Facts
About Bitter Melon


Bitter Melon - Glycemic and Diabetes control

What is Bitter Melon?

Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is a member of the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family, and a relative of squash, watermelon, muskmelon, and cucumber. The tropical vine is a tender perennial. The fruit of this plant lives up to its name - it tastes very bitter. The surface/skin is bumpy and coated with glossy light to dark green skin. The inside of the melon is filled with spongy pulp whose color ranges from white to light green covering the seeds. Younger melons are seedless (more like the inside of a cucumber) and are generally more bitter. Ripe ones (outside: lighter green with hints of yelow; inside: bright, bright red) are much milder.

Bitter Melon grows in tropical areas, including parts of East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America, where it is used as a food as well as a medicine. Although the seeds, leaves, and vines of Bitter Melon all have uses, the fruit is the safest and most prevalent part of the plant used for food and medicine.

Bitter Melon is rich in iron, it has 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.
 

Bitter Melon, also known as Karela or Momordica Charantia is a herb that helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps body functions operating normally. It contains Gurmarin, a polypeptide considered to be similar to bovine insulin, which has been shown in experimental studies to achieve a positive sugar regulating effect by suppressing the neural response to sweet taste stimuli. Karela's principal constituents are lectins, charantin and momordicine. The fruits have long been used in India as a folk remedy for diabetes mellitus. Lectins from the bitter gourd have shown significant antilipolytic and lipogenic activities.

The fruits and leaves of the plant contain two alkaloids, one of them being momordicine. The plant is reported to contain a glucoside, a saponin-like substance, a resin with an unpleasant taste, an aromatic volatile oil and a mucilage. The seeds contain an alkaloid (m.p. 236) and an anthelmintic principle in the germ; they also contain urease. The fruits, leaves and extracts of Momordica charantia possess pharmacological properties and medicinal uses. It is useful as an emetic, purgative, in bilious affections, burning soles of the feet, as an anthelmentic, in piles, leprosy, jaundice, as a vermifuge, astringent in hemorrhoids, as a stomachic, antispasmodic, antioxytocic, hypoglycemic, antipyretic, mild hypotensive, anorectic and for the potentiation of ACh, histamine and BaCI2 induced contractions and inhibition of ACh of skeletal muscle.

Clinical Studies p-Insulin was tested in a controlled clinical trial. In juvenile diabetics, the peak hypoglycemic effect was observed after 1-8 hrs; in patients with maturity onset diabetes, maximum fall in blood sugar level was noted after 12 hrs. Karela or Bitter Melon has also been reported to show hypocholesteroemic activity.

 
 

Tim