Bitter Melon

"Bitter is better!" If you are wondering about this quote, let you be made aware that we are going to talk about one of the most unique vegetable-fruit which is an edible part of the plant named Momordica Charantia from the Cucurbitaceae family and is believed to be the most bitter among all the vegetables and fruits. Yes! You guessed it right. This current article will revolve around the facts of Bitter Melon or also called as Bitter Gourd which is either used as a food or also as a medicine for better health and better life. So, go through the following sections of the article and get to know about some of the interesting facts of Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd, its nutritional information, health benefits of Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd, preparation and serving techniques and safety concerns about this bitter tasting vegetable-fruit termed as Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd. Bitter Melon is also known as Karela in India.

Facts About Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd:

As discussed above, bitter melon is also popularly known as Bitter gourd and is the edible part of Momordica plant from the family Cucurbutaceae and is absolutely bitter to the taste buds. But again it must not be overlooked that this bitter tasting gourd adds some great level of sweetness to our health and life. Yes! Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd is known for its wonderful health benefits including its amazing properties of fighting against diseases like Cancer, diabetes, jaundice, HIV, Malaria,Chickenpox and various unhealthy skin conditions along with the liver damage, gut problems and the list continues.

General Features of Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd:

  • The bitter melon is actually yellowish green at first while it is picked up from the plant. However the color changes to yellow-orange as it ripens.
  • Along with the color change, there is an increased growth of bitterness in the bitter melon as it ripens. The flesh also gets tougher as it ripens.
  • Bitter melon has gourd like bumps all throughout its body.
  • This Bitter Melon or Bitter gourd comes with varied sizes and varied shapes. Usually the shapes are either oval or oblong with the blossom end having pointed tip.
  • The bitter melon carries plenty of fibrous seeds inside it.
  • The bitter melon holds a white colored flesh inside which holds the ridge edged seeds inside.

Let us Note Some of the Facts Related to Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd:

  • Bitter melon is usually cooked and consumed at its green state.
  • There are a number of ways bitter melon can be consumed; which includes bitter melon soup, bitter melon tea, bitter melon fry or curry etc.
  • The presence of various components like Glycosides, momordicins, Cucurbitacin B, Vitamin C, polypeptide-P, flavoids, folates etc make it an active source essential for health and good life.
  • Bitter melon is used in treating cancers, chicken pox, diabetes, malaria, HIV, and many other ill health conditions.
  • The scientific name of Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd is Momordica charantia. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and Momordica genus.
  • These are mostly cultivated in the Tropical portion of the world which includes South America, Asia and Africa.

Nutritional Information About Bitter Melon:

Here below is the nutritional information about Bitter Melon/ Bitter gourd:

  • A 100gm of bitter melon contains 84gm of Vitamin C
  • A 100 gm of bitter melon provides 17 calories.
  • Fresh bitter melon of 100gms contains about 74 Microgram of folate
  • A 93gms of bitter melon contains about 930mg of proteins
  • About 18 mg of Calcium, 16 mg of Magnesium, 29mg of phosphorous and 279mg of Potassium are present in a bitter melon weighing about 93gms
  • Among other nutrients present in bitter melon which help in making the melon a healthy food, comes the Polypeptide-P, flavonoids and various other vitamins (Vitamin- B3, B5, B6), Minerals like iron, copper, zinc etc.

Health Benefits of Bitter Melon:

Here comes the prime most section in our article that includes the list of a number of health benefits of Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd. Check out the necessary health benefits of Bitter Melon which can actually make you know that life could actually be sweeter with a little bitter added to the health.

