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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Herbs
BITTER MELON
Bitter Gourd, Ampalaya, Balsam Pear

(Momordica Charantia)


"For Informational Use Only"
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • Bitter Melon Herbal Description
  • Bitter Melon Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Bitter Melon Dosage Information
  • Bitter Melon Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Bitter Melon Herbal Supplements & Products




  • bitter melon


    BITTER MELON HERBAL DESCRIPTION

    Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is also known as Ampalaya, Amargozo, Bitter Gourd, Balsam Pear, Foo Gwa, Karela, and Balsamina.

    All the parts of the herb are used, seeds, leaves, vine and the fruit. The fruit is the safest and most prevalent part of the plant used for medicine. The fruit in its entirety can be utilized.

    For centuries it was an Asian folk remedy for treating diabetes. The Philippines called it Ampalaya or Amargozo, and even though it is an ugly bitter-tasting vegetable, it is rich in iron and vitamins A and C. According to Philippine folk medicine, the more bitter the taste, the more medicinal value it has.

    bitter melon growing on the vine


    Bitter Melon grows in the tropical parts of Asia, East Africa, the Caribbean and South America. The bitter melon is a tropical/subtropical herbaceous tendril bearing vine with yellow flowers, and is a member of the squash family. It is a green cucumber shaped fruit with gourd like bumps all over it. It looks like an ugly cucumber. The fruit itself is oblong in shape with a pockmarked and warty exterior, looking like a cross between a cucumber and a gourd. The fruit should be firm and it tastes very bitter. It has a hollow cross section filled with large flat seeds and pith. It is grown specifically for the cultivation of its fruit, which is thought to be the bitterest edible fruit in the world. It is widely grown and cultivated in Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and the Caribbean. The seeds, leaves, and vines have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, but only the fruit is primarily used today.





    BITTER MELON USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

    Bitter Melon has been seen as the best herbal medicine to help with liver problems and HIV.

    It has been suggested that Bitter Melon has anti-tumor and antiviral actions. MAP 30 is a protein found in Bitter Melon that is believed to have multiple functions that could be beneficial in treating HIV infection. Two proteins in the seeds of the Bitter Melon appear to be able to modulate the activity of lymphocytes that could suppress macrophage activity; but are not cyto-toxic. There are no studies to support this claim.

    There have been research studies that suggest Bitter Melon may lower blood sugar by increasing the activity of enzymes in your body that convert sugar into glycogen, which can be stored in your liver and used later for energy. Asian researchers have published studies regarding Bitter Melonís effectiveness in lowering blood sugar. The Department of Health of the Philippines recommends using Momordica Charantia in the treatment of diabetes.

    Medicinally, the plant has a long history of use by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. A leaf tea is used for diabetes, to expel intestinal gas, to promote menstruation, and as an antiviral for measles, hepatitis, and feverish conditions. It is used topically for sores, wounds, and infections and internally and externally for worms and parasites.





    BITTER MELON DOSAGE INFORMATION

  • Parts Used: The fruit in its entirety can be utilized.
  • Typical Preparations: Bitter compounds evolved in plants as a self defense mechanism to deter consumption by animals, though humans have developed a taste for the bitterness. The melon is typically stuffed, curried, or pickled and can also be used in stir fries, soups, teas, and beer. Garlic and chili peppers can be added to recipes to help offset the bitterness.


  • Bitter melon is a popular ingredient in Asian cooking, used to flavor diverse recipes including stir-fries, curries, soups, soft drinks and beers. The recipes vary from country to country, but it is a lively and important part of regional cuisine. Bitter melon is loaded with nutrients, high in vitamin C while containing calcium, iron, magnesium, and other essential vitamins and minerals. The bitterness of the melon may make the fruit unpalatable to some folks, but the potency can be reduced by salting, blanching, or pickling. The fruit is generally consumed before fully ripening while the melon is still green.

    The recommended dosage is one small, unripe, raw melon or about 50 ml of fresh juice, each taken in 2 or 3 doses over the course of the day. Because Bitter Melon's taste is so bitter, herbalists recommend you hold your nose and take a 2 ounce shot. A tincture formulation may be easier to swallow. For best results, read and follow product label directions.



