Meet the Malappuram man who conserves ‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’, a medicinal variety of wax gourd
Perinthalmanna (Malappuram): A variety of medicinal wax gourd known as ‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’ is being conserved by a farmer for the future generation. Perinthalmanna native Shareef Paral is taking effort to conserve the indigenous crop.
Shareef recently found a ‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’ vine in his compound which grew on its own. Being a promoter of rare medicinal herbs and organic vegetables, Shareef is planning to preserve its seeds and propagate the plant.
Also known as ‘Pullu Kumbalam’ and ‘Neykumbalam’, this wax gourd variety is known for its medicinal quality. Compared to ash gourd, ‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’ is smaller in size. It is almost the same size of a coconut without husk. Also more white ash is found on the peel compared to ash gourd.
The plant acquired the name ‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’ as it was once widely used by ‘Vaidyars’, traditional medical practitioners. It was an essential ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines like ‘Kooshmanda Rasayanam’. As the fruit is rarely found, ordinary ash gourd varieties are used in the medicines now. ‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’ can also be used for making various delicacies.
‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’ fruit weighs upto 200-500 grams. The heavy varieties weigh maximum 1 kg. The ripe fruits can be stored upto four months as the peel is harder. The vine can be grown on trees and trellis. As it has high immunity, ‘Vaidyar Kumbalam’ can be cultivated in all weather conditions. Fruits can be harvested within 80-90 days.