Momordica charantia  
 

 

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Botanical Name : Momordica charantia
Common Name :
 Bitter melon
Distribution :
China, India, Japan, Caribbean
Action : 
Bitter gourd works powerfully to detoxify the blood and colon. This fruit is commonly used in rural Thailand to fight HIV-AIDS, hepatitis, and cancer, as well as other systemic diseases. It has particularly beneficial effects on diseases of the liver, spleen, and pancreas. The juice of the vegetable is a laxative and antipyretic. Eaten daily as bitter tonic, steamed bitter gourds are routinely suggested for the elderly, diabetics, hypoglycemics, and those with chronic disease or illness. It has also been shown to increase insulin production and to have anti-carcinogen properties. As it encourages proper digestion, bitter gourd is recommended for sluggish digestion, dysentery, chronic constipation, and flatulence. It is also reputed to be beneficial for poor eyesight and is high in the antioxidant, vitamins A and C. