14 Sep Momordica charantia
Ranked as one of the five most important healing plants, research has confirmed bitter melon’s power to lower blood sugar in diabetic patients and to fight cancer.
Botanically, it belongs to the same family as squash, watermelon, cantaloupes and cucumber: Cucurbitaceae, and its genus is Momordica.
Interestingly enough, the Latin name ‘Momordica’ translates as ‘to bite’, referring to the jagged edges of bitter melon’s leaves, which appear as if they have been bitten!
The herb traditionally thrives in tropical areas, including parts of the Amazon, East Africa, and the Caribbean, and is cultivated throughout South America and Asia as both food and medicine. Since ancient times, its fruits and leaves have been used in the folk medicine traditions of several cultures, including those of China, India, Africa, and the West Indies.
11 reasons why you should get familiar with Momordica charantia:
- As a versatile medicinal plant, bitter melon’s applications in traditional medicine span a long list of conditions including killing bacteria, viruses (measles and chicken pox), and some cancer cells, reducing inflammation, and cleansing the blood.
- Other uses include treatment for the cold and flu, tumours, high cholesterol, and psoriasis.
- Similar to most bitter-tasting foods, bitter melon stimulates digestion and due to the high number of its antioxidants that help speed up the metabolic rate, it has been highly recommended for weight loss.
- The powerful insulin-lowering effects of bitter melon have been suggested as a powerful remedy for type 2 diabetes. The compound charantin within Bitter Melon is more potent than the drug tolbutamide, which is often used in the treatment of diabetes to lower blood sugar.
- According to a Saint Louis University researcher, bitter melon holds the potential fight head and neck cancer. Its extracts may suppress cancer cell growth while also reducing the growth of tumours. Additionally, it may hold the ability to reduce pancreatic cancer cells.
- The nutritional value of bitter melon can hardly be overstated. Research shows that bitter melon contains twice the beta carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, in addition to Vitamins A, C, B1 to B3, Phosphorus, good dietary fibre and iron, zinc, and copper.
- Despite the lack of documentation, it is still regarded by Asians, as well as Panamanians and Colombians, as a valuable agent for preventing and treating malaria.
- Another prime health benefit of bitter melon is that it helps to clean the liver and kidney, regenerate the liver cells and flush out kidney stones.
- Bitter melon is used topically for sores, wounds, rashes, eczema, leprosy and other infections, and internally for worms and parasites, inflammation and colic.
- Apart from its health benefits, the vegetable is highly valuable for your skin, known to treat acne thanks to its blood purifying properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help to flush out the toxins from your skin.
- It also enhances the libido!