Ayurvedic Understanding of Lauki
Dosha: VP (K when juiced)
Taste: Bitter & Slightly Astringent
Quality: Dry and Light
Post Digestive: Bitter
Parts Used: Vegetable, Flower, Leaf and Roots
I am writing in details about how and when to eat the vegetable and mostly the benefits of the vegetable. However the if you are fortunate to find the plant – the leaf can be used to clear skin infections and the flower is extremely beneficial for the female reproductive organs. The root is highly effective for kidney stones, prostate health and as a diuretic.
Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin C, Thiamin, Niacin (vitamin B-3), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and small amounts of Folates. It also contains minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, sodium, manganese and magnesium
How to Eat?:
Lauki or Lau (in Bangladesh) or Bottle Gourd is mostly available in tropical countries. If you live in the West like me you can only purchase Lauki from Indian or Desi grocery stores. Best to make soup, light curry, raita, bhaji (stir fry), achar (pickle), or kofta (vegetable balls) using lauki. I have seen people making South East Asian desserts such as halva and khir. Lauki juice can be taken if you are a Kapha dosha predominant. Drink 200 ml (or 1 cup) lauki juice between 12-3 PM. I love making Lauki kofta and my mother cooks lauki curry with potatoes and tomatoes. When making raita you must precook the lauki.
Do not eat with other bitter vegetables such as bitter gourd. rapini or other bitter leafy greens.
Kapha individuals when juicing lauki can add parsley or cilantro or celery (for Kidney Cleanse), add Tulsi or Holy Basil or mint leaves (for heart health), ginger or turmeric (raw, very small amount for detoxing effect as well as digestive and respiratory health) or a fresh pear apple, peach or apricot. Do not add salt to lauki juice as it naturally contains sodium. Do not consume more than 200 ml at a time.
Lauki or Bottle Gourd and Dosha:
Lauki or Bottle Gourd or Calabash has been used in South East Asian countries as a weight loss tonic as well as in skin care regime. A highly prized vegetable in Ayurvedic medicine as it increases ojas (immunity) and nourishes Vata and Pitta dosha.
Vata and Pitta must consume cooked lauki or bottle gourd. If you are kapha then use thermogenic spices like ginger, cayenne or drink the lauki or bottle gourd juice for weight loss.
About bottle gourd/lau/lauki:
This South Asian squash is indeed bottle shaped, light green and long. The flesh inside is spongy and you can also cut it into small pieces and make a curry out of it. Bottle gourd or lauki is over 90% water therefore it is easy to digest. Due to its sodium content it is best to eat before sunset otherwise instead of the beneficial diuretic effect it will promote water retention. Best time to eat Lauki in noon for lunch.
Health Conditions it Can Improve: Jaundice (leaf juice), Diabetes, Obesity, Constipation, Acidity, Skin Condition, Stops Premature Aging, Swelling (if taken at noon), Insect Bites (leaf) and Anemia (Iron). It also combats Parasites or Intestinal Worms, Insomnia, Depression, Improve Memory, Cold/Cough/Sinus, Asthma, Fever, Colic Pain and Ulcer.
Women suffering from reproductive issues such as PMS, PCOS, water retention, Hype or Hyper thyroid, Leukorrhea and Infertility (female egg), can also take this vegetable and the flower of the plant. Again best taken during lunch. Avoid after pregnancy as in pregnancy the chances of water retention is high.
Ayurvedic health benefits of bottle gourd/lau/ lauki:
- Ayurveda recommends cooked lauki or bottle gourd for better digestion. It is cooling, calming, diuretic and anti-bilious (reduces bile and stops indigestion). The B vitamins assist in increasing the body’s metabolic rate to better digest fats, proteins, sugar and carbohydrate.
- Like cranberries, bottle gourd or lauki supports the kidneys and the urinary system of our body by reducing burning sensation from high acidic urination. It also reduces the chances of urinary infection because it is alkalizing and has a diuretic effect. Consume if you have high creatine and uric acid.
- A nutritious vegetable for the female reproductive system.
- It is extremely popular for weight loss. Especially the bottle gourd or lauki juice when taken at noon.
- Bottle gourd is extremely popular for reducing high blood pressure and bad cholesterol in some people. However when taking cardiac medications or when the cardiac condition is severe do NOT take lauki as it can create more pressure on the cardiac muscles.
- Lauki or bottle gourd is known to combat excessive thirst in diabetic patients. However do not take if lauki is too bitter or with other bitter herbs.
- The fiber and the minerals in the bottle gourd or lauki supports healthy digestion and combats flatulence (by killing intestinal parasites), constipation, colic pain and ulcer.
- In Ayurveda it is also know to prevent premature greying and improve hair growth. It will NOT change the grey hair to black but will stop more greying as it contain B vitamins and has a cooling effect on the scalp. Grate and apply with yogurt or apply cider vinegar. You can mix my Healthy Hair Mask in yogurt and add lauki in it.
- The Vitamin C and Zinc in lauki prevent pre mature aging and wrinkles as well. Lauki juice can be applied externally for skin care uses such as pimple, acne, dark circle, puffy eyes etc. .
- Bottle gourd is recommended by Ayurvedic doctors for reducing liver inflammation.
Note: Due to the fact that lauki is cooling – many think that it cannot reduce respiratory condition. However Lau or Lauki juice taken with ginger or black pepper can help with respiratory health but only if taken before sunset or by 3 pm.
Learn how to make Lauki Kofta!
Have you ever cooked with bottle gourd. If not does this blog post inspire you? Post a comment below.
Question of the day: Which of these benefits is useful to you?
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