The bitter gourd / Melon extract has a good blood sugar lowering effect and is known as plant insulin. The whole component extract is used for type 2 diabetes three times a day, 2g each time, which can maintain normal blood sugar level. Because it is plant extract, it has no toxic side effects compared with western medicine hypoglycemic agent.
Plant bitter gourd belongs to the cucurbitaceae and is known in the name of bitter gourd. Balsam pear grows in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America, where bitter melon is both food and medicine. It can produce beautiful flowers and prickly fruits. The fruit of this plant is the same as its name – it tastes bitter. Although the seeds, leaves and vines of bitter gourd can be used, the fruit is the safest and most widely used of the medicinal parts of the plant. The sap of the leaves and the fruit or seeds are used as an insect repellent; in Brazil, the dose as an insect repellent is 2 to 3 seeds. The immature fruit of bitter gourd is more bitter because it contains bitter melon. Momordicin is mainly composed of a variety of triterpenoids, including Momordicin A-E, K, L and momardicius I, II and III. Roots and fruits are used as abortion pills.
Momordica charantia goes by several common names around the world, including bitter melon, bitter gourd, balsam, bitter apple and carilla fruit. It belongs to the cucurbitaceae plant family and today is primarily grown in two varieties for its medicinal benefits (M. charantia var. charantia and M. charantia var. muricata), mostly throughout parts of India.
Benefits & Application of Bitter Melon Extract
Preliminary research suggests that compounds found in bitter melon may have effects similar to those of insulin, which is the hormone responsible for allowing blood sugar to enter your cells. Since this insulin-like activity may help protect against insulin resistance and keep your blood sugar from rising, it’s thought that bitter melon may help fight diabetes.
In addition, bitter melon is said to help treat and/or prevent following health problems:
Bitter melon is also said to combat cancer and promote weight loss.
Here’s a look at some of the available research on bitter melon and its possible benefits:
Although preliminary research suggests that bitter melon has hypoglycemic effects, there’s currently a lack of clinical trials supporting these findings.
For a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2012, researchers analyzed four previously published clinical trials (with a total of 479 participants) testing the potential benefits of bitter melon in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Noting that the reviewed studies were low quality, the report’s authors found that bitter melon failed to have a significant effect on blood sugar control compared to diabetes drugs (glibenclamide and metformin) or a placebo.
2) High Cholesterol
In an animal-based study published in Nutrition Research in 2013, scientists observed that animals placed on a diet enriched with bitter melon extract experienced a significant decrease in cholesterol levels.
3) Obesity Weight-loss
A preliminary animal study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice in 2008 found that bitter melon helped reduce the buildup of visceral fat in mice fed a high-fat diet. Characterized by excess fat around the stomach and abdomen, visceral obesity has been associated with increased risk of conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Bitter melon is valued for its ability to stimulate peristalsis. It is rich in dietary fiber, and is believed to be a good natural laxative. In addition, bitter melon may be helpful in relieving indigestion. So if you have sluggish digestion, bitter melon, or its extract, might prove helpful.
Bitter melon also contains high concentrations of vitamin C, a nutrient that improves immunity. Vitamin C plays an important role in fighting off chronic illnesses, viral and bacterial infections in your body.
We’ve already established that bitter melon is rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. However, it may also work to protect the skin from cell damage, preventing oxidation of DNA.
Shu-Jing Wu and the Lean-Teik Ng from Chia-Nan University of Pharmacy and Technology and the Tajen University in Taiwan, respectively, conducted a study on the antioxidant and radical scavenging properties of the extract. They found positive results, enough to support the idea that this extract may indeed benefit skin.8
Research suggests that bitter melon may aid skin repair by helping to reduce scarring, though more studies are needed. It may also help treat deep skin infections and accelerate the process of wound healing.
In many parts of the world, bitter melon is being used to help with numerous ailments. In many countries, such as Panama and Colombia, they use Momordica charantia to help prevent and treat malaria because it is rich in quinine and other alkaline substances.