Himalayan Bitter Gourd
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Himalayan Bitter Gourd
P Native Unknown Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Himalayan Bitter Gourd • Hindi: बन करेला Ban Karelaa, बीज करेला Beej Karela • Nepali: कुरकुरे काँक्रोKurakure Kaakro, मुरमुरे Muramure, पित्ता काँकरी Pitta Kaakari, बन करेला Ban Karelaa
Botanical name: Herpetospermum pedunculosum    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Herpetospermum grandiflorum, Herpetospermum caudigerum

Himalayan Bitter Gourd is a large herbaceous climber on shrubs and banks, with long branched tendrils. Leaves ovate-heart-shaped, acute or long-pointed, often coarsely and shallowly lobed, rough-hairy, long-stalked. Flowers are large, bright yellow, unisexual. Male flowers clustered; female flowers solitary. The flowers are 4-5 cm across, and consists of a slender funnel-shaped tube and spreading elliptic petals. The fruit is ellipsoid, 7-8 × 3-4 cm, fibrous, finely hairy. Himalayan Bitter Gourd is found in the Himalayas from Uttarakhand to Bhutan, S. Tibet, Assam, SW China, at altitudes of 1500-3600 m.
Medicinal uses: The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are considered to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. Anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, choleretic and febrifuge, they are used in the treatment of piles, inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. The pounded root is used to treat problems of the bile ducts.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed on Govindghat-Ghangria route, Uttarakhand.

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