Nosso trabalho tem sido incessante no sentido de encontrar o correspondente das ervas medicinais e alimentos descritos nos textos clássicos do Ayurveda com nossas plantas medicinais e alimentos existentes no Brasil. Uma linha das nossas pesquisas tem sido a de encontrar aquelas que tenham o mesmo nome botânico porque, assim, já teremos pronto todo o acervo do conhecimento e aplicações desenvolvidos por milênios de experiencia dos Sábios do Ayurveda e as experiências feitas pelos cientistas do Ayurveda. Quero chamar a atenção, agora, para uma das mais interessantes destas descobertas. Trata-se da nossa tão conhecida abóbora d'água, aquela que, quando seca, se transforma na extensamente utilizada cabaça . Seu nome em latim é Benincasa hispida e, em sânscrito, nos textos clássicos do Ayurveda, é chamada Kushmanda que é o componente principal de um dos mais famosos tônicos do Ayurveda - Kushmanda Rasayana ou Kushmanda Avaleha , descrito no Bhaishajya Ratnavali – Raktapitta – 45 – 51, e no Astangahridayam.
Hoje mesmo, recebi uma pesquisa do Dr. Sunil Kumar, Asso.Prof. & HOD, Dept. of Dravyaguna, Gaur Brahman ayurvedic college, Brahmanwas, Rohtak-124001, Haryana, com o título: KUSHMANDA FRUIT (BENINCASA HISPIDA/CERIFERA) - A NECTAR IN SUMMER SEASON que reproduzo aqui, com a autorização do Journal of Vishwa Ayurved Parishad/June 2017.
Uma grande valorização de um grande alimento, tão comum no Brasil!
KUSHMANDA FRUIT (BENINCASA HISPIDA/CERIFERA) - A NECTAR IN SUMMER SEASON
The Sanskrit word kusmanda literally means that, fruit, which does not contain heat at all. It has various synonyms in ancient Ayurvedic scriptures, delineating its peculiarities, like sthiraphala – the fruit lasts for longer duration, puspaphala – which blooms and bears fruits at the same time, pitapuspa- has yellow flowers. It is mentioned in various Ayurvedic Samhitas that Kusmanda has asmarighna, Mutrala, Dahashaamak, Medhya etc properties.
Kushmanda has several therapeutic properties, It has low calories making it a suitable edible item for obese and diabetic people. It has cooling effect and works as a laxative. Also useful in flushing out toxins from the body, increases the urine output and is beneficial in reducing inflammation. It has relieving properties make it one of the most commonly used herbal remedy for various problems arising in summer season.
Key words: Kushmanda, Ayurvedic samhitas, Laxative, Inflammation.
“Kushmanda” is a The winter melon, also called white gourd, ash gourd, fuzzy gourd, belong to the family Cucurbitaceae & It is the only member of the genus Benincasa. The fruit is fuzzy when young. The immature fruit has thick white flesh that is sweet when eaten. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life.
The fruits of this plant are traditionally used as a laxative, diuretic, tonic, aphrodisiac, cardiotonic, urinary calculi, blood diseases, insanity, and also in cases of jaundice, dyspepsia, fever, and menstrual
disorders. It is the main ingredient in Kusumanda rasayana as rejuvenating agent against nervous disorders. All most all parts of (leaves, flower, fruit and seeds) it have been used, either as food or as medicine. The young shoots, leaves and flowers can be used as vegetable. Fruits of this plant are widely used for cooking in India, Pakistan and China. Many delectable dishes like peta, (a sweet dish), soups and curries are prepared by this fruit. The immature as well as mature, large size fruits are often cooked as vegetable.
English: Ash Gourd, White Gourd, Wax Gourd, White Pumpkin.
Hindi: Petha, Raksaa, Bhatuaa
Synonyms: Kuushmaanda, Kuushmaandika, Pushpaphala, Bruhatphala, Valliphala, Sthirphala etc.
Habitat: The plant is cultivated throughout India in plains and hills, now a day much cultivated in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Bihar.
Benincasa hispida (Thumb.)Cogn. is a climber, stem softly hairy, diffuse with bifid tendrils. Leaves cordate, reniform-orbicular, more or less deeply 5-lobed, upper surface scabrous, lower shortly hispid, margin sinuate, dentate; nerves hirsute at lower surfaces. Tendrils slender; 2 fid. Flowers large yellow; axillary, unisexual; Peduncles hirsute, male 6-15 cm long, Female 2-4 cm long. Probracts foliaceous; opposite the tendril, ovate, Calyx tube (male) campanulate, lobes 5, leaf-like, serrate. Petal 5, nearly separate, obovate. Stamens 3, inserted near the mouth of the tube, anthers exsert, free, 1-one celled, two- 2 celled, cells sigmoid. Female calyx and corolla as in the male. Ovary oblong, densely hairy; inferior style thick with three flexuous stigma; ovules numerous. Fruits spherical, large, fleshy, hairy when young, waxy bloom when mature; Seeds are many compressed ovoid, smooth, yellowish white, distinctly marginate.
Rasa : Madhura
Guna : Laghu , Snigdha Virya : Sheeta
Vipaka : Madhura
Dosha Effect: Vaata-pittahara
Dhatus : Mamsa, Meda, Rakta, Majja, Shukra Srotas : Majjavaha, Manovaha, Raktavaha,Rasavaha
Kushmanda is used in Ayurveda for Actions like Anulomana - expels downwards, Balya - strengthening tonic, Brimhana – nourishing, Dahaprashamana - anti-burning, Kasahara - relieves cough, Medhya - brain tonic, Mutrala – diuretic, Nidrajanana – sedative, Raktavardhaka - good in anaemia, Rasayana – rejuvenative, Sandhaniya-asthi dhatu - fracture healing, Sonita sthapana - rectifies vitiated blood, Sukaravadhka - good for conception, Trishanahara - relieves thirst etc.
