Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon / Bitter Gourd / Karela

Bitter Melon is also known as Momordica charantia (Scientific Binomial Name), Blsam Pear / Carilla / Bitter Gourd (Common English), Kaaravellaka / Kaaravella / Kaathilla / Sushaavi (Ayurvedic), Karelaa (Unani), Karela (Hindi / Urdu), iraca-valli / pagakkai / Pavakkai / Paakal / Paharkai (Tamil), ambalem / karali (Marathi), kaarvellakah / kathillah / paraaru / sushavi (Sanskrit), karala (Bengali), kakara (Telugu), haagalakaay / Haggala Kai (Kannada), kayppa / pavaykka (Malayalam). Bitter melon is used as a traditional medicine wherever it is found. It has a long history of use in Asia, Africa and Latin America and has been widely acclaimed as an important remedy for diabetes mellitus since ancient times.

Bitter Melon for Diabetes Treatment

Bitter melon is highly beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. It is specially helpful to diabetics who are overweight and obese. It contains an insulin-like principle, known as plant-insulin which has been found effective in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. It has antidiabetic properties which has capacity to regulate vitiated carbohydrate digestion, glucose metabolism and utilization, possesses insulin mimetic and secretagogue activities, and corrects the impaired antioxidant defense in diabetes. It is good practice to be include bitter gourd liberally in the diet of the diabetic. For better results, the diabetic should take the juice of about 4 or 5 fruits every morning on an empty stomach. The seeds of bitter gourd can be added to food in a powdered form. Diabetics can also use bitter gourd in the form of decoction by boiling the pieces in water or in the form of dry powder. The fresh juice of bitter gourd is also effective medicine in the early stages of cholera. In the treatment of measles, take out juice extract of few bitter gourd leaves and mix it with turmeric root powder and honey. Give this mixture to the patient suffering from measles. Combination of turmeric, karela, fenugreek seeds, and black pepper is also helpful for regulating blood sugar levels.

Bitter Gourd for Psoriasis

A paste of seeds gives encouraging result in psoriasis and ringworm. Bitter gourd juice and one teaspoon of lime juice mixing togther in the morning on empty stomach can give guaranteed results for psoriasis. Repeat the same for at least 6 months.

Bitter Melon Seeds and Juice Nutritional Value

Bitter melon slices are dried and used as herbal tea. This is very popular in China and Vietnam. Bitter melon is rarely used in mainland Japan, but is a significant component of Okinawan cuisine and is deemed as its national vegetable and honored with a special festive day – Goya honoring day. Bitter gourd fruit is used topically for wound healing. The plant has also been used in traditional ceremonies and considered a powerful charm which is worn as a necklace, wrist or ankle bracelet or crown.

Bitter Melon and Prostate Cancer

Various preliminary studies with crude bitter melon extract and its various constituents have shown anticancer activity.

Health Benefits of Bitter Melon

Karela acts as an anthelmintic in the intestines. It has the added vermicidal effect of flushing bacterial and parasitic infections from the intestines as it mildly purges the bowel. It also reduces inflammation in the intestines. Bitter gourd can be included in a formula for urinary stones as it has a direct effect on the urinary channel. It has an affinity for the blood. It is a traditional remedy for anemia as it stimulates the tissue fires to work at optimum efficiency. It helps to build hemoglobin count by enhancing absorption.

Bitter Melon for Weight Loss

Juice of bitter gourd has lipid lowering capacity which may be helpful for weight loss. Fragrant yellow blossoms can be used for flavoring. Traditionally, bitter melon has also been used as a treatment for gastrointestinal complaints, worms, constipation, headaches, skin conditions, viral infections and as an emmenagogue. Leaf juice is given as an emetic and purgative in biliousness. A paste of the root is applied externally to piles. Powder of the whole plant is used as a dusting powder or in the form of an ointment on leprous and other intractable ulcers.

Momordica charantia Side Effects

Caution in patients on hypoglycaemic medication. Try avoiding during pregnancy as it has a bitter and descending effect. Avoid bitter melon seed or the outer rind due to the presence of toxic lectins and avoid use of bitter melon in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.

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