Health Benefits Of Karela | Bitter Gourd | Bitter Melon
The Over Ripe Fruit
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
Bitter gourd or Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)
fresh, raw, Nutritive value per 100 gms
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
72 micro gm
190 micro gm
185 micro gm
170 micro gm
Health Benefits Of Karela
- It has anti bacterial and anti viral, anti cancer properties.
- It reduces inflammation, cholesterol and blood sugar..
- The anti oxidant vitamins A & C fight free radicals.
- The flavonoids delay aging and have anti cancer action.
- Stimulates and improves digestion, relieves indigestion and constipation.
- Detoxifies the liver and the body and builds immunity.
- Relieves skin and blood disorders.
- Alleviates respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis.
- 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.
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.
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.
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Dahi Wala Karela
Karela, Aloo & Pyaz Ki Sabzi
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly
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