Bitter melon (Lat. Momordica charantia), commonly known as Karela in India, consists of number of constituents which contribute to nutritional value of the plant. Bitter melon is a highly nutritious plant found in several countries. Many of its chemical constituents have been explored for its benefits in treating diseases like—diabetes, bacterial and viral infections, stomach disorders, etc. Newer applications include treatment of life threatening diseases like—cancer, HIV etc.
The numerous health, skin and hair benefits of bitter melon can be attributed due to its nutritional worth. It has a wide range of nutrients like—Vitamin B1, B2, C, A and minerals like—Calcium, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Potassium and Phosphorus.
Bitter gourd lowers blood glucose levels as it contains a chemical called “Charantin”. It also purifies blood because of its blood purifying properties and thus used for curing many blood related ailments like—boils, itching etc. It is high in fibre content thus prevents constipation and other stomach disorders by helping in the secretion of gastric juices. It also prevents bacteria that causes malaria. It also weakens viruses that spreads diseases like—chickenpox, measles, herpes and also the deadly diseases like—HIV.
- Botanical Name: Momordica charantia
- English Name: Squash/Balsam
- Family: Cucurbitaceae
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF BITTER GOURD
- Taste—Bitter, Pungent
- Qualities—Light, Dry
- Undergoes pungent taste after digestion
- Reduces vitiated Kapha and Pitta dosha and induce appetite.
- Part used—Leaf, Fruit
- Charak has classified Bitter melon among the bitter group of herbs.
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF BITTER MELON
- Bitter melon fruits consist of glycosides, saponins, alkaloids, reducing sugars, phenolic constituents and fixed oils. It also consists of charantin, charine, cryptoxanthin, cucurbitins, diosgenin, lauric acid etc. The main constituents of the oil from the seeds of bitter gourd are—sesquiterpenes (71.7%), phenylpropanoids (11.0%) and monoterpenes (7.6%). The most abundant mineral in the plant leaf is calcium. The other components present in bitter melon leaf are—saponins, tannins, glycosides, cardiac glycosides, etc. The proximate analysis shows that leaves and fruits of Bitter melon are the good sources of various minerals and vitamins including carbohydrates and proteins.
Various plant parts of bitter melon exhibit medicinal properties. Some of the properties are—
- Fruit—In Ayurveda, bitter melon fruit is considered as a tonic, stomachic, emetic, stimulant and laxative. It is useful in rheumatism, gout, purification of blood. It has also been shown to have hypoglycaemic properties.
- Leaves—Leaves of this plant act as galactogogue and useful in diabetes, malaria, colic, sores, wound infections, worms and parasites, measles, hepatitis, fever and leaves juice possess anti-heliminthic activity.
- Root—Root of bitter melon plant is astringent in nature.
- Seeds—Seeds are anti-helminthic.
USES OF BITTER MELON AS PER AYURVEDA
- Leaves— Leaves of Bitter Melon are useful in infected worms and worm infestation. Leaves can be taken as a part of food. Leaves of this plant increase Pitta dosha.
- Bitter melon fruit—Bitter melon fruit improves digestion strength and causes mild laxative effect.
BITTER MELON FRUIT IS INDICATED IN
- Bleeding disorders like—heavy menstruation, nasal bleeding, etc.
- Asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
- Skin disorders like—allergic skin disorder
- Urinary tract disorders
- The fresh juice of bitter melon in the dose of 20-25 ml is used to reduce sugar level in the blood.
- The fresh juice of bitter melon in the dose of 20-25 ml is used to treat anorexia, intestinal worms, liver disorders, etc.
- The paste of the leaves of the plant is applied over the skin affected with diseases like—eczema, wounds and external pile mass.
- The juice of bitter melon fruit and leaves of the plant is very useful in the conditions like—amenorrhea and for purifying the breast milk.
- The juice of the fruit in the dosage of 20-25 ml is consumed to detox the blood as it acts as a natural blood purifier.
- The fruit is also used as a medicine in cases of fever.
- Bitter gourd is also useful in cases of eye problems like—far-sightedness and near-sightedness.
- Bitter melon is also useful in the early stages of cholera.
- Bitter melon’s result in the cases of diabetes is excellent because a polypeptide present in Karela acts like insulin to help fight diabetes.
- It is also beneficial in the conditions like—asthma, bronchitis, pharyngitis, cirrhosis of the liver, etc.
- Bitter Melon Capsules by Planet Ayurveda is one of the best Diabetes supplements. Bitter melon is very bitter in taste as the name suggests so the best option is to use bitter melon capsules. Ayurveda has recommended Bitter melon as the best alternative treatment for sugar control.
- Bitter melon is also a rich source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C and it has twice the potassium of Bananas. So, it is the richest source of Potassium.
- This product of Planet Ayurveda is well tolerated by most of the users, but the excessive intake can lead to mild abdominal pain or diarrhoea.
Dosage: 1-2 capsules twice daily. About half hour to one hour after meals with plain or lukewarm water.