Ash gourd, also known as Benincasa hispida, winter melon, wax gourd, white pumpkin, and Chinese watermelon, is a fruit native to parts of Southern Asia (1).
It grows on a vine and matures into a round or oblong melon that’s approximately the same size and color as a watermelon. Once ripe, the fruit’s fuzzy exterior morphs into a powdery ash-colored coating that gives this fruit its name.
Ash gourd’s mild taste is reminiscent of cucumber, and the fruit’s flesh is a particularly popular addition to Chinese and Indian dishes.
The fruit is touted to offer various health benefits and has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. However, only a few of its purported benefits are currently backed by science (1).
This article reviews the latest research on ash gourd, including its nutrient content and potential health benefits.