Ivy gourd is a plant. The leaves, roots, and fruit are used to make medicine. Ivy gourd is most often used for diabetes. People also use ivy gourd for gonorrhea, constipation, wounds, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Ivy gourd has been used for over a thousand years in the treatment of diabetes and wound healing. Today, it is not a popular herbal treatment in most countries except India, where it is being studied as a possible substitute for insulin injections. In addition to helping control blood sugar, ivy gourd may also have antibacterial properties.
People take ivy gourd by mouth for diabetes, high cholesterol, gonorrhea, constipation, viral infections, skin problems including acne and psoriasis, dandruff, dry eyes, earache, fever sore throat, heart failure (congestive), herpes simplex I infection, inflammation of the mouth, jaundice, kidney stones, liver diseases including hepatitis and cirrhosis neuropathic pain, tuberculosis, tumors, cysts, and disorders of the spleen. It is also used to prevent motion sickness, promote sweating, and decrease blood pressure.
In manufacturing or industry use, extracts of ivy gourd are used as a food additive and as an ingredient in certain rubber products. Ivy gourd is thought to help control blood sugar (glucose), especially in people with diabetes. It may also help increase the body's production of insulin, a natural substance that helps turn sugar into energy for the body
Ivy gourd has not been well studied. Early research suggests that it may lower blood sugar, but the types of evidence are weak. No evidence taking ivy gourd improves cholesterol or lowers triglycerides in people with diabetes. More studies are needed to determine whether ivy gourd is an effective treatment for high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Early research suggests that taking a specific combination product containing ivy gourd plus willow herb and primrose seed (Phytolacca decandra, Cucurbita pepo L., and Linum usitatissimum), twice daily for 24 weeks reduces total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels in people with diabetes.
More research is needed to determine whether ivy gourd is an effective treatment for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Ivy gourd has been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years, but there is little scientific evidence about its effects on blood sugar or cholesterol.