Bottle Gourd or Lauki or Doodhi or Ghia (as commonly called in India) is a vegetable every household vouches for. People across India drink the famous ‘lauki juice’ or bottle gourd juice in the morning for its tried and tested effect on managing diabetes, and other health benefits including weight loss. While no one is doubting the benefits of lauki juice, one must be aware of Bottle Gourd Toxicity, which recently landed writer, influencer Tahira Kashyap in ICU.
Tahira Kashyak is famous for her fight against cancer. She is a cancer surviror, and a writer, wife of Bollywood actor Ayushman Khurana, . Her resilience is admired across the world. She enjoys a strong following on social media as well. A health influence and motivator, she recently took to social media to warn her friends and followers of the dark side of the wondrous green juice – referred to as bottle gourd toxicity. So what is it?
Bottle Gourd Toxicity: What is it
As the word suggests, it is the condition wherein the consumption of bottle gourd causes a toxicity in the body. Toxicity is essentially an increase in the toxins or harmful substances. In a simple word, one can understand toxicity as the level at which the toxins become poisonous and cause harm. However, using the word toxicity with bottle gourd or the faithful lauki seems a bit far-fetched.
The green vegetable has a strong fan following and with good reason. Packed with water, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, thiamine, iron, magnesium and manganese, bottle gourd provides your body with essential nutrients without the fats. While its taste is not a big favorite, the health benefits of the same are immeasurable and documented.
In Ayurveda, the vegetable’s juice is often prescribed for managing diabetes. It also has properties that help in counter flatulence, liver diseases, hypertension and even for weight loss. Celebrities diligently follow a diet which contains drinking the juice in the morning – either whole or with other green vegetables. Many believe that drinking the juice on empty stomach would help you get that flat tummy, we all so desire.
Then what is this toxicity?
Bottle Gourd toxicity is a serious, albeit rare condition and caused by what is collectively referred to as cucurbitacins.
Bottle gourds are part of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also have the other more famous members like Cucumber, Zucchini and so on. These contain trace amounts of a toxic compound – tetracyclic triterpenoid or cucurbitacins. These give the vegetable a bitter taste and these are what may cause toxicity – as was the case with Tahira Kashyap.
When ingested in large quantities, (more than 130 ppm), cucurbitacins can cause severe diarrhea along with gastrointestinal bleeding. The compound inhibits the binding of cortisol with glucocorticoid receptor. Cucurbitacins specially types B, D, G, and H are associated with increase in capillary permeability. This in turn can lead to rapid drop in blood pressure.
Symptoms and Effect of Bottle Gourd Toxicity, Treatment
As shared by Tahira, a person suffering from Bottle Gourd Toxicity would suffer form vomiting, extensive diarrhea and a sharp drop in the blood pressure. In severe cases the person may suffer from gastrointestinal bleeding in the upper and lower tract, severe dehydration. Due to the rapid drop in blood pressure and dehydration and bleeding, the body might go into shock very quickly.
Remember, there is no antidote for this. Treatment includes providing isotonic fluids, managing blood pressure, monitoring the condition. Blood transfusion in case of extreme conditions, if required.
How to avoid bottle gourd toxicity
Its actually as simple as taste. If the bottle gourd tastes bitter – don’t eat it. Same is the case with cucumber. Remember, bitterness is not a measure of healthy and nutritious. Consume food the way its supposed to be. And if it does not taste like it usually does – don’t consume.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet. For personalized diet plan, please contact the author on the number shared.