Snake Gourd: Learn More About This Nutritious Vegetable Along with Its Health Benefits and Potential Side Effects

Reviewed by experts

snake gourd - livayiur

Snake gourd, also known as Trichosanthes cucumerina or Chinese cucumber, is consumed as a vegetable for its highly nutritious properties. In appearance, it is a long, thin, cylindrical shape and a slightly curved end and is commonly used in Asian cuisine. While low in calories, it is a very rich source of functional constituents apart from its basic nutrients, such as carotenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Apart from these, the snake gourd vegetable offers some essential minerals, which make the plant very active, both pharmacologically and therapeutically. In other words, this vegetable contains proteins, high levels of vitamins A and E, minerals, and fiber, which make it an excellent addition to any healthy diet. [1]

The snake gourd benefits have been gauged since ancient times when it was incorporated into medicinal sciences like Ayurveda and was used in the treatment of various ailments. Some of them were headache, alopecia, bilious, boils, acute colic diarrhea, fever, abdominal tumors, haematuria, and skin allergy.[1] In this article, we will delve deep into the nutritional value and snake gourd health benefits along with its potential side effects.

Nutritional properties of Snake Gourd

Snake gourd is enriched with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are extremely helpful for human health.

Pharmacological properties

This is due to phytochemicals such as alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, tannins, and steroids. [2]

Antioxidative properties

This helps to protect the body from free radical damage in cell structures, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and other body components. All these, in turn, cut down the risk and progression of many acute and chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other metabolic syndromes. It has also been found that all parts of the plant, including the snake gourd vegetable and the snake gourd seeds, have antioxidative properties. [2]

Dietary minerals

These elements are present in a snake gourd in both soluble and insoluble forms and help carry out a vast range of functions, such as regulating the body’s pH, building bones and cell structures, carrying charge, and driving chemical reactions. They also help improve digestion, prevent diseases, and take care of the overall health of an individual. [2]

Some health benefits of Snake Gourd

Studies suggest that the snake gourd health benefits are immense, and incorporating a snake gourd recipe in a daily platter can let you ward off various ailments.

1. Keeping blood sugar levels in check

snake gourd benefits - keeping blood sugar levels in check

The snake gourd vegetable is believed to possess anti-diabetic potential, particularly its ethanolic extract. It can also amp up the glucose tolerance level of the body by virtue of absorption into the surrounding tissues.[3]

2. Improves digestion

improves digestion - snake gourd benefits

The fiber content in snake gourd helps to regulate digestion, improve metabolism, and prevent constipation. Extract from the snake gourd vegetable can be incorporated in a snake gourd recipe to help enhance the protective mucous layer of the stomach, as well as hinder activities that damage stomach cells, especially from substances like such as ethanol and indomethacin.[4]

3. Effective against cancer cells

Studies have shown that snake gourd benefits also include an effect against various kinds of cancer. [7] They have also been seen to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Side effects of Snake Gourd

Although snake gourd is generally considered safe to eat and rarely exhibits any allergic reaction, sometimes a snake gourd recipe may turn out to be bitter due to terpenoid toxic compounds such as cucurbitacin B, D, G, and H, among others. If you feel any discomfort after its consumption, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or any feeling of uneasiness, medical attention must be sought. [5]


  • How is the snake gourd to be used?

A snake gourd recipe is quite common in Asian households, and the vegetable, as well as snake gourd seed, can be consumed after cooking. One can stir-fry it and use it in curries and soups too.

  • Are there any snake gourd benefits for the liver?

Yes, there are potential snake gourd benefits for the liver, and in ancient times it was also used as a medicine for the same purpose. The ethanol extract from the snake gourd vegetable protects the liver from carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity.[6]

  • What are the nutrients found in snake gourd?

There are various nutrients present in snake gourd, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water. Some of its primary minerals are potassium and phosphorous, and it also contains vitamins A and E. Apart from these, the snake gourd vegetable boasts copious amounts of bioactive components like carotenoids and flavonoids, to name a few. [2]


Snake gourd is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that can be highly beneficial for health when consumed in moderation. It is a low-calorie food with high fiber content that can help with weight loss, digestion, and other health-related issues. In the present article, we got to know about the multiple properties and benefits of the snake gourd vegetable and snake gourd seed.

This article is written from a health and wellness perspective and is not medical advice. So, please see a doctor before starting a snake gourd-based treatment.


  1. Comparative Analysis of Nutritional and Bioactive Properties of Aerial Parts of Snake Gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn.)
  2. Comparative Analysis of Nutritional and Bioactive Properties of Aerial Parts of Snake Gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn.)
  3. Chapter 4 – Beneficial effects of gourds in health and diseases
  4. Chapter 13 – Promising Functional Lipids for Therapeutic Applications
  5. Snake Gourd: A Review of its Nutritional and Medicinal Efficacy
  7. Potential Uses of Snake Gourd for Overall Health