Buffalo Gourd

Buffalo Gourd, Stink Gourd, Coyote Gourd, Calabazilla, Chilicote, Fetid gourd, Fetid wild pumpkin, Missouri gourd, Prairie gourd, Wild gourd, Wild Pumpkin, Cucurbita foetidissima, what ever you want to call it, one thing is for sure you’ll know what it is by smell alone. Though it has a foul smelling odor, like body odor, i.e. arm pits, This low growing vine was a valuable resource to many tribes

  • Western Apache mashed the stems, leaves and roots and applied to sores
  • Cahuilla also used on open sores and ground the fruit shell and made a shampoo. Also ground the seeds into a flour to make mush. Also dried the gourds and made them into rattles. Also used seeds as a bleach for clothes
  • Cohuailla applied it to open sores on horses
  • Isleta made a decoction of roots for chest pain
  • Keres apllied to bruises and other sores
  • Kiowa made a decoction of peeled roots and used as a emetic. Also rubbed dried seeds into clothes prior to washing… used for cleaning.
  • Omaha made an analgesic out of pulverized roots and water
  • Paiute made a cathartic decoction for venereal disease by pulverizing seeds and applying to sores. pulverized root was made into a decoction and used to kill maggots in wounds
  • Shoshoni used it venereal disease as well.
  • Tewa used pulverized root as a laxative
  • Pima roasted the seeds and ate them
  • Kawaiisu used seeds mashed as soap
  • Luiseno used as soap for clothes
  • Mahuna used roots as soap for cleaning
  • Papago ground fruit and used to bleach clothes

I must point out, I’ve used it as a soap, but it’s inferior to yucca and other plants that contain saponins. That said, it still makes an acceptable wash, though not as lathery as yucca.

The kids like playing with the gourds, and in fact, was also used by various tribes for games.

So, next time you smell funky body odor, it may just well be a useful plant… then again, it may very well be…