Bitter melon or gourd juice appear to increase the body’s ability to utilize glucose, so it may be suitable for type 2 diabetes with insulin resistance.
Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)
Bitter melon plant: Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is a tropical and subtropical vine, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is the most bitter of all fruits. The plant bears yellow flowers; fruits have a distinct warty exterior of oblong shape; a thin fleshy layer is surrounding a central seed cavity having large flat seeds and pith.
Bitter melon has been in use in traditional medicine systems for a long time for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints.
Bitter melon nutritional value: Macronutrients content of bitter melon is Proteins 995mg, Water 94 g, Ash 1.1 g, Fats 170 mg, Carbohydrates 3.6 g, Dietary Fiber 2.8 g. Vitamins available in bitter melon are Vitamin A 470 IU, Vitamin C 84 mg, Thiamin 39 mcg, Riboflavin 39 mcg, Niacin 400 mcg, Vitamin B6 43 mcg, Folate 72 mcg, Pantothenic Acid 212 mcg. Minerals available in Calcium 19 mg, Iron 430 mcg, Magnesium 17 mg, Phosphorus 31 mg, Potassium 295 mg, Sodium 5 mg, Zinc 800 mcg, Copper 34 mcg, Manganese 89 mcg, Selenium 0.2 mcg.
100 grams of bitter melon contains 17 Calories.
Bitter melon may lower blood sugar level
Co-administration of conventional drug and herbal medicine may cause potential interactions that lead to adverse events. So get doctor’s consent before starting herbal treatment.
Vicine, charantin, and polypeptide-P are present in bitter melon are responsible for its anti-diabetic properties. Together they increase insulin secretion, increase glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis in the liver, muscle & adipose tissue, improve glucose tolerance and decrease hepatic gluconeogenesis.
Bitter melon scientific evidence in diabetes control
- Drinking of the aqueous homogenized suspension of the vegetable pulp led to significant reduction of both fasting and post-prandial serum glucose levels. Effect of Momordica charantia (Karolla) extracts on fasting and postprandial serum glucose levels in NIDDM patients. Bangladesh Medical Research Council Bulletin 1999 Apr;25(1):11-3.
- The fruit juice of M. charantia was found to significantly improve the glucose tolerance of 73% of the patients investigated while the other 27% failed to respond. Effect of Momordica charantia on the glucose tolerance in maturity onset diabetes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 17, Issue 3, September 1986, Pages 277-282.
- A clinical study titled “Antidiabetic and adaptogenic properties of Momordica charantia extract” published in Phytotherapy Research 7:285–289, 1993.
- Another clinical study titled “Improvement in glucose tolerance due to Momordica charantia (karela)” published in British Medical Journal 282:1823–1824, 1981.
- A clinical study titled “Antidiabetic and adaptogenic properties of Momordica charantia extract” by Srivastava Y, Venkatakrishna-Bhatt H, Verma Y, Venkaiah K, published in Phytotherapy Research 7:285–289, 1993.
- Another clinical study titled “Improvement in glucose tolerance due to Momordica charantia (karela)” by Leatherdale BA, Panesar RK, Singh G, Atkins TW, Bailey CJ, Bignell AH published in British Medical Journal 282:1823–1824, 1981.
Unlike conventional drugs, herbal medicines are complex mixtures of bioactive compounds. Season, growing condition, processing method can vary the constitutions of the bioactive compound.
15 Medicinal Uses of Bitter melon
Effective for improve immunity, obesity, lipids, blood sugar and psoriasis. It protects the heart, brain, liver, kidney and other vital organs of your body.
- Blood sugar - Studies have shown bitter melon lowers blood sugar through increased metabolism of glucose. It is used as a folk medicine for diabetes treatment. It contains a hypoglycemic or insulin-like principle, consider as 'plant-insulin,' which is highly beneficial in lowering the blood sugar levels.
- Cholesterol - Bitter melon help lowers cholesterol levels.
- Rich in nutrients - Being rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, B1, B2, C, and Iron, it prevents many complications such as hypertension, eye complications, and neuritis.
- Liver protective - Bitter melon can alleviate liver problems and nourish the liver.
- Antimicrobial – this activity help heals wounds and eliminate yeast infections.
- Energy booster - it improves energy and stamina.
- Boost digestion - Bitter melon relieves acid reflux and indigestion. It relieves acid reflux and indigestion.
- Blood purifier – Bitter gourd possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that clear toxins from the blood and purify it, and improves blood circulation.
- Liver Tonic – it improves gallbladder function and lowers fluid retention. Cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis may be relieved.
- Boost Immunity – Prevent and cure food allergies.
- Respiratory health - Excellent remedy for respiratory illness such as asthma, cold, cough, etc.
- Skin Benefits - helpful in treating acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Taken regularly said to have a “glowing” effect on the skin.
- Great for your eyes - helps in preventing vision-related problems such as cataract since it has compounds like beta-carotene and vitamin A which are healthy for your eyes and strengthens eyesight.
- Kidney Stones - Bitter melon reduces high acid that produces kidney stones. It can get rid of kidney stones through naturally breaking them down.
- Pancreatic Cancer - Bitter melon showed to potentially inhibiting the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.
Bitter melon help lower heart diseases and strokes risk
Many experimental findings conclude that bitter gourd exhibits promising anti-diabetic activity. Its antihyperlipidemic effect could represent a protective mechanism against the development of atherosclerosis, especially in diabetic condition. Therefore, it is very much useful in the management of diabetes mellitus and other associated complications.
Bitter melon dosage
The typical dosage of bitter melon is one small, unripe, raw melon or about 50 to 100 ml of fresh juice, divided into two or three doses over the course of the day. The only problem is that it tastes extremely bitter. Noted naturopath Michael Murray suggests that you should simply plug your nose and take a 2-ounce shot.
Bitter melon availability
Bitter melon is commercially available as fresh fruits, dehydrated fruits, leaf powder or exacts. Also, it is available as capsules for you to take easily.
Bioactive constituents of Bitter melon
Bitter melon has charantin on hydrolysis gives glucose and a sterol; the fruit pulp has Galacturonic. Fruits contain glycosides, saponins, alkaloids, reducing sugars, resins, phenolic constituents, fixed oil, and free acids. The leaves of the Bitter gourd have hypoglycemic activity comparable to tolbutamide. The protein termed as P-insulin extracted from the fruits in a crystalline form.
Bitter melon has twice the calcium of spinach and Potassium of bananas. The plant is rich in Iron and Zinc. The other minerals are Phosphorus, Sodium, and Magnesium. Vitamin C makes up 55% of total vitamins. The other vitamins are B9, B1, B2, B6, B3, B12, A, E, and K. There are Carbohydrates, Sugars, Dietary fiber and protein as well.
Bitter melon side effects
It is widely eaten food in Asia that proves its safety. Another very rare risk may include impaired fertility, liver inflammation, and spontaneous abortion.