Bottle Gourd Juice Healer or killer
Drinking of bottle gourd juice in the morning on empty stomach is considered a remedy for diabetes, heart disease, hypertriglyceridemia, constipation, liver diseases, urinary problems, depression, etc. by practitioners of Ayurveda and alternate medicine. In this era of rapid media communications, such practices are increasing, fuelled by increasing use of Ayurvedic, complementary or alternate therapies to treat ailments. However, there is lack of standardization in the preparation of such juices and sometimes, especially when the juice is bitter, such medications can become dangerous and life-threatening.
The juice may in certain circumstances turn bitter with increased levels of the cytotoxic compound called Cucurbitacins. If the bitter juice is consumed it causes a toxic reaction in the gut, leading to abdominal discomfort/pain, vomiting, hematemesis, and hypotension which may be rarely fatal, especially in persons with pre-existing illness. There is no known antidote for bottle gourd poisoning.
The bitterness of vegetables or fruits is due to “Heat Stress” or “Environmental Stress” experienced by plants that produce fruits, vegetables and grains. Some plants produce chemicals that are bitter and toxic because of attack by pests.
Take, for example, Cucumbers, Muskmelons, Bottle gourd, Ridge gourd, Brinjal, green leafy vegetables, etc. These plants naturally produce chemicals called cucurbitacins, which are very bitter and toxic and when taken in large quantities can make a person ill.
So beware of the bitter vegetables and fruits. Discard if the veges or fruits taste bitter.