Momordica charantia (Bitter melon)

Benefits of bitter melon
Momordica charantia (Bitter melon)

Momordica charantia, also known as bitter gourd or bitter melon, belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, and grows in tropical regions such as India, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Tropical Africa, and Middle East 1. The fruit and leaves of Momordica charantia are rich in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals which all contribute to its remarkable versatility in treating a wide range of illnesses in traditional and folk medicine such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, hypertension, obesity, bacterial and viral infections 1.

Nutritional Facts

Momordica charantia contains high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, Vitamin B1, B2, and B3. It is also rich in minerals including potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron 2. Antioxidant bioactive components such as phenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes, anthraquinones, and glucosinolates contribute to the medicinal value of bitter melon 3.

Published Health Benefits

1. Blood Glucose Control

Momordica charantia contains an insulin-like compound called Polypeptide-p, which has been shown in regulating blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes 1,2.

2. Cancer

Research has demonstrated the anticancer and anti-leukemic activity of Momordica charantia against numerous cell lines, including liver cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia 1,2,3.

3. Cholesterol

Momordica charantia helps reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL), thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke 1,2.

4. Immunity

The antibacterial and antiviral properties of Momordica charantia help  to strengthen immunity. The antioxidants also work as a powerful defence mechanism 1,2,4.

5. Liver Health

Momordica charantia provides protection against liver failure by strengthening antioxidant activity of the enzyme in liver 2.

6. Skin

Momordica Charantia is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin A and C, which are great for skins. Along with its antimicrobial properties, it is useful in treating acne, psoriasis, ringworm and scabies 4.

References:

1. Raghavan, A. K. (2015). Nutritional, pharmacological and medicinal properties of Momordica charantia. International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, 4(1), 75. http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo?journalid=153&doi=10.11648/j.ijnfs.20150401.21

2. Saeed, F., Afzaal, M., Niaz, B., et al. (2018). Bitter melon (Momordica charantia): a natural healthy vegetable. International Journal of Food Properties, 21(1), 1270-1290. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2018.1446023

3. Bortolotti, M., Mercatelli, D., & Polito, L. (2019). Momordica charantia, a nutraceutical approach for inflammatory related diseases. Frontiers in Pharmacology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31139079/

4. Grover, J. K., & Yadav, S. P. (2004). Pharmacological actions and potential uses of Momordica charantia: a review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 93(1), 123-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2004.03.035

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