    COOKING BITTER MELON


    Bitter Melon is a challenging culinary item because of the strong bitter flavor. It is not impossible to find exciting ways to incorporate it into various cuisine styles. These are some hints for preparing the Bitter Melon gourd to help reduce its bitter flavor.

    GENERAL PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

    Cut Bitter Melon in half and discard the seeds and fibrous core. To reduce the bitterness, blanch it in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. This vegetable is not typically peeled and the skin is edible. The seeds are also edible, though they are very hard. They are included in some recipes. Bitter melon is commonly stuffed, curried or pickled, though it can be prepared in all kinds of ways and is suitable for any dish from drinks to dessert. It is often used stir-frys and soups and may be steamed. It's flavor combines well with other strong flavors or ingredients such as garlic, chili peppers, coconut milk, and fermented black beans. It is an excellent ingredient to use with spices, rich sauces, fermented flavors. With spicy foods, bitter melon acts as a coolant, with rich sauces such as coconut milk and curry, hummus, and even in ice cream, the flavor balances the natural oils in these other ingredients acting as a palette cleanser.
      1. Like eggplant, Bitter Melon can be salted and rested to remove the bitterness from its flesh. Core the melon, dust it generously with salt and let it rest for 10 minutes. Rinse the slices and prepare as you wish.

      2. Another way to reduce the Bitter Melonís strong flavor is by blanching. You do this by coring it, slicing, and boiling in a pan of lightly salted water. After 1 minute, remove and drop in ice water. Blanching will not only remove some of the bitterness; it will also brighten the beautiful green color!

      3. Lightly pickling the Bitter Melon also helps to remove the strong flavor. For 1 Bitter Melon: Bring 1 cup of white vinegar to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons Sugar, 2 teaspoons Salt, and 1 teaspoon Turmeric. Bring all to a boil and add bitter melon slices. Boil for 2 minutes, remove, drain and cool. Prepare as you wish.

      4. Some popular ways of cooking it is to stuff the melon with spiced meats and serve with a coconut curry sauce, saute it with onion, red pepper and prepare with scrambled eggs or in an omelet, or as a stir fry with fermented black beans and chicken.





    BITTER MELON SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTIONS INFORMATION

    Precautions: Because bitter melon may lower blood sugar and insulin levels, it should never be taken in conjuncture with any form of diabetes medication, and then only under the supervision of a qualified health care provider. Avoid bitter melon during pregnancy. The seeds contain vicine, and may trigger symptoms of favism. Bitter melon may cause heartburn, stomach pain, and diarrhea, and make ulcers worse.

  • Exceeding recommended dosages of Bitter Melon might cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, or fever.
  • If you are hypoglycemic (low blood sugar), on medication for diabetes, or pregnant or nursing, consult your health care provider before using.
  • Diabetics taking hypoglycemic drugs (chlorpropamide, glyburide, or phenformin for example) or insulin should use Bitter Melon only under medical supervision.
  • People should not stop their medication or substitute it with Bitter Melon unless they are told to do so by their health care provider.





