Leaf:Fruit Powder 1:1 known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash or balsam-pear in English, . Goya from Okinawan and karela from Sanskrit
Scientific Name: Momordica charantia, known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash or balsam-pear in English, has many other local names. Goya from Okinawan and karela from Sanskrit are also used by English-language speakers.
It is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is extremely bitter. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.
Bitter melon originated on the Indian subcontinent, and was introduced into China in the 14th century.
Bitter melon has been used in various Asian and African herbal medicine systems for a long time. In Turkey, it has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints. In traditional medicine of India different parts of the plant are used to relieve diabetes, as a stomachic, laxative, antibilious, emetic, anthelmintic agent, for the treatment of cough, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, wounds, ulcer, gout, and rheumatism.
According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Momordica charantia has a number of uses that are thought to be beneficial; including cancer prevention, treatment of diabetes, fever, HIV and AIDS, and infections. While it has shown some potential clinical activity in laboratory experiments, "further studies are required to recommend its use".
With regard to the use of Momordica charantia for diabetes, several animal studies and small scale human studies have demonstrated a hypoglycemic effect of concentrated bitter melon extracts. In addition, a 2014 review shows evidence that Momordica charantia, when consumed in raw or juice form, can be efficacious in lowering blood glucose levels. Contrary to this evidence, multiple reviews have found that Momordica charantia does not significantly decrease fasting blood glucose levels or A1c, indicators of bloodglucose control, when taken in capsule or tablet form. Momordica charantia may be beneficial in diabetes, however the effects seem to depend on how it is consumed. More studies need to be performed in order to verify this effect.
Reported side effects include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, hypoglycemia, urinary incontinence, and chest pain. Symptoms were generally mild, did not require treatment, and resolved with rest.
Bitter melon is contraindicated in pregnant women because it can induce bleeding, contractions, and abortion.