taken regularly by people who follow a strict diet regimen to lose weight. As it is a non-starchy vegetable it is a constant addition to all keto diets. Snake gourd has a significant fibre content, which helps to reduce constipation and bloating of the stomach. The presence of Vitamin E makes it a needed element for skin health and maintenance.
Residue derived from snake gourd has astringent property which helps in decreasing skin inflammation caused due to allergies, fungal infections and environmental pollutants. The seeds present within the immature snake gourd also possess a lot of nutritional components, including minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, besides antioxidant, antimicrobial and hypo-glycemic properties.
All these highly beneficial properties are making snake gourd a popular vegetable with the masses. The crop is, in fact, being propagated all over the world in tropical environments, so that people can procure its marvellous merits, for complete wellness.