Bottle gourds are one of the favorite vegetables of Pakistani,Indians and has numerous health benefits. They are especially good for old aged peoples.
Known by various names, the bottle gourd is yellowish-green in color and usually in the shape of a bottle. The vegetable has a white pulp, with white seeds embedded in the spongy flesh. It is also known as bottle squash, white gourd, trumpet gourd, lauki, doodhi, ghia and calabash gourd. Read on further to know the nutritional value of bottle gourd, along with the health benefits of eating it.
The amazing benefits of this wonder food are not known to many, yet unknowingly it is consumed in majority of households because of the low price tag it carries in the vegetable market and its wide availability. Here are some reasons for you to never quit eating bottle gourd.
bottle gourd, lauki has amazing benefits for blood pressure and related conditionsIt is one of the earliest vegetables cultivated by man, believed to be originated in Africa. Bottle gourd, not very familiar to the western world, is one of the favorite vegetables in Pakistan Cuisine. It grows in humid weather of Pakistan,India, Sri Lanka and other tropical countries. Bottle Gourd or Lauki has many properties that are valued in traditional healing.
Health benefits of Bottle Gourd for babies
Bottle gourd, squash and long melon are the different names to this vegetable
The vegetable is generally eaten when it is young and it is left to mature and dry so that it can be used as a bottle or pipe. Some say, this is one of the reasons why bottle gourd gets its name from.  An interesting fact is that dried bottle gourds were not only used as bottles but were also used to make traditional musical instruments in some countries like India.
While some research into the origin of bottle gourd indicates that it was cultivated not for its nutritional value but for its use as a bottle, slowly the nutritional value of bottle gourd was also realized. Research indicates that bottle gourd has its origin in Africa and from here it reached East Asia and other parts of the world. Today, it is generally cultivated in tropical countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China and tropical Africa and also in South America.
At present, bottle gourd is not just a bottle any more. But, one can find it in many different sizes and colours. Some resemble winter melons or pumpkins in size and others, the long ones resemble snake gourds. The colours vary from light green colour to dark green colour.
Can bottle gourd be introduced into an infant’s diet?
Bottle gourd is perhaps one of the first vegetables that can be introduced into your baby’s diet without any hesitation. This is perhaps the least reactive of all the vegetables. It is preferred for children, the elderly and the sick because of its easily digestible. Most of the bottle gourd is actually water and the rest of it contains essential vitamins and minerals.
Nutritional value of bottle gourd
The National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference from the US Department of Agriculture has listed the following nutritional values for bottle gourd
Nutritional Value     Value per 100 g     Nutritional Value     Value per 100 g
Water     95.54 g     Energy     14 kcal
Protein     0.62 g     Total Fat (Lipid)     0.02 g
Carbohydrate     3.39 g     Fiber     0.5 g
Calcium     26 mg     Iron     0.20 mg
Magnesium     11 mg     Phosphorous     13 mg
Potassium     150 mg     Sodium     2 mg
Zinc     0.70 mg     Vitamin C     10.1 mg
Thiamin     0.029 mg     Riboflavin     0.022 mg
Niacin     0.320 mg     Vitamin B-6     0.040 mg
Folate     6 ug     Vitamin A     16 IU
1.The juice of bottle gourd is a valuable medicine for excessive thirst due to severe diarrhea, diabetes and excessive use of fatty or fried foods.
2.The Gourd fruit juice is used in the treatment of insanity, epilepsy and other nervous diseases.
3.The juice of the fruit is used in the treatment of stomach acidity, indigestion and ulcers.
4.Bottle gourd is not only rich in essential minerals, iron, protein and trace elements; it is also rich in fibre. Fibre helps in preventing constipation and other digestive disorders like flatulence and piles.
5.Bottle gourd is very valuable in urinary disorders. It should be given once daily in the treatment of burning sensation in urinary passage due to high acidity of urine. It serves as an alkaline mixture.
6.Bottle gourd helps in overcoming jaundice.
7.Bottle gourd juice is also helpful in losing weight.
