This plant is a creeper which is in the pumpkin family. It grows wild in the Indian subcontinent and may be found in forests and fields. Hakims or herbalists would try to persuade children to bring them from the forest but the fruit are so tasty that hardly any got back to the elderly hakims. They taste like a honey melon, but sometimes they are sour and not so good to eat raw. They come in different shapes and sizes too some looking like gherkins, others may be round like tiny water melons. The flowers have red sheaths, but are white and rather like those of convolvulus. If you eat the fruit raw it will get rid of mouth ulcers and eating two fruit a day, raw will help diabetes sufferers and improve dry skin.
The fruit can regulate hypoglycaemia and so can other parts of the plant, but the fruit has the most potent properties. It has been sown that the plant extracts can be useful in treating diabetes and trials are still continuing in humans. It has been used in traditional medicine in the India subcontinent for centuries, without people suffering from ill effects, so is considered safe. Other plants used in the treatment of diabetes and which are undergoing clinical tests are karella (bitter melon) and fenugreek (methi).
The fruit contain riboflavin, thiamin, linoleic, oleic and palmitic acids and has strong antioxidant properties. The plant is a diaphoretic (induces sweating) so is good for fevers, and is also a diuretic and stimulant. The leaves and stem have antispasmodic and expectorant properties, and the juice from the roots is used for urinary tract infections.
Juice is extracted from the leaves and can be used for skin problems such as rashes or any other skin problem; one cup of juice may be mixed with 1 teaspoon of butter and applied to affected areas. The juice from the leaves may also be used internally for diarrhoea, in such cases, mix two teaspoons of juice with a cup of natural yoghurt and take two or three times a day. If you are in need of a diuretic, boil 2 teaspoons of chopped roots in a cup of water until the water is reduced to half. Drink this warm.
You can boil 1 cup of leaves, dry them and then grind them to a fine powder and store in a jar in a cool place until you need to use it. If you have burning eyes, a skin infections or need to cool your body, take a teaspoon of the powder in hot water three times a day.
This weed has many medical uses and the fruit tastes good too.
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