Bitter Melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumbers, pumpkins and watermelons), and is a perennial climbing elongated fruit that resembles a gourd or cucumber. Some have called it "bitter gourd" or "bitter cucumber". In specialty Asian markets, it may be known as "karela". Bitter Melon is primarily cultivated in the tropics, especially China, India, East African, Central, South America and the Caribbean.
What is Bitter Melon Used For?
Bitter Melon may be eaten several times a week when in season. It's historical use spans a wide array of conditions, with different parts of the plants being used (leaves, dried or fresh fruit, vine, whole plant, fresh juice) depending on the condition. It has been used to support digestion, cardiovascular function and skin health in Japan, Africa, India and the Caribbean.
Traditional Health Benefits of Bitter Melon
Additional Information on this Herb
alkaloids, glycoside, peptides, acids, cucurbitins, charantin, cucurbitacins, momordine, momorcharins and proteins
Leatherdale B, Panesar R, Singh G, et al. Improvement in glucose tolerance due to Momordica charantia (karela). Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282(6279):1823-1824.
Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.
- This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.
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