  • Health Benefits of Bitter Melon in Treating Diabetes: Primarily known as an excellent source for reducing the glucose level and beneficial in diabetic conditions; Bitter melon with its plant insulin or the Polypeptide-P is one of the best food suggested for patients with diabetes.
  • Health Benefits of Bitter Melon in Cancer Treatment: Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd is beneficial for cancer because of the anti-cancer property exhibited by the bitter melon, it is known to be an effective source in reducing cancer growth. There have been many studies that suggest that this bitter gourd is beneficial to the cancer patients.
  • Benefits of Bitter Melon on Skin Health: Bitter melon is also known to cure various skin problems including acne, psoriasis, etc and also known to treat your skin for a healthy and charming glow naturally.
  • Bitter Gourd is Beneficial in Treating Malaria and Jaundice: Studies have found that Bitter Melon or Biter Gourd can be effective in treating Malaria and Jaundice.
  • Health Benefits of Bitter Melon in the Treating HIV: The RIP (Ribosomes inactivating proteins) present in Bitter melon is known to be promising in the anti-viral therapy and thus can be beneficial in HIV treatment.
  • Bitter Melon for Liver Damage and Kidney Stone: There are some studies hinting about the benefits of bitter melon in liver damage and kidney stone. Though more studies on these health benefits are essential to have a clear statement on the same.
  • For Treating Chicken Pox, Measles etc: There are some real great health benefits of bitter melon in treating chicken pox, measles etc.
  • Bitter Melon for Treating Gut Problem: Various types of gut problems are treated with bitter melon or Bitter Gourd. It is highly beneficial in treating indigestion, diarrhoea etc.
  • Health Benefits of Bitter Melon in Treating Eye Disorders: Due to the presence of beta carotene and some other compounds in the Bitter Melon, it is considered that this bitter gourd can help one reduce or treat some kinds of eye disorders.
  • Bitter Melon as a Sweet Source for Women Health: "Bitter for the sweet!" Confused about the quote? Well coming straight on this, Bitter melon is considered to be one of the most crucial natural secrete to better women health. This melon with its bitter taste is known to be effective in treating menstrual disorders and also help in treating female genital tract issues. Apart from this, Bitter melon is also very much effective in creating milk in a lactating woman.

Bitter Melon: Features, Facts, Nutritional Information, Health Benefits, Selection & Storage, Preparation & Serving Techniques, Side Effects.

Side Effects of Excessive Bitter Melon:

It must be strictly locked in the mind that, "More bitter does not mean more health!" It means, excessive intake of bitter melon can be extremely dangerous. There are some special cases where more of bitter melon or bitter gourd can lead to ill conditions like vomiting, diarrhoea, and also sometime be life threatening, especially in children and pregnant women. Let us go through the side effects related to excessive intake of bitter melon, before we look at the safety concerns.

  • One of the side effects of excessive intake of Bitter Melon is that it can increase the chances of abortion in pregnant women.
  • Children may have vomiting, diarrhoea and also meet with their death with the excessive intake of bitter gourd, especially the covering of the gourd which is toxic.
  • There is danger to health when bitter gourd is taken with other glucose-lowering medications. So, it can also be harmful for patients with diabetes when taken in excessive amount.
  • Side Effects of Hypoglycemia is also noted with excessive intake of bitter melon
  • Facial redness, dimness in vision, stomach pain, muscular weakness etc are some other noted side effects of taking more of bitter melon or bitter gourd, especially the seeds.
  • Gastric ulceration is yet another side effect seen with more consumption of bitter melon or bitter gourd.

Selection and Storage of Bitter Melon:

It is important to note that while purchasing the bitter melon, have a proper check that the melon is fresh and green in color and has not turned orange. This suggests, you are selecting the unripe bitter melon which is less bitter and can be cooked.

Now coming down to the storage process of Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd, be sure you have cleaned the melon with running water after getting it home and then dried it with a paper or towel and stored at refrigerator at 50F. This can store the bitter melon for at least 3-5 days.

Preparation and Serving Techniques for Bitter Melon:

The fresh bitter melon pods along with the fresh green leaves are used in cooking. It is first treated with salt water and dried in sun for reducing the bitterness. Then the bitter melon is prepared in a varied methods and served as per preferences and choices. Let us list down some of the special ways one can prepare and serve bitter melon.

  • Bitter melon can be fried with onion, tomatoes and spices with cooking oil and also be cooked as bitter melon curry along with some other vegetables.
  • Bitter melon is also prepared with iced milk and also taken as bitter melon tea.
  • Bitter melon soup is pretty common and served in the most common way.
  • Bitter gourd pickles are also prepared.

Safety Precautions For Using Bitter Melon Or Bitter Gourd:

  • Make sure you are removing the toxicity by soaking in salt water for about 10 minutes
  • Have a check that you are not mixing bitter melon with other glucose-lowering agents in case you are suffering from diabetes.
  • Pregnant women must not take bitter melon or any of its products.
  • Try to avoid the seeds of bitter melon.

With all these essential facts, nutritional information, health benefits and safety precautions on Bitter Melon, hope you must be now very much aware about what your next bitter dish would be for a sweeter and better life. Get some bitter melon today and start treating your taste buds with a bit of bitter and life with a better health!

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: June 27, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

Symptom Checker

Slideshow:  Home Remedies, Exercises, Diet and Nutrition

Chakra's and Aura's

Yoga Information Center

Find Pain Physician

Subscribe to ePainAssist Newsletters

By clicking Submit, I agree to the ePainAssist Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of ePainAssist subscriptions at any time.

Copyright © 2016 ePainAssist, All rights reserved. Protection Status