Parasites Do Not Like Bitter Melon

August 10, 2022
Parasites Do Not Like Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon: Momordica Charantia

Botanical Name: Momordica Charantia

Common Names: Karela, Bitter Gourd, Bitter Squash, Ampalay, Balsam Pear, Bitter Gourd, Bitter Cucumber, Cerasee, Momordica Fruit.

Family Name: Cucurbitaceae.

Toxicity & Cautions: Cautions exist such as diarrhea, vomiting, and other intestinal concerns.Caution if using insulin as bitter meloncan also lower blood sugar. (see Safety).

Taste: Bitter Melon is among the most bitter tasting of all culinary vegetables.

Habitat: A therapeutic fruit native to Africa, Asia, and parts of the Caribbean; with a long history of use in China. Ayurvedic medicine.

Botanical Description: Momordica charantia is a strong, tendril-bearing, frost-tender vine of the cucumber family that will develop quickly to 12-20’ long in a growing season.

Rounded, jagged, dark green leaves (1-4” diameter) with 3-7 deep sections with clearly toothed margins. Gourd-like yellow flowers (1” diameter) with 5 spreading petals bloom in Summer from the upper leaf axils.

Flowers are replaced by tubular fruits with a wrinkled and warty looking appearance. They ripen from green to yellow to orange, then they split into three curling sections revealing the inner red seeds.

Physical Features: Bitter Melon is a thin climbing vine with moderately jagged leaves that flowers in July and/or August. This gourd-like plant produces a long cucumber-like fruit with bumps, or what looks like warts on its skin. Normally it is picked before it fully ripens, otherwise, it becomes more bitter.

This tropical vine can grow to about 6 to 8 feet in height and it bears both male and female flowers. When the fruit is young it is green with white seeds inside, and when it matures it turns to an orange-yellowish color with red seeds inside.

Parts Used: Fruit, seed, leaves and vine. The fruit and the leaves are the primary parts utilized, but all parts can be used as well as juicing the fruit.

History of Use: Originating in India, Bitter Melon was then brought to China around the 14th century and is widely used in Asian cuisines.

Medicinal Properties:

Anthelminthic (parasitic intestinal worms)

Bitter Melon has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for type 2 Diabetes. Has been shown to arouse a sluggish digestive system and treat indigestion.

Various studies reveal that the fresh juice of bitter melon can reduce blood sugar values and keep Insulin levels under control, along with healthy lifestyle adjustments.

The fresh juice has also been shown to prevent jaundice by strengthening the liver. Also known as an appetite stimulant and useful for anorexia.

Energetics: cooling and drying

Meridians/Organs: Heart, Lung, Spleen, Stomach

Harvest Time: Bitter Melon can be harvested around 3 to 4 months following planting and about 8 to 10 days after the flower drops; at that time, the fruits should be around 4 to 6 inches in length.

If the fruit is permitted to stay on the vine too long it will turn quite yellow and be much more bitter. So best to pick when green and just a few yellow bands.

Folklore & Traditional Uses: A popular folk remedy for piles is to combine three teaspoonfuls of the juice from the leaves with a glassful of buttermilk. This should be taken every morning for a month on an empty stomach.

Drug Interactions & Safety Considerations: Momordica Charantia seeds have been shown to cause abortion in mice and the root has been shown to be a uterine stimulant. So this would not be recommended in pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant.


Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. (2018) SP3: 297-300 Retrieved May 2, 2020 from

Masters, J. Versatile Ayurveda. HM330 - Trinity School of Natural Health.

Albert, S. (nd). Harvest to Table. How to Grow Bitter Melon. Retrieved May, 3, 2020 from

Research Gate. (2016). Momordica Charantia: For Traditional Uses And Pharmacological Actions. Retrieved May 4, 2020 from

Missouri Botanical Garden. (nd). Momordica Charantia. Retrieved March 6, 2020 from


Easley, T. Horne, S., The Modern Herbal Dispensatory.