Momordica charantia, commonly known as bitter melon, is a fruit from the Cucurbitaceae family that is found in tropical areas throughout the world. It has been known as a ‘healing food’ in traditional circles. Bitter melon is exceptionally dense with micronutrients known for their hypoglycemic effects including charantin, cucurbutanoids, momordicin, oleanolic acids and insulin-like peptide (plant (p)-insulin), the latter being structurally similar to bovine insulin. Other micronutrients found in M. charantia include vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, iron, phosphorus and potassium17.
Studies have also examined its effects in regulating blood sugar, suggesting that the form and preparation of the bitter melon is important for optimizing therapeutic benefit. Fresh juice from the bitter melon rather than the dried fruit seems to result in a greater reduction in fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels. The effectiveness of bitter melon has been examined in both type I and type II diabetes.
- Country of origin: China
- Part used: Fruit of bitter melon (Momordica charantia)
- Solvent for extraction: Water
- Stored form: Yellow-brown fine powder