Ivy Gourd (Coccinia grandis)

Ivy Gourds are perennial plants growing in semi-arid regions. They belong to Cucurbitaceae family and are widely distributed in the tropical regions of the world. They have immense usages in everyday life from food to medicines, as they are rich in nutritious elements. Due to their invasive nature and dense growth they spread their vines rapidly in surrounding areas, often creating a ruckus.

Ivy Gourd Other names

It is known by many alternate names like little gourd and baby watermelon apart from the regional names in India like,

  • tindora (tindori, tindoori) – (Hindi),
  • toruli / kundri- (Bengali) and
  • kovakkai - (Tamil).
  • In Hawaii, they are called Thai Spinach

Ivy Gourd Description

Various parts of Ivy Gourd have been described below.

Plant: The plants are deciduous in nature, growing as long as 30m.They are climbers with long tendrils, tuberous rootstock and their broad leaves are arranged in alternate fashion. They bear flowers that shaped like stars which transform into fruits.

Fruit/Vegetable Length: Length of the vegetable varies from 2 to 2 ½ inches.

Color: They are light green when raw but attain a red tinge when they ripen.

Shape: They have an oval and elongated shape.

Seeds: Ivy Gourds have numerous pale, flat seeds that are instrumental in spreading the vine rapidly. Seeds can be carried by humans or dispersed by birds and animals. Seeds are formed by plants of both the sexes.

Skin texture: It has a thick, sticky skin which is devoid of any hair.

Ivy Gourd Picture Picture 1 - Ivy Gourd

Ivy Gourd Distribution

They are widely grown in all tropical regions as that kind of climate enhances it growth. India and Pakistan have massive plantations of this vegetable apart from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. It covers vast tracts of plains in Africa, continuing up to Asia. They are distributed in Hawaii, Australia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Guam, Tonga, Samoa and Marshall Islands as well.

Ivy Gourd Habitat

These vegetables grow in wooded grasslands and semi-arid forests. They are also noticed in coastal areas and highlands.

Ivy Gourd Nutrition

100 gm of the fruit has a number of essential nutrients.

water 93.5 g
protein 1.2 g,
energy 75 kJ (18kcal)
fiber 1.6 g
carbohydrate 3.1 g
fat 0.1 g
Fe 1.4 mg
thiamin 0.07 mg
ascorbic acid 1.4 mg
riboflavin 0.08 mg
Ca 40 mg,
niacin 0.7 mg
P 30 mg

Ivy Gourd Cultivation

These plants can be grown under these conditions.

Soil: Soil rich in humus is best for growing Ivy Gourd but it may also grow in other types of soil. It is better grown in well drained soils.

Sun: It grows in full as well as partial sunlight.

Watering: During its growing stage, it requires sufficient water for steady growth.

Greenhouse: In certain places like Britain it needs greenhouse protection as it is not a tough plant. In such conditions, in every pot you may sow 2 to 3 seeds. Bring them outdoors once the last spell of frost is over.

Seed germination: Germination happens in 3 to 4 weeks. Ivy Gourds can be grown from seeds as well as by vegetation. Growing them from seeds is a long tedious process because maturation of seeds takes place late.

Pictures of Ivy Gourd Picture 2 - Ivy Gourd Picture

Ivy Gourd Health Benefits

Numerous health benefits can be derived of the fruits, leaves and stem of this plant.

  • They are rich in fiber which helps in the digestion of food and allow easy bowel movement.
  • Leaves and roots of this plant have many compounds that help in regulating sugars in diabetic patients.
  • For attaining healthy skin, juice of this plant can be very useful.
  • Ivy Gourds have plenty of antioxidants which minimize the free radicals in the body, keeping it healthy.
  • Research has shown the prominence of glucose-6-phosphatase in these plants that can regulate sugars in the body of diabetic patients.
  • Immunity can also be achieved by regularly taking these vegetables.
  • Beta-carotene, an essential nutrient for preventing a number of serious ailments is stuffed in the plants, which helps in maintaining good health.
  • It keeps the endocrine glands healthy which reduces problems arising out of its malfunctioning.

