Bitter Melon/Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia)
Botanical Name : Momordica Charantia.
Family Name : Cucurbitaceae.
Other English Names : Bitter cucumber, Bitter melon , and Balsam pear
Indian Name : Karela
Tamil Name : Pavai kai/Paahar kai
Kanadam : Hagalakayi
Malayalam : Kaipakka/Paavakka
Marathi : Karle
Bengali : Korola/Uchchhey (Smaller variety)
Gujarati : Kaarela
Chinese : kugua
Oriya : Kakudi
Synonyms: Momordica chinensis, M. elegans, M. indica, M. operculata, M. sinensis, Sicyos fauriei
Common Names: Bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, balsam apple, balsam pear, karela, k'u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, pava-aki, pavakkai, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria.
Part Used: whole plant, fruit, seed.
Bitter Melon/Bitter Gourd Health Benefits:
The bitter gourd is specifically used as a folk medicine for diabetes which has been found highly beneficial in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. The seeds of bitter gourd can be added to food in the 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. A majority of diabetics usually suffer from malnutrition as they are usually under-nourished. Bitter gourd being rich in all the essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, B1, B2, C and Iron, its regular use prevents many complications such as hypertension, eye complications, neuritis and defective metabolism of carbohydrates. It increases body's resistance against infection.
Bitter Melon/Bitter Gourd Main Actions:
Kills bacteria, kills viruses, kills cancer cells, kills leukemia cells, prevents tumors, treats diabetes, reduces blood sugar, reduces blood pressure, lowers body temperature, lowers cholesterol. Reduces inflammation, Fights free radicals, Enhances libido, Cleanses blood, Detoxifies, Expels worms, Balances hormones, Mildly laxative, Promotes milk flow.
Bitter Millon/Bitter Gourd Medicinal uses:
Bitter melon stimulates digestion. While this can be helpful in people with sluggish digestion, dyspepsia, and constipation.
Bitter melon is useful for preventing and treating malaria.
Laboratory tests suggest that compounds in bitter melon might be effective for treating HIV infection. As most compounds isolated from bitter melon that impact HIV have either been proteins or glycoproteins lectins, neither of which are well-absorbed, it is unlikely that oral intake of bitter melon will slow HIV in infected people.
Bitter melon is as an immunomodulator. One clinical trial found very limited evidence that bitter melon might improve immune cell function in people with cancer, but this needs to be verified and amplified in other research. If proven correct this is another way bitter melon could help people infected with HIV.
Bitter Melon contains four very promising bioactive compounds. These compounds activate a protein called AMPK, which is well known for regulating fuel metabolism and enabling glucose uptake, processes which are impaired in diabetics.
The seeds contains vicine and therefore can trigger symptoms of favism in susceptible individuals. In addition, the red arils of the seeds are reported to be toxic to children, and the fruit is contraindicated during pregnancy.