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Fact Checked

Bottle gourd juice can be toxic

Published on November 19, 2021

Research has established that consumption of bitter bottle gourd juice can be life-threatening. Yet the popularity of YouTube videos hailing the many virtues of the detox drink continues unabated.

By Tej Kumar

Recently writer-director Tahira Kashyap put out a post on Instagram about her experience with bottle gourd toxicity. The 38-year-old mother of two was admitted to the ICU after drinking bottle gourd juice. However, the popularity of videos on YouTube hailing the many virtues of the detox drink continues unabated.

A Viral YouTube video in Telugu, for instance, claims that drinking bottle gourd juice, with some turmeric powder, coriander leaves, lemon, and black salt, will cleanse the liver. There are similar videos available in other Indian languages too.

The health benefits of bottle gourd are many – from a low glycaemic index that is ideal for diabetic patients to the low caloric value that aids weight loss and high water content that is recommended for healthy digestion. Research has, however, established that bottle gourd juice can lead to toxicity in the human body. Especially when the bottle gourd is bitter, consumption of its juice can be life-threatening.

There have been several reported cases of physicians attending to patients who consumed bottle gourd juice and suffered gastrointestinal bleeding. In case of any discomfort, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea or feeling of uneasiness after consumption of the juice, the person should be rushed to a nearby hospital immediately.

Given that there is no known antidote for this toxicity, experts warn against the consumption of bitter tasting bottle gourd juice. It’s best to eat the vegetable as part of a balanced diet, rather than drink the juice for its supposed medicinal value.