Bottle Gourd Juice Leaves Scientist Dead
The Indian Bottle Gourd known as the ‘lauki’ in India has caused the experts to delve deeper into its constituents and their effects on the body. The frantic pace of investigations were initiated after Sushil Kumar Saxena, a 59 year old Indian scientist died after drinking the juice from the bottle gourd which had turned bitter. Similar incidences of death were also reported from around the country.
A committee comprising of experts were set up soon by the Indian Council of Medical Research which met for the second time last Sunday in order to discuss the potential side effects of consuming vegetable juices. The body had been formed in April, this year.
The panel of experts discussed the cause of bottle gourd related deaths with particular emphasis placed on the recent incident. Saxena had, apparently decided to the bottle gourd juice blended with the juice from the bitter melon after he learnt of its benefits from a Baba or Indian Guru who endorsed it as being beneficial for curing diabetes. He died soon after he was taken to the hospital after complaining of pain and uneasiness.
Practitioners of alternative medicines like the Ayurveda frequently prescribe vegetable juices as a means of controlling diabetes and other serious conditions. The commonest vegetable juices that are consumed on a daily basis for their medicinal effects include:-
However, scientists have found that the chemical constituent, Tetracyclic Triterpenoid Cucurbitacin present within these vegetables can turn toxic resulting in fatal consequences if consumed in large quantities.
The committee formed for checking out the facts is continuing with their research meanwhile. They also hope to start an awareness campaign which will propagate the harmful effects of drinking vegetable juice when it turns bitter. Dr. Anoop Mishra, an expert in diabetes also stated that the gourd extracts often have little or no effect in reducing the blood sugar levels. He advised the patients to stick to the mainstream form of treatment.
It will, therefore be wise to avoid the Indian bottle gourd and its juice which tastes bitter. Else, the consequences might turn out to be bitter too!
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