Health Benefits Of Karela | Bitter Gourd | Bitter Melon

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About Karela/Bitter Melon

Latin Name ; Momordica charantia.

In India, bitter melon is called Karela.

Bitter melon is also known as bitter gourd, or biiter squash and belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae in which the plants are vines.

Bitter melon originated in India, then spread to China and is now grown all over Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and South America. It grows well in the tropical and sub tropical areas.

The fruit is used as a vegetable and is extremely bitter. It has an extremely bumpy and uneven skin and is almost ugly looking. The fruit is eaten when green and mature. It turns yellow to orange when fully ripe with bright red seeds.

Traditionally bitter melon has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments particularly stomach ailments. It also has been used in herbal medicine by the people of Amazon, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Nicaragua.

The bitterness of karela/bitter melons can be reduced to some extent by parboiling or soaking it in salt water for about 10 minutes.

Bitter melon is available in capsules and tincture forms. Fruit and seed extracts are also available in tablet and capsule forms. Whole vine powders and extracts in capsule and tincture form are available too.


Bitter Melon Nutritional Information

  • Low in calories, just 17 calories/100 gms.
  • Rich in phytonutrients and dietary fiber.
  • The plant insulin, polypeptide-P is a notable phytonutrient. It also contains Charatin - an hypoglycemic agent.
  • Excellent source of folates with 100 gms providing 18% of the daily requirement.
  • 100 gms provides 16% of daily Vitamin A and 140% of daily Vitamin C requirement.
  • Contains flavonoids like alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Has good amounts of the Bcompex vitamins - niacin, pantothenic acis and pyridoxine and the minerals, iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.


Active Compounds In Bitter Melon

Over 30 biologically active chemicals have been found in bitter melon including a variety of plant steroids, triterpenes and proteins.

Bitter Melon Nutrition Information

(click column header to sort results)
   
Bitter gourd or Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)  
   
 
fresh, raw, Nutritive value per 100 gms
 
 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
 
Principle
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
17 Kcal
<1%
Carbohydrates
3.70 g
3%
Protein
1.00 g
2%
Total Fat
0.17 g
0.50%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
2.80 g
7%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
72 micro gm
18%
Niacin
0.400 mg
2.50%
Pantothenic acid
0.212 mg
4%
Pyridoxine
0.043 mg
3%
Riboflavin
0.040 mg
3%
Thiamin
0.040 mg
3.50%
Vitamin A
471 IU
16%
Vitamin C
84 mg
140%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
5 mg
<1%
Potassium
296 mg
6%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
19 mg
2%
Copper
0.034 mg
4%
Iron
0.43 mg
5%
Magnesium
17 mg
4%
Manganese
0.089 mg
4%
Zinc
0.80 mg
7%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Beta-Carotene
190 micro gm
--
Alpha-Carotene
185 micro gm
 
Lutein-zeaxanthin
170 micro gm
--

Health Benefits Of Karela

  1. It has anti bacterial and anti viral, anti cancer properties.
  2. It reduces inflammation, cholesterol and blood sugar..
  3. The anti oxidant vitamins A & C fight free radicals.
  4. The flavonoids delay aging and have anti cancer action.
  5. Stimulates and improves digestion, relieves indigestion and constipation.
  6. Detoxifies the liver and the body and builds immunity.
  7. Relieves skin and blood disorders.
  8. Alleviates respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis.
  9. Removes intestinal parasites.


Health Benefits Of Karela - Some Natural Remedies

  • For Kidney And Bladder Stones

Karela can break these stones and remove them via urine.

Drink juice of 2 karela/bitter melons daily. Also eat a vegetable made of bitter melons.

  • For Asthma

Eat bitter melons daily.

  • For Gas & Weak Digestion

Eating bitter melons makes the digestive system stronger. You can also drink bitter melon juice.

  • In Cholera

Drink 1/4 cup of bitter melon juice mixed with equal quantity of water. Add salt to taste.Drink this often. It stops vomiting and diarrhea too.

  • For Improving Liver Function

To keep liver in top condition, children from 3-8 years can be given 1/2 tsp bitter melon juice daily. It also tones up the stomach.

  • For Enlarged Liver And Ascites

Consume 50 ml bitter melon juice mixed in water daily.

  • For Diabetes

Take 15 ml bitter melon juice mixed in water 3 times a day for 3 months. Also, eat bitter melon vegetable.

  • For Intestinal Worms

Drink 1/4 cup bitter melon juice.

  • As A Blood Purifier

Drink 60 ml bitter melon juice for a few days.

  • For Burning Sensation In Feet

Massage feet with juice of bitter melon leaves. Bitter lemon juice can also be used to massage with.

  • For Bleeding Piles

Drink 1 tsp bitter melon juice mixed with sugar.

  • For Non Bleeding Piles

Drink 2 tbsp of bitter melon juice with a glass of butter milk daily 3 times a day.

  • For Jaundice

Grind 1 bitter melon with water and drink this water in the morning and evening.

  • For Arthritis

Apply bitter melon juice on the affected joints. Also, eat bitter melon vegetable.
For joint pain, massage with the juice of bitter melon leaves.

  • For Constipation

Take 5-10 drops of the homeopathic medicine, Momordica charanti Q ( mother tincture) four times a day.

Regular consumption of bitter melon supplies sufficient phosphorus to the body to keep energy levels up.

  • For Skin Ailments Like Psoriasis/Athlete's Foot

Eat bitter melon daily.