Dosage: Dried pieces of the fruit—5-10 g (API Vol. IV.)
Fruit juice—10-20 ml (CCRAS.)
Kusmanda paka, Kusmanda ghrta, Kusmanda churna, Kalyanaka ghrta, Kusmandava leha, Kusmanda rasayana, Kusmanda khanda etc.
Fruits nutritional Value: 6
The fruits contain lupeol, beta-sitosterol, their acetates and several amino acids. The fruit juice produces tranquilizing activity and mild CNS depressant effect in mice. About 96% of winter melon is composed of water. It is loaded with various vitamins and minerals that help boost your health and prevent diseases. It is rich in vitamins like vitamin C and B complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. This vegetable is also a good source of minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium. In addition to these nutrients, winter melon also provides good amounts of protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
Health Benefits of Fruit in Summer: 7
Winter melon acts as an antacid and helps maintain the correct pH of the body. So if you have acidity problems, make sure to include this vegetable as part of your regular diet.
Winter melon is widely used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for the treatment for anemia. Fully packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus and calcium, this vegetable helps produce new blood cells and can be used as an effective remedy for treating anemia.
Winter melon is a natural coagulant, which helps control bleeding. The leaves of this vegetable are sometimes crushed and applied on cuts and bruises to speed up healing. It is also effective in preventing internal bleeding. Consuming ash gourd juice regularly is helpful for conditions like haematuria, piles and bleeding due to ulcers.
Winter melon shows natural sedative and soothing properties, because of which it is beneficial for maintaining good mental health. Drinking a glass of winter melon gourd juice daily can help reduce stress and helps you stay relaxed. It produces a soothing and calming effect on nerves and brain and so it is used to provide relief from problems related to the nervous system such as anxiety, depression, neurosis, insomnia and paranoia.
In addition to the various health benefits, winter melon has many cosmetic uses as well. Applying a mixture of ash gourd juice and lemon juice on the skin has been found to be beneficial in getting rid of dark spots on the skin and bring a natural glow and shine to the skin. The juice of winter melon is also very good for your hair. It is considered to be one of the best remedies for preventing dandruff and hair fall. To get rid of dandruff, just apply winter melon juice on the scalp and massage well. After some time wash your hair with a mild shampoo. The seeds and rind of this vegetable are added to coconut oil and the oil is applied on the hair to promote hair growth as well as to eliminate dandruff.
In addition to being a low calorie food, winter melon also shows diuretic effects that helps reduce weight due to water retention. The high level of fiber in this vegetable satisfies your hunger. This helps in preventing frequent snacking and overeating, thus helping to maintain a healthy weight.
Benincasa Fruits: A natural remedy that you can try at home to get relief from certain ailments:
For Peptic ulcer – Mix together winter melon juice with the same amount of water and drink it every morning on an empty stomach.
For heat boils – Make a paste of chickpea flour with ash gourd juice and apply it on the affected area.
For increasing appetite – Combine together 100 ml of fresh winter melon juice, 5 grams of ghee and 5 grams of honey and drink it at night. If you have a poor appetite, take this drink regularly to increase your appetite.
For fertility – Regular consumption of the winter melon or its juice is helpful in improving fertility as it helps increase the production and motility of sperms.
For improving memory – Grate the flesh of fully ripe winter melon and squeeze it to extract its juice. Add equal quantity of water to this juice and drink it in an empty stomach every day. This drink is considered to be a brain tonic that can help improve memory power.
For constipation – Cut the flesh of matured winter melon into big cubes and boil them in water until the pieces are half cooked. Eating the half cooked vegetable regularly help to alleviate constipation. The water used to boil winter melon can be used as stock to prepare healthy soups.
For cough and cold – Drinking the juice of winter melon daily is a great way to prevent the common cold and cough. It is also an effective remedy for other respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, influenza and sinusitis.
For dandruff – Boil the seeds and skin of winter melon in coconut oil. Applying this oil on the hair and scalp helps encourage hair growth as well as prevent dandruff, itchy scalp and dryness of the scalp.
Benincasa Fruits recipes combats summer: 8, 9
Ingredients: 4 cups of winter melon/ Ash gourd/petha, 1 lemon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 cup water.
In blender or juicer or food processor add peeled chopped winter melon pieces and 1 cup of water. Blend unt il you get a smooth consistency, Strain the juice to remove big pieces, then add lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix everything well.
Winter Melon Tea:
Ingredients: 1½ kilogram winter melon flesh, cut into 1 inch cubes, 250 gram brown sugar, 50 gram rock sugar.
Preparation: Place winter melon flesh and brown sugar in a pot, mix well. Set aside for about 1 hour until some liquid has formed, Add rock sugar to the pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until winter melon is completely transparent, about 2 hours, Turn off heat, strain and press as much liquid through the strainer as you can to get the concentrated winter melon syrup. Store this syrup in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 week, to serve, make “tea” with 1 part concentrated winter melon syrup and 3 parts water. Add some ice cubes, and stir everything together, Serve cold.
Kushmanda(Benincasa hispida) fruit is a very potential drug with wide range of medicinal utility as it contains vitamin C and B complexes and a good source of minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium etc. In my view this is the fruit which should be consume during Summer to maintain good health.
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