8.Cooked Bottle gourd is anti-bilious. It makes one relax after eating. But one should not eat the vegetable raw as it can harm the stomach and intestines.
9.Bottle Gourd prevents excessive loss of sodium, quenches thirst and helps in preventing fatigue.
10.A small piece of bottle gourd should be tasted before extracting the juice to ensure that it is not bitter. If found bitter; the whole fruit should be discarded.
11.Bitter bottle gourd juice should not be consumed at all.
12.Bottle gourd juice should not to be mixed with any other juice.
13.In case of discomfort after consumption (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or any feeling of uneasiness), the person should be immediately taken to any nearby hospital. (Medical disclaimer).
Health benefits of bottle gourd for your babies
Though bottle gourd is an easily digestible vegetable and it is prescribed for elderly and ill people, this humble vegetable offers a range of health benefits. When given to infants, they can be highly beneficial in the following ways.
Vitamins and minerals: Bottle gourd is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals which are indispensible for your child’s growth. Parents must make sure that children, particularly infants get an overall and balanced diet to a great extent possible so that no deficiencies can arise. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to diseases. In this case, feeding your child with bottle gourd is a good start.
Low in Calories and Fat
The bottle gourd is low in fat and cholesterol yet high in dietary fibre. It contains 96% water and 100gm of it contains around 12 Kcal. It is rich in iron and also has vitamins C and B complex. It has sodium of 1.8mg per 100gm and 87 mg of potassium making it suitable vegetable for hypertensive patients. It is excellent for light, low-cal diets, as well as for small children, people with digestive problems, diabetics and convalescents.
Cooling Effect
Its high water content makes it very cooling. The cooked Bottle Gourd is cooling, calming, diuretic and easy to digest. It is also effective against constipation and other digestive disorders.
Urinary disorders
Bottle gourd is very valuable in treating urinary disorders. It serves as an alkaline mixture for treating burning sensation in urinary passage due to high acidity of urine.A glassful of fresh juice prepared by grating the whole fruit should be mixed with teaspoonful of lime juice and included in daily diet.It carries the potential for breaking calculus (stones) in body.
Balancing Liver Function
This vegetable is very good for balancing liver function. It is often recommended by ayurvedic physicians when the liver is inflamed and cannot efficiently process food for maximum nutrition and assimilation.
Premature Graying Hair
Ayurveda suggests Bottle gourd juice once daily in the early morning for treating Graying Hair.
Nervous diseases
Mixture of bottle gourd juice a sesame oil acts as an effective medicine for insomnia. It should be massaged over scalp every night. The juice is useful in treating insanity, epilepsy & other nervous diseases.
Blood Pressure and Heart Tratments
Recently, Bottle Gourd has attracted a lot of attention due to its importance in treatment of Blood Pressure and Heart diesease.
Poisoning
The bitter variety is prescribed as a cardiac tonic, as an antidote to poisoning and for alleviating bronchitis, cough, asthma and biligenic affections.
Nutritional Facts
Calories: One cup of bottle gourd contains only 18 calories which is less than 1 percent of the daily suggested intake and is lower than many other types of vegetables, such as red potatoes which contain 150 calories if consumed in the same quantity. Therefore, if you switched from eating 1 cup of cooked red potatoes to 1 cup of cooked bottle gourd daily, you’d save 924 calories in one week, enough to lose more than ¼ of a pound.
Fiber Content: Unlike many other types of vegetables, bottle gourds are low in carbohydrates. Each cup of cooked bottle gourd contains just 4g of carbohydrates. This can make bottle gourds one of the few vegetables suitable for low-carbohydrate dieting. If you’re on such a diet, bottle gourds would be a much better choice than red potatoes, which contain 26g of carbohydrates per cup, or green sweet peas with 24g of carbohydrates per cup.
Protein Content: Bottle gourds are low in protein as each cup contains 1g. Your body needs protein to build and repair cells and tissues, so you should always include protein rich foods in your diet unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
Interesting Facts

The bottle gourd was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not for food, but as a container. They primarily used as utensils, such as cups, bowls, and basins, mostly in rural areas. It can be used for carrying items, such as fish, dirt or other foods.
