Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia)


KuGua, Foo Gua (Chinese); Springkomkommer (Dutch); Bitter Gourd (English); Ampalaya (Filipino); Assorossie (French); Wunder-Balsampfel (German); Karela (Hindi); Pare Pahit (Indonesian); Balsamini Lunghi (Italian); Tsuru Reishi (Japanese); Peria Katak (Malay); Balsamina (Spanish); Mara (Thai); Moup Dang (Vietnamese)

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Momordica
Species: Charantia
Synonyms: Momordica chinensis, M. elegans, M. indica, M. operculata, M. sinensis, Sicyos fauriei

Health and Nutrient Benefits
Bitter Melons are rich in iron. They have twice the beta carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, and contain Vitamins A, C, B1 to B3, Phosphorus and good dietary fiber.

As for its medicinal value, at least three different constituents in Bitter Melon have been reported to have hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit in treating diabetes mellitus. In traditional Chinese medicine, Bitter melon is used as an appetite stimulant and as a treatment for gastrointestinal infection and against breast cancer. Bitter Melon may prove to be a very effective herbal remedy against diabetes! It has been proven to increase the number of beta cells (those which produce insulin) in the pancreas. Bitter Melon seems to be supportive in HIV treatment, several proteins (such as alpha – and beta momocharin) have HIV inhibitory effects in vitro. However, they are not cytotoxic.

Bitter Melon’s bitterness comes from the high concentration of quinine it contains, which incidentally, is the reason why it is regarded by Asians, as well as Panamanians and Columbians, as a valuable agent for preventing and treating malaria.

Herbal Properties and Actions
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

Other Actions
~ reduces inflammation
~ fights free radicals
~ enhances libido
~ cleanses blood
~ detoxifies
~ expels worms
~ balances hormones
~ enhances immunity
~ mildly laxative
~ promotes milk flow

A detailed description of the chemical properties of Bitter Melon, its medical uses, and examples of clinical research can be found in The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs. Click here for the article:

The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease.

Worldwide Ethnomedical Uses

Brazil ~ abortions, burns, colic, constipation, dermatosis, diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, fever, flu, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, hives, itch, impotency, leprosy, leukemia, libido, liver inflammation, malaria, menstrual problems, pain, rheumatism, scabies, skin, tumor, vaginal discharge, vaginitis, worms, wounds
China ~ breast cancer, diabetes, fever, halitosis, impotency, renal insufficiency, kidney problems

Cuba ~ anemia, colitis, diabetes, fever, hyperglycemia, intestinal parasites, kidney stones, liver problems, menstrual problems, sterility (female), worms

Haiti ~ anemia, constipation, dermatosis, eye infections, fever, liver diseases, skin problems, rhinitis, and as an appetite stimulant and insecticide

India ~ abortions, birth control, constipation, diabetes, eczema, fat loss, food, fever, gout, hemorrhoids, hydrophobia, hyperglycemia, increasing milk flow, intestinal parasites, jaundice, kidney stones, leprosy, liver, menstrual disorders, pneumonia, psoriasis, rheumatism, scabies, skin, snakebite, vaginal discharge

Mexico ~ bowel function, burns, diabetes, dysentery, impotency, libido, scabies, sores, worms

Malaysia ~ abdominal pain, asthma, burns, Celiac’s disease, dermatosis, diarrhea, headache, intestinal parasites, stomachache, worms

Nicaragua ~ aches, anemia, childbirth, colds, constipation, cough, diabetes, fever, headache, hypertension, infections, lung disorders, malaria, pain, pregnancy, rashes, skin problems

Panama ~ colds, diabetes, fever, flu, gallbladder problems, hives, hypertension, itch, malaria, menstrual problems, and as an insecticide

Peru ~ colic, constipation, contusions, diabetes, diarrhea, fever, hepatitis, inflammation, intestinal parasites, lung problems, malaria, measles, menstrual problems, skin sores, pus, wounds

Trinidad ~ diabetes, dysentery, fever, hypertension, malaria, rheumatism, worms