Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely cultivated for its edible fruit. It is very easy to grow and is available in most grocery and vegetable markets. Although the taste may be really bitter (as the name implies), it is so much like the bitter medicine our mothers gave us - we simply have to take it because it is good for us. The bitterness comes from the presence of momordicin, but it possesses numerous healthy and beneficial uses -the most famous being in controlling diabetes.
Ampalaya, Bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, sorosi, a'jayib al maasi, assorossie, balsam apple, balsam pear, chin li chih, ejinrin gule khandan, fu-kua, karela, k'u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, lai p'u t'ao, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria
Bitter Melon is a climbing vine that grows up to 5m, with tendrils up to 20cm. long. The bitter melon leaves are heart-shaped, 5-10 cm across, cut into 5-7 lobes. The plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. It bears fleshy green fruit, oblong shaped with pointed ends, ribbed and wrinkled, bursting when mature to release seeds. Bitter melon seeds are flat with ruminated margins.
Bitter melon has long been used by our great grand parents in the prevention and treatment of various diseases and medical conditions. Various parts of the plant has its own uses..
Green fruit of Bitter melon and young leaves are cooked, taken as food and is included in diet during treatment.
Juice extract from bitter melon fruit or leaves are taken spoonful for adults and teaspoonful for children. 3 times a day until symptoms improve.
Decoction prepared by boiling 50 grams of chopped fruits, seeds, leaves and/or roots of Bitter melon to a liter of water, taken as Bitter melon tea three times a day until symptoms improve.
Bitter melon is one of the more popular herbal medicine that had the attention of many researchers. Many of the published studies confirmed the potential of bitter melon in controlling diabetes. Below are some of the excerpts from these studies along with other related studies confirming the other traditional uses of momordica charantia.
Other acclaimed uses are for the treatment of HIV, treatment of fever and headaches, treatment of rheumatism and gout, disease of the spleen and liver.
Bitter melon are cooked mixed with meat. To lessen the bitterness of the ampalay, sliced Bitter melon are washed or even boiled in water with salt.
Powdered leaves and root decoction of Bitter melon are applied to hemorrhoids as astringent. Wash the bitter melon leaves with fresh water. Let it dry. Pound to powder. You can use carrier oils to mix with the powder for application.
Bitter melon juice. Fresh bitter melon leaves and fruit (without the seeds) are pounded to extract concentrated juice. Bitter melon juice is then added with pleasant tasting flavourings for drinking.
Bitter melon fruits and leaves are usually available in Asian or Chinese markets or in the vegetable section of grocery stores.. They can be bought fresh by the kilo, per piece or by bundles.
Bitter melon Capsules, Bitter melon, as its name implies, is quite bitter, which is why many often prefer to take capsules and tablets.Ready-made bitter melon extracts are available in capsules and tablets in many Asian markets, herb shops, and in the supplement department of health food stores.
The internet is full of online stores that sells Bitter melon extracts, tablets or capsules, When you do, look for standardized extracts (to 10% charantin for instance) or concentrated whole fruit extracts (4:1 or 5:1) to help insure sufficient activity. If you are in US, Canada or UK, where Asian or Chinese health shops may not be available. Amazon.com provides an alternative. Look for products that have favorable customers reviews such as Bitter Melon GOLD. We are not affiliated with this brand and give this only as a sample reference. There are numerous to pick from, but be sure to review the manufacturer and the comments to ensure quality and safety.
In large dozes, pure bitter melon juice can be a purgative and may cause pregnancy abortion.
Article last reviewed: 10.10.2016