In some Caribbean countries it is worked, painted, and decorated as shoulder bags or other items by artisans and sold to tourists.
In Jamaica there is also a reference to the natural lifestyle of Rastafarians using the gourd to make a rattle of sorts for musical festivities.
In Haiti the plant is called ‘kalbas kouran’ literally meaning “running calabash”, and is used to make the sacred rattle emblematic of the voodoo priesthood.
The bottle gourd plant is highly respected in many areas, so much so that it is to be the national tree of St.Lucia.
Important Note:
The articles presented are provided by third party authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of KhanaPakana.com. They should not be considered as medical advice or diagnosis. Consult with your physician prior to following any suggestions provided
Reduces acidity:
Bottle gourd has been traditionally eaten to reduce gastric ulcers. Babies can develop acidity when they have indigestion. Usually, indigestion can induce the stomach to produce acid which is more than required and hence lead to acidity. This can be reduced with bottle gourd.
Natural Laxative: Bottle gourd contains a high amount of dietary fiber. This fiber adds absorbs water and makes the stool easy to pass. By giving bottle gourd, you can make sure that your baby’s bowels are clean.
Protects liver: There is a higher risk of infants developing liver diseases such as jaundice or hepatitis. Under such conditions, apart from seeking medical attention, you can also feed him or her with bottle gourd. Bottle gourd has been known to be effective in protecting liver, as some studies have shown.
Anthelmintic activity:
The seeds of bottle gourd are one of the traditional medicines to eradicate intestinal worms. The seeds of bottle gourd can be boiled, made into a paste and given to the baby, (not more than 2-3 teaspoons). This has immediate effect, as shown in some studies.
Urinary disorders: Urinary tract infections can be quite common among infants. One of the reasons behind it is lack of sufficient amount of water in the baby’s body. Lack of water to flush away the bacteria in the urinary tract can lead to infections. Feeding your baby with bottle gourd regularly and making sure that your baby drinks enough fluids, you can control urinary tract infections significantly.
Some precautions to be taken
For a vegetable which is as safe as bottle gourd, there are still certain precautions that need to be followed to prevent any negative effects.
The age of bottle gourd introduction: Bottle gourd can be introduced into a child’s diet when the child is about 6 months old. Introducing semi solid foods during this time is crucial for the baby’s health and development.
How to give the bottle gourd: One of the best ways to give bottle gourd to your baby is by peeling the hard outer layer, cutting it into small pieces and steaming them. Do not boil it as the vitamins in it get washed away during the boiling process. Instead, opt for steaming.
How much of bottle gourd: The amount of bottle gourd depends upon the age of the baby. When the baby is just 6 months old, then not more than a couple of tablespoons is required. You can increase the amount of bottle gourd as the baby progresses.
Should the 4 day test be taken: Yes, make it a habit to apply the 4 day test for your baby. With this test, you can make sure whether or not your baby is allergic to bottle gourd or not. Not only bottle gourd, as a matter of fact for any vegetable.
Bottle gourd (Calabash) nutrition facts
Bottle gourd or calabash is a delicately flavored, cucurbita family vegetable. It is one of the chief culinary vegetables in many tropical and temperate regions around the world.
Bottle gourd. Note that round and pear shaped fruits are known as calabash in the west.Botanically, it belongs to the broad cucurbitaceae (gourd) family of vegetables; in the genus Lagenaria. Scientific name: Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. Some of common names are white-flower gourd, opo-squash, long squash, etc, in the west and doodhi or lauki in the Indian subcontinent. 
Bottle gourd. Note that round and pear shaped fruits are known as calabash in the west.
Bottle gourd is a fast growing, annual climber (vine) that requires adequate sun light for flowering and fruiting. It can be grown under wide range of soils and require trellis support for easy spread.
Its intensely branched stems bear musky, deep green, broad leaves just as that in pumpkin and white monoecious flowers in the summer. After about 75 days from the plantation, young, tender, edible fruits evolve that are ready for harvesting.
