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How to use Bitter Melon (Bitter gourd)

Updated on September 1, 2016
Ripe bitter gourd
Ripe bitter gourd | Source

What is Bittergourd

India is a land of Ayurveda. Bittergourd (Bitter melons), a vegetable bitter in taste, is widely used by Indians. It is also called as Karela, and some parts it is called as Parkka Pitla.

The scientific name of bitter gourd is Momordica charantia. It is among the most bitter of all vegetables and splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp. Apart from India, it is also cultivated in Srilanka, China, Malaysia and the Caribbeans.

This bitter vegetable contains essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, copper, iron, and also vitamins A, b1, and b2.

Therapeutic Uses of Bitter gourd

Bitter melon has many therapeutic properties. It is packed with nutrients and health benefits.

1. Diabetes mellitus

Due to the nutrients in the bitter gourd, bitter melon is quite widely used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Research studies have shown that bitter gourd contains hypoglycemic principles in it and thus it helps to lower the blood sugar levels just like insulin.

2. Hypertension

It is useful in reducing hypertension,

3. Eye disorder

4. Cough

5. Enhancing digestion, metabolism and immunity.

6. Constipation - The juice of bitter guard is used for relieving constipation.

7. Rheumatism and Gout

Bitter melon is noted to be an effective component in herbal medicine, and the fruit is known to help treat, or alleviate the symptoms of rheumatism and gout and ailments of the spleen and liver.

8. Bitter gourd is a blood purifier, activates spleen and liver.

Recipes with Bitter gourd

This vegetable is available in two varieties, dark green variety and the oblong pale green variety.The green bitter melons are more bitter, when compared to the white color melons.

For cooking, it is better to choose fresh bitter gourd as the old ones taste even more bitter.

Bitter melons are seldom mixed with other varieties of vegetables due to its strong bitter taste. The young ones are best for cooking.

In South India, various tasty dishes are made from it, such as pavakkai theeyal, pavakkai fry, pavakkai upperi, pavakkai kolumbu, pavakkai thoran, pavakkai pacchadi, pavakka pickle, pavakka stuffed etc.

Bitter gourd
Bitter gourd | Source

To reduce its bitterness of Bitter gourd

1. The bitter melons can be cut into small slices, and blanch for 3-4 minutes in boiling water to which a little salt has been added. Then drain it and use for your recipes.

2. They can be cut into small slices and immerse them in salt water for sometime. Drain and use for the desired recipe.

For Preservation of Bitter gourds

During the season, bitter gourds can be bought in bulk and preserved for future use.

Cut the vegetable into half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.Then cut them into thin pieces, and steam for 3-5 minutes. Dry them in the hot sun.

It may take 2-3 days for proper drying.Once dried well, they can be preserved in airtight bottles, and can be used for various dishes as and when required. They can be also fried in the oil and use, with or without adding any spices.


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.

Availability in the Market

Bitter Melons are available fresh from April to September in most Asian markets and can occasionally be found in larger supermarkets. They are also available as ayurvedic capsules in the market.

More information on Bitter Melon

Bitter gourd stuffed


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    • profile image

      Gealleyjottar 5 years ago


    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 5 years ago

      suzanne, Whenever needed, few pieces of pre-dried bitter melon, can be taken in small quantities at a time, and deep fried in cooking oil for about 1-1 1/2 minute. This comes out as bitter melon chips.

    • profile image

      suzanne 5 years ago

      How do you prepare pre-dried bitter me

    • saroj23 profile image

      saroj23 6 years ago

      Nice hub! Keep it up.I like Bitter gourd too, specially the fried ones.

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 7 years ago

      Thank you ozgul for your visit and a wonderful comment. Glad to know how you use bitter melon in Turkey. I will try that in India too. Thanks once again.

    • profile image

      ozgul 7 years ago

      in Turkey we use b?tter melon for any wounds, cuts and burns(also good for stomach ulcer).cut ?nto the small pieces and put glass conta?ner and fill w?th ol?ve o?l,close f?rmly.after 2 weeks u can use th?s for up to one year.

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 7 years ago

      Suman, sorry for the late response.

      Take fresh bitter melon and cut it lengthwise into two. Remove the seeds and white flesh, and cut into small pieces.

      To reduce the bitterness, soak the pieces in cold salt water for some time.

      Put the pieces into a juice extractor and run it for a minute or two.

      You can also add some pineapple juice, if necessary, to reduce bitterness.

    • profile image

      Suman 7 years ago

      Anybody please tell me how to prepare bitter guard juice.

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 8 years ago

      Khairul, I'm sorry I missed your comment. I noticed it today only. Thanks for the comment. I agree with you. You have a lovely website for diabetes and the use of bitter melon. very informative. Thanks.

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 8 years ago

      Thanks bala99 for your comments.You're right. Your recipe is also very tasty. We too make it,but without sonth. Still it tastes good.

    • bala99 profile image

      Bala Subrahmanyam Vishnubhotla 8 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

      Good! At last some one who likes Karela(bitter Gourd). The dried BG I like is, boiled with Salt, Pepper and Dry Ginger (Sonth) and Sun dried. Deep fried, beats potato chips any day.

    • profile image

      Khairul 8 years ago

      Bitter melon contains polypeptide-p, a hypoglycemic peptide in its fruit, seeds and tissue. Researchers have found it very effective when administered subcutaneously, for both type1 and 2 diabetics. This peptide is very similar to insulin, and can act like insulin.

      Bitter melon: