Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Overview

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) other names: African Cucumber, Ampalaya, Balsam Pear, Balsam-Apple, Balsambirne, Balsamine, Balsamo, Bitter Apple, Bitter Cucumber, Bitter Gourd, Bittergurke, Carilla Fruit, Carilla Gourd, Cerasee, Chinli-Chih, Concombre Africain, Courge Amère, Cundeamor, Fructus Mormordicae Grosvenori, Karavella, Kathilla, Karela, Kareli, Kerala, Kuguazi, K'u-Kua, Lai Margose, Margose, Melón Amargo, Melon Amer, Momordica, Momordica charantia, Momordica murcata, Momordique, Paroka, Pepino Montero, Poire Balsamique, Pomme de Merveille, P'u-T'ao, Sorosi, Sushavi, Vegetable insulin, Wild Cucumber.

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) fruit

The herb known as the bitter melon is a tropical plant, and grows extensively in the tropics-which include parts of East Africa, large parts of Asia, the Caribbean islands, and in parts of South America. Bitter melon is used as a source of food and as an herbal medicine as well. True to its name, the fruit of bitter melon has a very bitter taste. Medicinal use is chiefly made of the fruit, as bitter melon is considered the safest and most easily cured part of the plant, however, the seeds, the leaves, and the vines of the bitter melon has also been extensively used in a variety of herbal medicines and infusions.

The bitter melon is a native plant of countries in southern Asia, and bitter melon is very common throughout all the tropical regions around the world. Harvesting of the bitter melon takes place all year long and in all seasons.

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Health Benefits

Bitter melon is a plant. The fruit and seeds of bitter melon are used to make medicine.

Bitter melon is used for various stomach and intestinal disorders including gastrointestinal (GI) upset, ulcers, colitis, constipation, and intestinal worms. Bitter melon is also used for diabetes, kidney stones, fever, a skin condition called psoriasis, and liver disease; to start menstruation; and as supportive treatment for people with HIV/AIDS.

Topically, bitter melon is used for deep skin infections (abscesses) and wounds.

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Ripe Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) 

Late onset diabetes is treated using the unripe fruit of the bitter melon; this is the main use of the herbal remedy. Menstruation is induced by the ripe fruit, which also functions as a stomach tonic at the same time. Turkish herbalist uses the fruit of the bitter melon to treat all types of ulcers affecting the body. Herbal remedies made from the biter melon is also a favorite of herbalist in the West Indies, they use it as a cure all or super herb, treating cases of worms, problems related to urinary stones, and in the treatment of fever. The purgative action of the juice of the fruit is also extensively made use of in the West Indies. The herbal remedy is also prescribed for treating colic and abdominal gas in different people. The leaves of the bitter melon are used to make an herbal decoction, which is given to patients suffering from all types of liver problems and cases of colitis. This decoction can also be used as a topical remedy and it can be applied directly on the skin to treat eruptive skin disorders. Herbal oil derived from the seed oil is used on wounds for topical relief and long term remedial benefits.

Bitter melon is used as a vegetable in India and other Asian countries and as an ingredient in some kinds of curries.

The bitter melon is quite common as a food item relatively speaking, and remedies made from the bitter melon have been traditionally used to treat different conditions, by different people and societies in the tropical regions of the world. The bitter melon was commonly used and could supposedly treat all kinds of infections of the body, bitter melon could supposedly treat cancer, and bitter melon was also used in treating cases of diabetes. Beer and herbal teas have been made from the leaves and the fruit, and these parts of bitter melon have also been used to season soups in the Western world. The other use of the herb is in making candles, these are manufactured from the wax that the plant berries produce in large amounts.

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Side effects

Bitter melon fruit is possibly safe for most people when taken by mouth in the short-term. The safety of long-term use (beyond 3 months) is not known. There also is not enough information about the safety of consuming other parts of the bitter melon or applying bitter melon to the skin.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Bitter melon is likely unsafe when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Certain chemicals in bitter melon fruit, juice, and seeds can start menstrual bleeding and have caused abortion in animals. Not enough is known about the safety of using bitter melon during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) plant

Diabetes: Bitter melon can lower blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and take medications to lower your blood sugar, adding bitter melon might make your blood sugar drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency: People with G6PD deficiency might develop “favism” after eating bitter melon seeds. Favism is a condition named after the fava bean, which is thought to cause “tired blood” (anemia), headache, fever, stomach pain, and coma in certain people. A chemical found in bitter melon seeds is related to chemicals in fava beans. If you have G6PD deficiency, avoid bitter melon.

Surgery: There is a concern that bitter melon might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using bitter melon at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.