Bitter melon, or Momordica charantia, is becoming increasingly popular among alternative health enthusiasts. However, this is not a new fad; bitter melon has been used as both a medicine and a food for thousands of years in India and East Asia. It's important to know bitter melon's uses and contraindications before deciding whether this Asian vegetable is right for you.
Bitter melon is native to the continents of Asia, Africa and South America. However, it was most commonly used as a food and medicine in Asia. It is used to add bitterness to a variety of Indian and Chinese dishes. Traditional Chinese medicine has long considered bitter melon to be a cooling food, expelling toxins and improving GI function. It was often eaten in the summer to cool people after a long day of labor.
Bitter melon has long been used in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine, but it has only recently been studied by Western scientists. Bitter melon may help to fight certain infections, including viral ones such as HIV. It may lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Bitter melon also has a balancing effect on the gastrointestinal system, potentially helping with the symptoms of digestive problems such as GERD and colitis.
As with all medicines, bitter melon may interact with some medications. It should not be taken with many chemotherapy drugs. In addition, its hypoglycemic effects can contribute to dangerously low blood sugar in people who are taking insulin or diabetes medication. These effects are most pronounced when people eat the seeds or drink bitter melon juice.
Bagchi, Indrani; Food for thought: Green 'Karela' for Red China; The Times of India; Accessed February 5, 2015
Editors; Bitter Melon; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Accessed February 5, 2015
#bittermelon #ayurvedichealth #ayurvedic #iherbhealth #iherb