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Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Coccinia
Botanical name: Coccinia grandis (Linn.) Voigt
PLANT NAME IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES
Sanskrit: Bimbi, Bimbika
English : Ivy gourd
Hindi : Bimb, Kanturi
Malayalam : Kova, Koval
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Ivy gourd is a tropical plant in the pumpkin family. Ivy gourd is an aggressive climbing vine that can spread quickly over trees, shrubs, fences and other supports. It is an outdoor plant but prefers a sunny sheltered position and a sandy soil. Being a perennial plant, it can spread vegetatively or by seed. The stem is a herbaceous climber or perennial slender climber with occasional adventitious roots forming where the stem runs along the ground. The tendrils are long, elastic with coil-like springy character that can wrap around the host to the entire length. The leaves are classified as palmately simple with five lobes while the shape varies from the heart to pentagon form. The size of the leaves is approximately 5 10 cm in width and length. The flower is large and white about 4 cm in diameter and contains five long tubular petals. The ivy gourd fruit belongs to the berry type: oval and hairless with thick and sticky skin. The raw fruit is green in colour and turns bright red when it is ripe. The mature fruit is usually from 25 to 60 mm long by 15-35 mm in diameter and contains several pale, flattened seeds.
In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. The fruit possesses mast cell stabilizing, anti-anaphylactic and antihistaminic potential. Ivy gourd extracts and other forms of the plant can be purchased online and in health food stores. It is claimed that these products help regulate blood sugar levels. There is some research to support that compounds in the plant inhibit the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase. Glucose-6-phosphatase is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism. Therefore, ivy gourd is sometimes recommended for diabetic patients. Although these claims have not been supported, there currently is a fair amount of research focused on the medicinal properties of this plant focusing on its use as an antioxidant, anti-hypoglycemic agent, immune system modulator, etc. Some countries in Asia like Thailand prepare traditional tonic like drinks for medicinal purposes.
The poison from whip spider can be quire using Ivy gourd.
Ivy Gourd
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