Herb: Japanese Snake Gourd

Latin name: Trichosanthes ovigera

Synonyms: Trichosanthes cucumeroides

Family: Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family, Gourd Family)

Medicinal use of Japanese Snake Gourd:

Diuretic. The seed is vermifuge. The root is anodyne, antiphlogistic, blood purifier, depurative, febrifuge and resolvent. It is used as a poultice or made into a decoction to treat abscesses, boils, fevers, sore throats etc. The fruit is used to treat coughs, diabetes, jaundice etc.

Description of the plant:

Perennial Climber

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Fertile and damp places in mountain wilds in China.

Edible parts of Japanese Snake Gourd:

An edible starch is obtained from the root. The immature fruit is preserves in miso or salt. The mature fruit is about 7cm long. A nutritional analysis is available. We have no record of the seed being edible, though there is no reason to believe that it should not be. Like the edible seeds of many members of this plant family, the seed is eaten in the Orient as a vermifuge. The seed contains 33.8% protein and 56.3% fat.

Other uses of the herb:

The dried fruit is a soap substitute.

Propagation of Japanese Snake Gourd:

Seed - sow March in pots in a warm greenhouse in a rich soil. Sow 2 - 3 seeds per pot and thin to the strongest plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts. Give some protection, such as a frame or cloche, until the plants are growing away well.

Cultivation of the herb:

Fertile and damp places in mountain wilds in China.

Known hazards of Trichosanthes ovigera:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.