Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Herbal Medicine

10+ Amazing Health Benefits from Bitter melon that we dont know about.

Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely cultivated for its edible fruit. It is very easy to grow and is available in most grocery and vegetable markets. Although the taste may be really bitter (as the name implies), it is so much like the bitter medicine our mothers gave us - we simply have to take it because it is good for us. The bitterness comes from the presence of momordicin, but it possesses numerous healthy and beneficial uses -the most famous being in controlling diabetes.


Scientific Name: Momordica Charantia

Common Names:

Ampalaya, Bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, sorosi, a'jayib al maasi, assorossie, balsam apple, balsam pear, chin li chih, ejinrin gule khandan, fu-kua, karela, k'u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, lai p'u t'ao, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria

Bitter Melon is a climbing vine that grows up to 5m, with tendrils up to 20cm. long. The bitter melon leaves are heart-shaped, 5-10 cm across, cut into 5-7 lobes. The plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. It bears fleshy green fruit, oblong shaped with pointed ends, ribbed and wrinkled, bursting when mature to release seeds. Bitter melon seeds are flat with ruminated margins.

Bitter melon / Charantia Momordica Health Benefits as in Traditional Medicine

Bitter melon has long been used by our great grand parents in the prevention and treatment of various diseases and medical conditions. Various parts of the plant has its own uses..

Health benefits of juice extract from Bitter melon fruit.

  • Juice extraced from bitter melon has claimed health benefits for diabetes
  • It is used to treat stomach problems such as colitis, dysentery and intestinal parasites
  • Bitter melon juice extract is used to treat spleen and liver problems
  • It is also used to treat mild cough, heal wounds, and to treat rheumatism and gout.

Health benefits from Bitter melon leaves

  • Powered leaves of bitter melon is used as astringent to treat haemorrhoids and piles
  • The sap or juice of leaves is used to treat skin problems such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, leprosy and scabies
  • Pounded leaves is also used to treat for burns and scald
  • Infusion of leaves used to treat fever
  • Infusion used to treat various stomach problems and to improve appetite
  • Poultice of leaves used to treat headache
  • Infusion of leaves used as mouthwash to treat tooth ache and other mouth problems

Health benefits from Bitter melon seeds, roots and flowers

  • Decoction of seeds and roots used to treat urethral discharge
  • Roots are used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac preparations
  • Decoction of roots used to abort pregnancy
  • Infusion from bitter melon flower is used to treat asthma

Bitter melon: How is it taken?

Green fruit of Bitter melon and young leaves are cooked, taken as food and is included in diet during treatment.

Juice extract from bitter melon fruit or leaves are taken spoonful for adults and teaspoonful for children. 3 times a day until symptoms improve.

Decoction prepared by boiling 50 grams of chopped fruits, seeds, leaves and/or roots of Bitter melon to a liter of water, taken as Bitter melon tea three times a day until symptoms improve.

Science Based Health Benefits from Bitter melon Herbal Medicine

Bitter melon is one of the more popular herbal medicine that had the attention of many researchers. Many of the published studies confirmed the potential of bitter melon in controlling diabetes. Below are some of the excerpts from these studies along with other related studies confirming the other traditional uses of momordica charantia.

Bitter melon for Diabetes

Clinical Studies for Bitter melon Bitter Melon demonstrated hypoglycemic properties (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit against diabetes mellitus. The hypoglycemic chemicals found in Bitter melon Bitter Melon include a mixture of steroidal saponins known as charantins, insulin-like peptides, and alkaloids. The hypoglycemic effect is more pronounced in the fruit of bitter melon where these chemicals are in greater abundance. The fruit has also shown the ability to enhance cells’ uptake of glucose, to promote insulin release, and potentiate the effect of insulin. In other in vivo studies, bitter melon fruit and/or seed has been shown to reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides in both the presence and absence of dietary cholesterol. In one study, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rats were returned to normal after 10 weeks of treatment.

Bitter melon for Hemorrhoid

Powdered leaves and root decoction of Bitter melon are applied to hemorrhoids as astringent.

Bitter melon for Stomach Problems

Bitter melon leaf juice is used to expel intestinal parasites, treat dysentery, diarrhea, and chronic colitis. Grounded seeds may also be used. Taken in a spoonfull 3x a day until ailment subsides.

Bitter melon for Cough

Bitter melon leaf juice is used for mild coughs for children. Administered in a teaspoon 3x a day.

Bitter melon for Burns, Scalds and Wounds

Pounded Bitter melon seeds or leaf are used to treat burns, scalds and wounds.

Bitter melon as Anti-Cancer

Two compounds extracted from Bitter melon bitter melon, α-eleostearic acid (from Bitter melon seeds) and dihydroxy-α-eleostearic acid (from the Bitter melonfruit) have been found to induce apoptosis of leukemia cells in vitro. Diets containing 0.01% Bitter melon bitter melon oil (0.006% as α-eleostearic acid) were found to prevent azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.

Other acclaimed uses are for the treatment of HIV, treatment of fever and headaches, treatment of rheumatism and gout, disease of the spleen and liver.

Bitter melon Herbal Medicine Preparations, Usage and Side Effects

Bitter melon Herbal Preparation and Usage

Bitter melon are cooked mixed with meat. To lessen the bitterness of the ampalay, sliced Bitter melon are washed or even boiled in water with salt.

Powdered leaves and root decoction of Bitter melon are applied to hemorrhoids as astringent. Wash the bitter melon leaves with fresh water. Let it dry. Pound to powder. You can use carrier oils to mix with the powder for application.

Bitter melon juice. Fresh bitter melon leaves and fruit (without the seeds) are pounded to extract concentrated juice. Bitter melon juice is then added with pleasant tasting flavourings for drinking.

Where can I get Bitter melon?

Bitter melon fruits and leaves are usually available in Asian or Chinese markets or in the vegetable section of grocery stores.. They can be bought fresh by the kilo, per piece or by bundles.

Bitter melon Capsules, Bitter melon, as its name implies, is quite bitter, which is why many often prefer to take capsules and tablets.Ready-made bitter melon extracts are available in capsules and tablets in many Asian markets, herb shops, and in the supplement department of health food stores.

The internet is full of online stores that sells Bitter melon extracts, tablets or capsules, When you do, look for standardized extracts (to 10% charantin for instance) or concentrated whole fruit extracts (4:1 or 5:1) to help insure sufficient activity. If you are in US, Canada or UK, where Asian or Chinese health shops may not be available. provides an alternative. Look for products that have favorable customers reviews such as Bitter Melon GOLD. We are not affiliated with this brand and give this only as a sample reference. There are numerous to pick from, but be sure to review the manufacturer and the comments to ensure quality and safety.

Bitter melon Herb Warnings and Side Effects

In large dozes, pure bitter melon juice can be a purgative and may cause pregnancy abortion.

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Article last reviewed: 10.10.2016