Bitter Melon

General Information


Bitter Melon or Momordica Charantia is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for various diseases treatment, one of which is diabetes mellitus.

In study course, various powder extracts of fresh and dried whole fruits were prepared and a comparison of their hypoglycemic properties with oral administration in diabetic rats was made. It was found that powder of an aqueous extract of fresh immature fruits at a dosage of 20 mg / kg of body weight reduced fasting blood glucose level by 48%. This effect is comparable with the effect of taking glibenclamide, a known synthetic drug.

Chemical Composition:

Momordica fruit consists of 80% of water. 100 gr of fruit pulp contains only 15-20 kcal. Chemical composition of Bitter Melon includes the following elements:

  • potassium;
  • zinc;
  • selenium;
  • silicon;
  • vitamins A, B, C, E;
  • folic acid;
  • pantothenic acid.

Bitter Melon pericarp contains fatty oil and carotene. Seeds of Momordica contain lycopene, glycoside momordicin and haratin. In roots, triterpene saponins were found.


A complex of biologically active substances and vitamins of Momordica has a variety of therapeutic actions:

  • sedative;
  • antispasmodic;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • antioxidant;
  • antiemetic.

The calcium in plant helps strengthen skeleton and teeth.

According to the latest research conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Colorado (USA), the juice of Bitter Melon is able to destroy pancreatic cancer cells, as it limits ability of pancreatic cancer cells to absorb glucose, i.e. deprives them of the opportunity to receive necessary energy for growth and development. Also during experiments on mice it was found that use of Bitter Melon contributes to normalization of insulin production function.

Bitter Melon can be used for weight loss, as its components accelerate metabolism, in particular, promote fats breakdown.


Bitter Melon is used in treatment of:

  • diabetes;
  • worms.

To treat diabetes, Bitter Melon is used in form of fresh juice. In treatment of worms, an unripe fruit is used. One teaspoon of juice of unripe melon should be taken. Also in the treatment leaves of momordica can be used, brewing them fresh in boiling water. Shredded fruits and leaves can be harvested for winter, because it is during this period of diabetes is exacerbated.

It can be also applied in:

  • cold;
  • stings of insects and snakes;
  • various abscesses;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • gastrointestinal infections;
  • bronchitis;
  • skin diseases;
  • arthritis;
  • rheumatism;
  • nephritis;
  • prostatitis;
  • urolithiasis.


Application in Traditional Medicine

Traditionally, the plant is used in oriental medicine, as well as in traditional medicine of indigenous people of South America. Decoction and tincture of Bitter Melon are used as a cold and immunomodulating agent. Introduction to diet of Momordica in diabetes reduces blood sugar. Shredded leaves of Bitter Melon are effective at stings of insects and snakes, they are applied to abscesses, burns and wounds. Raw seeds are used to prevent cardiovascular diseases, reduce level of “bad” cholesterol, and treat gastrointestinal infections. Bitter Melon root is used to prepare an expectorant for bronchitis. The poisonous juice of Momordica is used externally in treatment of certain skin diseases, arthritis, rheumatism. Some healers use its decoction in nephritis, prostatitis and urolithiasis. In many countries of the world it is considered a natural aphrodisiac.

Contraindications and Side Effects:

The use of Bitter Melon in any form is contraindicated in:

  • children;
  • pregnant women;
  • breast-feeding women.

There is a risk of spontaneous abortion or bleeding. The use of a large number of seeds can lead to poisoning in severe form, lead to fever and coma. For children, the use of seeds is contraindicated, and fresh juice of unfertilized fruit contains dangerous toxins. It is also not recommended to eat fruits of Bitter Melon to people with individual intolerance to its active substances.


Bitter Melon grows in hot and humid lowlands of tropical and subtropical regions. The native land of species is the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. The plant is spread in regions with a warm climate, mainly in China and the Caribbean islands. Bitter Melon is currently cultivated in India, Africa, South America. Some species of Momordica are found on territory of the Crimean Peninsula.

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