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Botanical Name : Trichosanthes cucumerina
Species: T. cucumerina
Common names:Snake gourd, serpent gourd, chichinda, and padwal
Snake Groud (Trichosanthes cucumerina) is a tropical or subtropical vine, raised for its strikingly long fruit, used as a vegetable and for medicine. Other names include (Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguina ), serpent gourd, chichinga, and padwal. It is known as potlakaaya in Telugu, pudalankaai in Tamil, paduvalakaayi in Kannada and padavalanga in Malayalam. In Bengali It is called as chi chinga
Habitat :Snake gourd is found in the wild across much of South and Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and southern China (Guangxi and Yunnan). It is also regarded as native in northern Australia. and naturalized in Florida, parts of Africa and on various islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
The narrow, soft-skinned fruit can reach 150 cm long. Its soft, bland, somewhat mucilaginous flesh is similar to that of the luffa and the calabash. It is most popular in the cuisine of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The shoots, tendrils, and leaves are also eaten as greens.
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Description: This vegetable produces long and curved fruits that appear like snakes hanging on the supports or ground. This subtropical plant grows very fast in warm climates and produces lots of fruits for a long time. It is best to grow this vine plant along the supports for obtaining young straight fuits. Young fruits are harvested and cooked like Luffa. Seed has hard coat and may take a long time to germinate. There are several varieties with different fruit skin and length grown in Asia. An interesting plant for home garden and fresh market.
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Propagation:Snake Gourd has white male and female flowers and cylindrical , slender, tapering fruit(as shown in the picture)It turns orange when ripe and perple red at maturity. It needs insects to carry out the pollinating process for setting fruits. If the insects are not available in your area, the pollinating process can be done manually, by picking up male flowers and transferring pollens to femal flowers (face-to-face touching the center part of flowers). This process should be carried out when flowering is active during the daytime.
Medicinal Uses: The mineral and vitamin contents of the herb are calcium,phosphorous,iron,substential amount of carotene,little thiamine,riboflavin and niacin. Its calorific value is 18.
The plant is cardiac tonic.It counteracts feverishness. It is useful in restoring the disordered process of nutrition.It creats a coolingt effect on the body.It is low caloried food.Diabetics can safely reduce their weight while getting enough nutrition. It leaves are used in indigenous medicine in India.Its root serves as purgative and tonic where as its juice is strong purgative.
Indigestion: It aids to indigestion.Its leaves are useful as an emetic and purgative in children suffering from constipation.A teaspoonful of fresh juice can be given early morning to ailing children.The immature fruit can be eaten as fresh vegetable.
Heart disoders: The juice of fresh leaves is very useful in heart disorders like palpitations and pain in heart due to physical exertion.It should be taken thrice daily.
Jaundice: Infusion of the leaves of the herb is beneficial in the treatment of jaundice.It can be taken with decoction of coriander seeds thrice daily.
Fevers: A decoction of snake groud is useful in bilious fever. It is thirst reliever and laxative.Its efficiency increases if it is given with Chiratta and honey.In obstinate cases of fevers, a combined fution of this plant and coriander is more beneficial.A decoction of the leaves with the addition of coriander is also useful in bilious fever.
Other uses: The juice extracted from its leaves is used to induce vomiting.The latter is also applied locally as a liniment in case of liver congestion.In remitted fevers, it is applied over the whole body . The leaf juice is beneficial in the treatment of complete or partial baldness.
Precautions: The ripe fruit and its seeds are laxative but may cause indigestion. It should not be consumed as food.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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