Herbs & Plants

Benincasa hispida

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Botanical Namne : Benincasa hispida
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Subfamily: Cucurbitoideae
Genus : Benincasa
Synonyms: Benincasa cerifera – Savi.’ Cucurbita hispida – Thunb.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Cucurbitales
Tribe: Benincaseae
Subtribe: Benincasinae
Vernacular Names
:    * Assamese: komora
* Bengali:  chal kumra (lit. “thatch pumpkin”)
* Burmese: kyauk pha-yon thee
* Chinese: d?nggu? (lit. “winter melon”)
* English: ash gourd, (Chinese) winter melon, fuzzy melon, green pumpkin, wax gourd, white gourd
* French: courge cireuse, courgette velue (lit. “hairy zucchini”)
* German: Wachskürbis, Wintermelone (Benincasa hispida)
* Hindi: peth?, pethakaddu
* Ilocano: tabungaw
* Indonesian: beligo, kundur
* Japanese:  t?gan ( lit. “winter melon”)
* Kannada: boodagumbala
* Kapampangan: Kundul
* Malay: kundur
* Malayalam:  kumbalanga
* Marathi:  kohja
* Portuguese: abóbora d’água (lit. “water pumpkin”), comalenge
* Sinhala: Puhul
* Taiwanese: dangguev ( lit. “winter melon”)
* Tamil: neer poosanikai
* Tagalog: kundol
* Telugu: boodida gummadikaaya
* Thai:  fak
* Tulu:karkumbuda
* Urdu:  peth?
* Vietnamese: bí ?ao
Sanskrit Name :KUSMANDA (The Sanskrit word kusmanda literally means that, fruit, which does not contain heat at all. It has various synonyms in ancient Ayurvedic scriptures,

Range Tropical Asia.  Cultivated Beds;


It is a perennial, large trailing gourd climbing with tendrils. The leaves are large, 10-15 cm in diameter, heart-shaped, covered with rather rough bristly hair beneath. The flowers are pale yellow in color, unisexual, male peduncle 7-10 cm long and female peduncle shorter. The fruits are large, broadly cylindrical, 0.33-0.5 meter long, covered with whitish hair throughout. The plant flowers in November and later on fruiting occurs. Each plant yields nearly 50-60 fruits.

click to see the pictures.

It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from June to October, in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Edible Uses….…..CLICK & SEE

Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Leaves; Seed……..CLICK & SEE

Fruit – raw or cooked. Used as a vegetable, and in pickles, curries and preserves. The fruit can be eaten when it is young or old, it can be picked as early as one week after fertilization. A juicy texture with a mild flavour, the flavour is somewhat stronger in younger fruits. Because of its waxy coating, it will store for several months, sometimes as long as a year. Mature fruits can vary in weight from 2 – 50 kg. A nutritional analysis is available. Young leaves and flower buds are steamed and eaten as a vegetable, or are added as a flavouring to soups. Seed – cooked. Rich in oil and protein.

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Fruit (Fresh weight)
13 Calories per 100g
Water: 96.1%
Protein: 0.4g; Fat: 0.2g; Carbohydrate: 3g; Fibre: 0.5g; Ash: 0.3g;
Minerals – Calcium: 19mg; Phosphorus: 19mg; Iron: 0.4mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 6mg; Potassium: 111mg; Zinc: 0mg;
Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 4mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.11mg; Niacin: 0.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 13mg;

Medicinal   Actions &  Uses

Anthelmintic; Antiperiodic; Aphrodisiac; Cancer; Demulcent; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Laxative; Salve; Tonic; VD.

The wax gourd has been used as a food and medicine for thousands of years in the Orient. All parts of the fruit are used medicinally. The rind of the fruit is diuretic. It is taken internally in the treatment of urinary dysfunction, summer fevers etc. The ashes of the rind are applied to painful wounds. The seed is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative and tonic. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of vaginal discharges and coughs. In combination with Rheum palmatum it is used to treat intestinal abscesses. In Ayurvedic medicine the seed is used in the treatment of coughs, fevers, excessive thirst and to expel tapeworms. The oil from the seed is also used as an anthelmintic. The fruit is antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, laxative and tonic. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine in the treatment of epilepsy, lung diseases, asthma, coughs etc. The fruit juice is used in the treatment of insanity, epilepsy and other nervous diseases. Recent research has shown that the fruits contain anti-cancer terpenes. An infusion of the root is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea. Demulcent, salve. Facilitates pus drainage.

Ayurvedic Properties & Uses

Kusmanda is sweet in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It has a special potency as a nervine tonic. It alleviates vata and pitta doshas, but aggravates the kapha dosha. The properties of its fruit changes according to stages of ripening. The tender fruits alleviate pitta dosa. Medium – riped fruits alleviate kapha dosha whereas, fully ripened fruits alleviate all the three doshas. There is an ancient Sanskrit saying- Vrntakam bahubijanam kusmandam komalam visam meaning, over mature fruit of brinjal and very tender fruit of kusmanda is like a toxin to the body . Kusmanda is a refuvenative, diuretic and aphrodisiac in properties and is used in urinary disorders, urinary calculi, general debility etc.

The fruits and seeds are used for medicinal purpose. Externally, the pulp of fruit is applied on wounds and burns to alleviate the burning sensation. The seeds mashed with water, serve the same purpose. In headache the seed oil is massaged for relief.

Internally, kusmanda is used in vast range of diseases. In thirst due to vitiated pitta, it is used with great benefit. In flatulence, it is beneficial because of its mild laxative property. The pulp of the fruit along with laxative is an effective remedy for tapeworm infestation. The seed oil facilitates the stools smoothly as well as renders styptic action, hence beneficial in bleeding piles. The fruit juice, mixed with sugar ameliorates hyperacidity. In tuberculosis with cavitation and haemoptysis, kusmanda is highly recommended, as it bestows rejuvenative, styptic and tonic properties. The root powder is given with water to alleviate the bronchospasm in asthma. The fruit juice, mixed with yastimadhu, is the best panacea for epilepsy. In hysteria, it works well with the powder of kustha, along with honey. The combination of its fruit juice, asafetida and yavaksara is extremely valuable in the treatment of urinary calculi and dysuria. Kusmanda is rewarding in cardiac debility as an adjunct. The seeds mashed with milk or the various preparations from the pulp of fruit in the form of sweetmeats, like Kusmanda paka and petha are commonly used as a general tonic, aphrodisiac, rejuvenative and also a brain tonic. Kusmanda inhibits mental instability, agitation and induces sound sleep. It nourishes the tarpaka kapha, which in turn, augments the memory and intelligence.

Other Uses


A wax that coats the fruit is used to make candles. The roots have considerable resistance to soil-borne diseases and they are sometimes used as a rootstock for melons and other cucurbits.

Disclaimer: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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