Ivy Gourd Uses

The plant has long been used as an important ingredient of traditional medicine including Thai and ayurvedic systems.

Medicinal Uses:

  • The leaves are highly effective in treating diabetes and keeping the sugars in check.
  • It is an excellent cure for an array of skin infections like leprosy, psoriasis and scabies.
  • They have also been used for treating tongue sores, diarrhea and jaundice. Flowers are mainly useful in healing jaundice.
  • Roots of this plant have been used in Chinese medicine as they have a number of medicinal properties.
  • A tonic made out of the leaves is a noted Thai medicine for treating patients.
  • Their essence has been blended into a number of medicinal formulations that are available as tablets and tinctures.
  • Some other ailments like respiratory mucosae and bronchial inflammations can also be healed by it.
  • Leaves, fruits and stems have the power to stabilize high blood pressure.

Ivy Gourd Edibility

Leaves and fruits of this plant are eaten as vegetables. There are a number of edible uses of this plant.

Edible Uses:

  • In Thailand, it is eaten in boiled and fried form.
  • Curries and soups are prepared using the green ivy gourds. It is quite popular in India and Africa.
  • Ripe gourds are also eaten without cooking in many cultures.
  • Its leaves are often used in preparing a kind of herbal tea after drying it.
  • The unripe fruits can be made into pickles.
  • Indian cuisine is rich and it uses Ivy Gourds in a number of dishes in which it is filled with spices before deep frying them.
  • Indonesian cooking involves cooking these fruits in coconut milk.

Ivy Gourd Recipes

Ripe fruits can be prepared into stew by adding onions, tomatoes and other vegetables. Ordinary dishes can be pepped up by adding some spices and meat. In some Indian states its fruits are deep fried with peanuts or made into curry with loads of aromatic spices.

Ivy Gourd Recipe Image Picture 3 - Ivy Gourd Recipe

Ivy Gourd Buy

You can buy them from your local store as they are prevalent in the markets. Plant extracts can be bought from online stores as well.

Ivy Gourd During Pregnancy

Very less is known about its consumption during pregnancy but pregnant women and lactating mothers can refrain from this vegetable as that might lead to some complications.

Ivy Gourd Side Effects

There are no known side effects of this plant but it should be consumed under medical supervision if you are trying to benefit from its medicinal properties.

Ivy Gourd Interesting Facts

  • These vines are quite problematic at times when they simply intrude areas where other plants are cultivated.
  • They restrict entry of sunlight to the ground below as it expands, often killing the vegetation below.
  • Through the entire dry season, the stems and roots are able to stock up water.
  • Due to its invasive nature it is enlisted in Hawaii State Noxious Weed List.
  • Predominance of only male Ivy Gourd plants in Guam has led to its cultivation via cuttings and root systems.

A number of health benefits can be derived from Ivy gourds and they can be planted in home gardens as well. Through numerous researches and scientific studies, its efficacy in improving health has already been proven. Due to its intrusive tendency some weed management tactics can be applied on it.

Ivy Gourd Pictures

Take a look at the pictures of Ivy Gourd.

Images of Ivy Gourd Picture 4 - Ivy Gourd Image

Ivy Gourd Plants Photo Picture 5 - Ivy Gourd Plants

Reference:

http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2005/05/01/4276/ivy-gourd/

http://www.tarladalal.com/glossary-tendli-636i

http://www.thewildclassroom.com/biodiversity/problemplants/species/Ivy%20Gourd.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/ivy_gourd-page2/supplements-vitamins.htm

http://database.prota.org/dbtw-wpd/exec/dbtwpub.dll?AC=QBE_QUERY&BU=http://database.prota.org/search.htm&TN=PROTAB~1&QB0=AND&QF0=Species+Code&QI0=Coccinia+grandis&RF=Webdisplay

http://www.ehow.com/facts_7851226_tectona-grandis-seeds.html

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