A poultice of the crushed leaves has been applied to the head to treat headaches. The flowers are an antidote to poison. The stem bark and the rind of the fruit are diuretic. The fruit is antilithic, diuretic, emetic and refrigerant. The juice of the fruit is used in the treatment of stomach acidity, indigestion and ulcers. The seed is vermifuge. A poultice of the boiled seeds has been used in the treatment of boils. Taken with Achyranthes spp the seed is used to treat aching teeth and gums, boils etc.Extracts of the plant have shown antibiotic activity. In many parts of China 3 grams per day of this species (the report does not say what part of the plant) has been used as a single treatment for diabetes mellitus.
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The bottle gourd is widely cultivated in the tropics and sub-tropics for its edible fruit and for the hard wooden shell of the fruit that can be used as containers, musical instruments etc, there are many named varieties with different shaped and sized fruits. The variety 'Cougourda' is said to be the best for eating. Forms with wooden shells tend not to have an edible flesh. The plants are frost-tender annuals, they grow very rapidly and their stems can reach a length of 9 metres in the summer. A warm summer is required for good production of the fruit. British summers are often too cool for this species and obtaining a crop from outdoor-grown plants in this country is somewhat problematical. The best chance is by starting the plants off early in a warm greenhouse, growing them on fast and then planting them out as soon as possible but making sure that they are not checked by cold weather. Hand pollination of the fruits can increase fruit set. A climbing plant, attaching itself to supports by means of tendrils that grow out of the leaf axils. It can be used as a fast-growing summer screen.The leaves have a strong musky scent that some people find repulsive. The plant is remarkably disease and pest-free, this might be connected to the smell of the leaves.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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