  • BITTER MELON (MOMORDICA) HERBAL & RELATED PRODUCTS

  • Bitter Melon (Momordica) Herbal Products


  • QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS



    BITTER MELON (MOMORDICA) HERBAL PRODUCTS

    Bitter melon (Momordica Charantia) is one of the few agents which has the potential to bolster a flagging pancreas. It has been recommended by the Department of Health of the Philippines as one of the best herbal medicines for it's ability to help with liver problems, Diabetes and HIV. It is an excellent natural remedy for the common cold. It has been suggested that Bitter Melon has anti-tumor and antiviral actions. MAP 30 is a protein found in Bitter Melon that is believed to have multiple functions that could be beneficial in treating HIV infection. Two proteins in the seeds of the Bitter Melon appear to be able to modulate the activity of lymphocytes that could suppress macrophage activity; but are not cyto-toxic. There are no studies to support this claim. There have been research studies that suggest Bitter Melon may lower blood sugar by increasing the activity of enzymes in your body that convert sugar into glycogen, which can be stored in your liver and used later for energy. Asian researchers have published studies regarding Bitter Melonís effectiveness in lowering blood sugar. The Department of Health of the Philippines recommends using Momordica Charantia in the treatment of diabetes. It has also been seen as the best herbal medicine to help with liver problems and HIV. Medicinally, the plant has a long history of use by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. A leaf tea is used for diabetes, to expel intestinal gas, to promote menstruation, and as an antiviral for measles, hepatitis, and feverish conditions. It is used topically for sores, wounds, and infections and internally and externally for worms and parasites.

    MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS PRODUCTS

    Mountain Rose Herbs: Bitter Melon Fruit (Momordica charantia), Certified Organic, Bulk Herbs & Spices
    Mountain Rose Herbs: Glycemic Health Capsules, Gaia Herbs, 3325 mg, 60 Caps
    Glycemic Health Capsules - beause every cell relies on glucose to function, maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is essential for the health of all body systems. Glycemic Health features a unique blend of herbs such as Cinnamon, Turmeric and Bitter Melon. Considerable research has shown these herbs help maintain normal levels of blood sugar. Ingredients include organic Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum spp.), organic Turmeric Root (Curcuma longa), organic Cinnamon Bark Supercritical CO2 Extract (Cinnamomum spp.), organic Fenugreek Seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Blueberry Leaf (Vaccinium spp.), Bitter Melon Fruit (Momordica charantia), Jambul Seed (Syzygium cumini),Soy Lecithin, Vegetable Glycerin, Vegetable cellulose (capsule). Each capsule contains the equivalent of 3325 mg. crude herb. 60 capsules per bottle.


    AYURVEDIC HERBS DIRECT PRODUCTS

    Ayurvedic Herbs Direct: Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia), Himalaya, Glycemic Control, Organic, 60 Caplets
    Ayurvedic Herbs Direct: GlucoCare (Glucosim) With Bitter Melon, Himalaya, 180 Caps


    STARWEST BOTANICALS PRODUCTS

    Starwest Botanicals: Bitter Melon Powder, 1 lb.


    HERBSPRO PRODUCTS

    HerbsPro: Bitter Melon (Memordica charantia), Whole Fruit, Eclectic Institute Inc, 45 Caps (1006)
    HerbsPro: Bitter Melon (Memordica charantia), Whole Fruit, Eclectic Institute Inc, 50 Caps (31830)
    HerbsPro: Bitter Melon Power, Natures Herbs, Standardized Extract, 150 mg, 60 Caps (17392)
    HerbsPro: Bitter Melon, Charantea, 90 VCaps (75751)
    HerbsPro: Bitter Melon, (Memordica charantia), Whole Fruit, Eclectic Institute Inc, 90 Caps (1007)
    HerbsPro: Bitter Melon, Natures Herbs, Premium Quality, Standardized 2.5% Bitter Principles, 100 Caps (17391)


    TAKEHERB PRODUCTS

    TakeHerb: GlyMordica Bitter Melon, Diabetes Support, Theramune Nutritionals, 60 Caps
    TakeHerb: Karela (Momordica charantia), Bazaar of India, 100 VCaps
    TakeHerb: Bitter Melon - Nature's Anti-Diabetic Book, By W.G. Goreja, Amazing Herbs, 51 Pages
    TakeHerb: Ampalaya Bitter Melon Tea, Maintain Blood Sugar Levels, Fullife Natural Options, 30 Tea Bags
    TakeHerb: Momordica Extract, Diabetes Support, Health Herbs, 2 fl. oz.


    KALYX PRODUCTS

    Kalyx: Momordica Extract (Momordica charantia); Bitter Melon Fruit, 2 fl. oz.
    Kalyx: Bitter Melon Fruit (Momordica charantia); 10:1, 90 VCaps
    Kalyx: Sugar Balance, Supports Normal Blood Sugar Levels, 60 Caps


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