Common Names: Bitter Melon, balsam pear, bitter gourd, Karela

The Botanical Name Of bitter melon is Momordica charantia

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Medicinal Uses: Ayurvedic, Chinese, Diabetes, Herpes/Cold Sores, Nutrition.

Properties: Abortifacient, Antiscorbutic, Astringent, Hypoglycemic.

Parts Used: Gourd fruit

Constituents: glycosides: momordin, charantin alkaloids: momordicinothers: polypeptide-p oils (seed only): stearic, linoleic, oleic acids glycoproteins: alpha-momorcharin, beta-momorcharin, lectins

Habitat: It is a green cucumber shaped fruit with gourd-like bumps all over it. It is a native of East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America.

Side Effects: If you are taking medication for your blood sugar levels, take to your doctor before trying the fruit, and keep a close eye on your blood sugar. Avoid use if you have a history of liver problems. Excessive amounts can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Not for use during pregnancy

How to Prepare:

The bitter melon can also be prepared as a dish to be eaten as food by individuals with a taste or tolerance for bitter flavors, the small melons can be eaten directly at mealtimes or if preferred, fresh juices of the melon of up to 50 ml of juice can be drunk every day as a part of the diet.

Herbal tinctures made from the bitter melon are also an excellent option for those who do not like the bitter taste, a dose of about five ml can be taken two to three times every day as a normal part of the diet.