The fruit features oval, pear shaped or elongated, light-green and smooth surface. In case of round or pear calabash, the surface is marked by incospicuous ridges that run along its lengthwise. The fruits come in wide range of shapes and sizes. Internally, the flesh is white, spongy and embedded with soft, tiny seeds. As the fruits begin to mature, they gradually develop to bigger size similar as that in honeydew melons.
Health benefits of Bottle gourd
Bottle gourd is one of the least calorie vegetable providing just 14 calories per 100g. It is one of the vegetables recommended by the dieticians in weight-control programs.
Fresh gourds contain small quantities of folates, contain about 6 µg/100g (Provide just 1.5% of RDA). Folate helps reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in the newborns when taken by mothers during early pregnancy.
Fresh calabash-gourd is moderate source of vitamin-C (100 g of raw frit provides 10 mg or about 17% of RDA).Vitamin-C, one of the powerful natural antioxidants, helps the body scavenge deleterious free radicals one of the reasons for cancer development.
Calabash facilitates easy digestion and movement of food through the bowel until it is excreted from the body. Thus, helps in relieving indigestion and constipation problems.
In addition, the vegetable is also a moderate source of thiamin, niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
Bottle gourd tender leaves and tendrils are also edible and indeed contain higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals than fruit.
Selection and storage
Bottle gourds are available around the season in the regions wherever suitable conditions for their growth exist. In the markets, look for fresh produce featuring tender, medium size, uniform, light green color fruit. Take a close look of its stem, which may offer a valuable hint whether the produce is fresh or aged.
Avoid those with oversize, mature, yellow-discoloration, cuts and bruise on their surface. Tiny spots on the surface, however, would not lessen their quality.
At home, store them inside the refrigerator set at adequate humidity where they stay fresh for 3-4 days.
Here are some serving tips:
 Fresh calabash is used in variety of stews, curries, sweet recipes across the world. In the Indian subcontinent, popular as lauuki, it is used in the preparation of sabzi, sambar, chutney, raitha, etc.
 In India and Pakistan, its flesh is used to prepare mouth-watering sweet dish; lauki ki halwa.
 In Africa, where it is thought to have taken its origin, calabash is used in stews with meat, poultry, and seafood.
In India, bottle gourd juice is a popular drink for its known health benefits.
Safety profile
Some bottle gourds develop naturally occurring cucurbitacins in excess amounts under environmental adversities and accumulate terpenoid toxin compounds such as cucurbitacin B,D,G,H, etc.
Bottle gourd poisoning is a condition that occurs when a raw bitter bottle gourd consumed either directly or in the form of juice. Serious illness and deaths have been reported in India after consumption of bitter bottle gourd juice for its purported health benefits. Symptoms may include vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea occur within minutes of poisonous juice which may follow serious illness like bleeding from gut, shock and death.
Bottle gourd Seeds
When you cut the vegetable into half, you will see that embedded in it are its seeds. These seeds should be removed and not be eaten.
Bottle gourd seeds can be used to plant a new set of vegetables and it is easy to raise one.
Bottle gourd Health Benefits
Bottle gourd vegetable has a lot of properties that are beneficial for our human body that helps us to have a good health.
When bottle gourd is cooked, it gives the body a sedative, cooling and calming effect.  It can make a person feel relax after eating.
Moreover, the vegetable has an important role in helping treat urinary disorder s.  In the case of acidic urine wherein burning sensation upon urination is experienced, bottle gourd helps alkalinize the PH of the urine by taking a glassful of the grated vegetable mixed with lime juice (a teaspoonful of it).
As mentioned above, it is composed of 95% water thus it can help in the cooling effect of the body.  It should be taken preferably in the morning to help us in preventing heat stroke especially during summer days. Aside from its cooling effect, its water composition also helps relieve excessive thirst and other conditions that can cause dehydration such as diarrhea, excessive heat, diabetes.  Also, it helps prevents loss of sodium and prevents fatigue.
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