Precautions

It reduces fertility in both males and females. Hence, those undergoing treatment for fertility should avoid its consumption.

Breastfeeding women should avoid consuming bitter melon as the active chemicals are transferred in the milk.

Excess consumption can cause abdominal pain or diarrhea.

Pregnant women should not consume bitter melon as it induces abortion by stimulating the uterine contractions.

Diabetics should be cautious about taking hypoglycemic drugs as bitter melon lowers blood sugar levels.


References

http://www.webmd.com

http://www.rain-tree.com/bitmelon.htm#.UREBRKWzeOw

http://bittermelon.org/heal/healthbenefits

http://www.juicing-for-health.com/bitter-gourd-benefits.html


Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.


Dahi Wala Karela

Karela, Aloo & Pyaz Ki Sabzi

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

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Comments 27 comments

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Great review on this product. I love karela and after reading your benefits, I feel I should go and get it...since it has been a while since I made any.

Thanks for such interesting/useful hub.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I have never heard of this...I will check it out at the health food store. Thanks again for another healthy solutions ideas.. I am voting up and going to share this around.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I've never seen it or heard of it. Where do you get all of this interesting information? Well done once again; you are doing a great job in this niche.


sid76 3 years ago

Very informative hub rajan! Share & voted up!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Ruchira - Here in India, we have been used to eating this healthy vegetable regularly. Thanks for the votes and visit.

@ Carol - This vegetable should be available in the produce section. Thanks for the visit and appreciate the sharing.

@ Bill - thanks for the support and compliments, as always.

@ sid - Thank for reading and commenting.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

In Malaysia, we have bitter gourd. Is it the same as karela? The picture looks different though. So many benefits in this not so nice looking melon. Great hub!!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Peachpurple, bitter gourd is the same as karela. There are slight differences like color, size ans it may be somewhat less rough in different regions of the world but it has a rough uneven skin, just like a house lizard.

Thanks for reading.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Awesome! Bitter lemon is such a different kind of fruit, I heard fo this fruit but not as much as you written thanks for this information.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Karela can be really tasty if cooked properly and is very good for health. Great hub and thanks for sharing this information. Voted up.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Thanks for this interesting and informative hub. I believe we've got some products from India at the market here now so I'll look for it. Passing this on.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Devika - thanks for reading.

@ Nithya - Absolutely and thanks for visiting.

@ Rasma - I do hope you do try it healthy vegetable. Thanks for the regular support.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 3 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I don't think I have ever seen this fruit or vegetable.. but this is awesome information here...

thank you rajan

blessings

Sharing

Debbie


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Debbie, bitter melons/karela are available in the Asian produce section, if you'd like to try. Thanks for reading and sharing.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Interesting and useful .

I vote up,across and share all around.

Eddy.


KerryAnita profile image

KerryAnita 3 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

This sounds like a very interesting fruit. It's amazing how it turns such a bright color when ripe. I'd love to try it sometime!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Eiddwen - thanks for the vote up and sharing.

@ KerryAnita - thanks for stopping by.


geetbhim profile image

geetbhim 3 years ago from Ludhiana India

Voted up and sharing.

What I feel is soaking it in salt for sometime then wash with plenty of water to remove the bitter taste some nutrionale value too get washed away as most of the vitamins are water soluble , plz clarify my doubt.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Sangeeta, to a certain excess yes it does affect the water soluble vitamins. But if you like the slight bitterness you need not do this.

Thanks for reading and sharing.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Another great hub from you rajan;you really do have a great selection here. Enjoy your day.

Eddy.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Eddy, Always a pleasure to see you. Have a nice day.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Just finished reading about bitter melon in a hub by Peggy W, I think. So when I saw this one I decided I must see if I can learn more. Definitely sounds like something I should be eating! Between the 2 of you, I have indeed learned a lot about bitter melon and now I am as curious as one can be to try it. Have given you lots of up votes. Excellent hub!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Au fait, well I do hope you give this vegetable a try though the bitterness takes a while to get used to.

Thanks for the visit and comments.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

rajan,

This is an another very interesting and useful hub. I first started eating bitter melon when I lived in Taiwan in the 1970s. It tasted delicious when it was stuffed with pork. I occasionally still eat it in Thailand. Little did I know that it has so many good health benefits. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.


chinared profile image

chinared 3 years ago from Asia, and all over

rajan jolly. I'm very familiar with bitter melon, and hate it... haha. My wife tries to hid it in food, but I always know it's there. She echoes exactly what you say, it's very healthy for you, but like you said, it does take LOTS of time to adjust your tasted buds to. Voted up and useful.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

Very interesting. This is another plant I have never heard of. It's nice to hear all of the warnings about it, as well as the benefits and nutrition. Thanks for sharing this with us, Rajan.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@Paul-I've never tried eating vegetables with meat. I've no idea what it would taste like. I appreciate your visit, comments and sharing.

@Rick-I know not many people like it. Thanks for stopping by.

@Kathryn-glad you like the info. I appreciate your visit and comments.


Puteri 19 months ago

Hi Rajan, my friend fasting blood sugar level was 5.8. Actually I have past knowledge of the many wonders Kerala/bitter melon has. So when the results came to be .3 higher, I decided to try this method out. I can only say WOW WOW WOW!! After taking only 4 days her blood sugar went down to 5.2. I think we will try this out for another 3 days and stop for awhile to try this again since I read on other websites that bitter melon cannot be on long term. Yes/No?? Any feedback from you or bloggers will be very much appreciated. By the way, does it also lower cholesterol? Any experience shared here will be great!

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