- Parts Used: gourd fruit
- Constituents: glycosides: momordin, charantin alkaloids: momordicinothers: polypeptide-p oils (seed only): stearic, linoleic, oleic acids glycoproteins: alpha-momorcharin, beta-momorcharin, lectins
Benefits and Uses of Bitter Melon
The gourd-like fruit has a long history as a treatment for diabetes. Bitter melon improves the body’s ability to use blood sugar and improves glucose tolerances. Also, at least one animal study noted that bitter melon fruit juice may cause a renewal and recovery of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.
Bitter melon is used to treat infections caused by retrovirus and is being investigated in the treatment of HIV. Other uses for bitter melon include treating colds, flu and fever, parasites, digestive and skin diseases.
In the Kitchen:
The easiest place to find bitter melon is an Asian food market. Bitter melon is often used in stir fry dishes and combines well with ginger, lime, cilantro and garlic.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Bitter melon can be taken in whole fruit form or as a momordica extract, tincture, or juice. The latter forms are most likely to be available from practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Bitter melon is light, easy to digest and calms kapha and pitta doshas. It is a good food for diabetes, is a mild laxative and liver tonic.
Bitter Melon Side Effects: If you are taking medication for your blood sugar levels, take to your doctor before trying the fruit, and keep a close eye on your blood sugar. Avoid use if you have a history of liver problems. Excessive amounts can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Not for use during pregnancy
How to Use Bitter Melon
Preparation Methods & Dosage :
Fresh Bitter melon is commonly found at Asian markets and can be used in cooking. Dried bitter melon tea can be made by boiling a teaspoon of the dried melon in a cup or so of water. The tea has a slightly nutty taste, and is not so bitter as the fresh melon.
- Flowers:Yellow flowers, orange-yellow cucumber-like fruit. The fruit is the part of the plant used medicinally.
- Plant Type:Climbing vine reaching heights of six feet
- Leaves:Deeply lobed
- Distribution:Native to southern Asia and an important ingredient in Asian cuisine, bitter melon is cultivated in warm-weather regions throughout the world.