Scientific Name: Momordica charantia
English Name: Bitter Gourd
Nepali Name: Karela
Sanskrit Name: Karabellaka
It is a monoecious climber with slender stem and yellow flowers. The fruit is a green cucumber shaped fruit with gourd-like bumps all over it. It looks like an ugly, light green cucumber. The fruit should be firm, like a cucumber. It tastes very bitter. Although the seeds, leaves, and vines of bitter melon have all been used, the fruit is the safest and most prevalent part of the plant used medicinally.
leaf, stem, fruit, flower, root and fruit skin.
Different types of compounds have been isolated viz; bitter glycosides, saponins known as charantin, memordicine, insulin-like peptides, alkaloids, reducing sugar, phenolics, vitamins, minerals etc. having hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit in diabetes mellitus. Two proteins, known as alpha- and beta-momorcharin, inhibit the AIDS virus, but this research has only been demonstrated in test tubes and not in humans. An as yet unidentified constituent in bitter melon inhibits the enzyme guanylate cyclase, that may benefit people with psoriasis.
Hypoglycemic, astringent, anti-haemorrhoidal, stomachic, emmenagogue ( Inducing menstruration), galactogogue ( increase flow of milk), hepatic stimulant, anthelmintic and blood purifier.
It is used in diabetes, piles, anorexia, indigestion, constipation, abdominal infection, gout, rheumatism, liver and spleen diseases, dysmenorrhoea, HIV support and Psoriasis.
Excessively high doses of bitter melon juice can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea etc.