Bitter Gourd (Karela or Momordica Charantia) also known as bitter melon, bitter squash or balsam pear is considered the most bitter vegetable/fruit due to its strong bitter flavor. The part of the plant which is consumed is the fruit of bitter squash. It is a low-calorie vegetable filled with antioxidants, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also has a moderate amount of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. It is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A , and Vitamin E.
What are the Benefits and medicinal properties of Bitter Gourd?
- Bitter Gourd has many medicinal properties which can benefit health in many ways. The first and foremost use of bitter gourd is in treating Diabetes. The fruit contains three different components that help in blood sugar regulation: charantin, peptides,and alkaloids.
- Bitter Melon is known to have hypoglycemic effects which help to improve the body’s ability to utilize the sugar for energy.It has similar effects those of insulin and thereby keeps check on rising of the blood sugar .
- Bitter Gourd contains Polypeptide p or p insulin which helps control diabetes naturally.
- The plant-based insulin in bitter gourd which helps the patients with Type 1 diabetes too.
- Bitter gourd and cucumber juice are often recommended for prediabetic patients.
Useful in cholesterol
- Consuming bitter gourd on regular basis helps in decreasing cholesterol levels. Bitter Gourd juice is anti-inflammatory by nature and helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels thereby reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- The iron and folic acid in Bitter gourd, help to keep the heart healthy. The potassium in Bitter Gourd helps to absorb the excessive sodium in the body, thereby helps in maintaining normal blood pressure.
Useful in Weight loss and Obesity
- Bitter Gourd is an excellent way to lose weight and fight against obesity. Bitter Melon helps in reducing the buildup of fat around the stomach and abdomen. The extracts of bitter gourd help in dislocation of human fat cells and hinder the formation and growth of new fat cells. The juice of bitter gourd helps to keep one full for longer and thereby helps in weight loss naturally. Bitter melon helps to boost fat metabolism and prevent obesity.
Useful in Liver Disorders
- Drinking a glass of bitter melon/gourd juice helps in healing all kinds of liver problems. It is highly beneficial for those who consume too much alcohol as bitter gourd juice wipes out the alcoholic intoxication settled in the liver.
- The juice cleanses the bowel and heals the liver naturally. It provided protection against liver failure and boosts the function of the bladder. It is also useful in getting rid of kidney stones.
- Problems of Constipation can be over by consuming a glass of bitter gourd juice as it is an excellent source of dietary fiber.
- Bitter Gourd aids in improving the Immune system as it is filled with numerous antioxidants and vitamins. It fights viruses and bacteria and strengthens the immunity. The leaves or fruit of Bitter Gourd should be boiled in water and consumed daily to fight against infections.
- Bitter Gourd has chemicals that are known to suppress the growth of cancer cells and slow down the growth of viruses. Bitter gourd has anti-carcinogen and anti-tumor properties. The bitter melon derived chemicals may also be useful for HIV therapy.
Useful in Weak Eyesight
- Bitter Gourd is a great source of Vitamin A and beta carotene which are very useful for healthy eyes. Thus, consuming bitter gourd helps in strengthening eyesight and preventing vision-related problems like cataract. It is also considered as a great home remedy to treat dark circles.
Useful in Skin Disorders
- Bitter Gourd is very useful in treating skin disorders like acne, blemishes, eczema, and psoriasis. The juice has powerful antioxidants which help in preventing premature skin aging and diminishes the wrinkles. It also protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
- The juice also acts as a blood purifier and is useful in treating blood disorders like blood boils, scabies, ringworm, and other fungal diseases. It also improves blood circulation throughout the body.
Useful in Hairless and Greying
- Bitter Gourd juice may be applied directly to the scalp to decrease hair loss and greying of the hair. It treats split ends, rough hair and itchiness of the scalp. The juice may be applied directly or mixed with some curd.
- Bitter Gourd is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Administration of bitter melon polysaccharides may help in reducing gastric inflammation and oxidative stress. Bitter Gourd also helps in controlling blood flow and clotting, causing wounds to heal faster.
Useful in Respiratory Problems
- Bitter Gourd has been used for curing respiratory problems like asthma, cold, cough since ages. The paste of bitter melon leaves along with paste of Tulsa leaves can be taken with some honey in the morning to get relief from all respiratory problems.
Boost Stamina and Energy
- Regular consumption of bitter gourd juice improves the stamina and energy levels and also improves the sleeping patterns.
- Bitter Melon is helpful in treating and preventing problems like Gout, Herpes, Menstrual Problems, Ulcerative Colitis, and Digestive problems.
How to Use Bitter Gourd
- Bitter Gourd may be used as food in salads, consumed as pickles and cooked dishes (raw, boiled, diced or mashed). They may be consumed in juice form too. They are usually light or dark green in color depending on the region where they are grown. Leaves of the plant are used in teas and soups.
- Dried bitter gourd and Extracts of bitter melon are being widely available in dietary supplement form nowadays. One way to reduce the bitterness of the bitter gourd drink is to add honey or jaggery to it.
- One may add some black pepper, ginger or lime juice to it for better taste.
- While using bitter gourd, there are certain things to be kept in mind. It is very important to use fresh bitter melon (preferably bright and deep green) for best results. It should be marinated with salt to reduce the bitterness.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.