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The Miraculous Fruit Called Bitter Gourd
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This amazing fruit called bitter gourd or bitter squash has been scientifically proven to prevent and treat diabetes and to aid liver, pancreas, stomach, colon and spleen problems. Other parts of the plant such as seeds, flowers, leaves and roots also offer other amazing benefits.
Prevalence of diabetes and other associated metabolic syndromes are increasing worldwide. Treating diabetes involves multiple interventions including exercise, pharmacotherapy and diet modification. A study of Kaur et.al. (2011) claimed that anti-diabetic drugs usually have side effects, and since they do not thoroughly treat all the complications and symptoms of diabetes such as impaired lipid profile, patients will need a multiple drug therapy.
Bitter melon has been widely used in the treatment of diabetes both type 1 and type 2. Clinical and laboratory tests showed the bitter melon helps in reducing blood sugar levels. It can also lower rises of blood glucose levels after meals. This fruit is an excellent source of polypeptide-p that can reduce blood sugar levels in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Another of the chemical properties of bitter melon is charactin that can treat type 2 diabetes. Balch (2002) claimed that charantin is more effective than tolbutamide (Orinase), a drug commonly prescribed by doctors. Charantin, like tolbutamide, can stimulate the pancreas to generate more insulin. It can prevent the production of free radicals from oxidative stress associated with diabetes.
Prevention/Treatment of Herpes
The extracts of bitter melon are also two times more effective than the commonly prescribed drug acyclovir (Zovirax) in eliminating strains of herpes virus that are acyclovir-resistant. Nevertheless, bitter gourd is 100 to 1000 times more effective in fighting acyclovir-resistant strains.
As an Anti-Cancer Fruit
A 2013 study published in the journal called “Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” stated that bitter gourd has an anti-cancer stem cell activity, specifically in cases of colon cancer. It can also inhibit clonogenicity and proliferation of colon cancer cells. Bitter gourd extracts also prevent progression of specific colon cancer cells. Another component of bitter gourd juice called dihydroxy-α-eleostearic acid and a chemical component from extracts of bitter melon seeds can also induce apoptosis of leukemia cells.
Other Health Benefits
In addition to the fruit, other parts of bitter gourd plant such as leaves, flowers, and roots also offer other health benefits. Juice from leaves of bitter melons can treat diarrhea and dysentery. It can also eliminate intestinal parasites. Pounded seeds and leaves can also treat wounds, scalds, and burns.
Even though bitter gourd is considered as a magic fruit, it also has side effects if taken in excessive amounts. Pregnant women are not advisable to take a high dosage of bitter melon juice since this would result in abortion. Excessive consumption can also cause abdominal pain and discomfort.
Nevertheless, the details mentioned above clearly indicate that this fruit should be included in our daily diet. However, it should not be consumed in enormous amounts so that we could enjoy the benefits of this miraculous fruit.