New Delhi: Bottle gourd or lauki juice may not be the best health drink and certain precautions must be observed, including discarding bitter-tasting lauki, the health ministry said in an advisory issued Tuesday.
After a few cases of death and illness due to lauki juice were reported, the health ministry has come out with a detailed advisory on the juice.
The health ministry says a small piece of lauki must be cut and tasted to ensure it is not bitter and only then should the juice be extracted.
"If it is bitter, it should be discarded," joint advisor in the Ayush department of health ministry J. Pandey said in the advisory.
The advisory, prepared by an expert committee of the Indian Council of Medical Research, says bitter lauki juice must not be consumed at all and lauki juice must not be mixed with any other juice.
"After consumption of lauki juice, if there is any discomfort, nausea, vomiting or any feeling of uneasiness, the person should immediately be taken to a nearby hospital," Pandey said.
Giving instructions to doctors, the health ministry says in case of any symptoms of discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or gastrointestinal bleeding, after consuming lauki juice, detailed clinical examination should be done and vitals of the patients should be checked.
"Details of the quantity of juice consumed and its taste should also be recorded," said Pandey.
The health ministry also said tests including hemogram, urine examination, biochemical, electrolytes, liver and kidney function tests including prothrombin time and platelets count, serum amylase and blood sugar should be done.
X-ray of chest, ECG, ultrasound and endoscopy may also be required.
A 59-year-old senior deputy secretary at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) died in July last year and his wife was serious after taking lauki juice.
"The gourds which have bitter taste may be toxic," a health ministry official said.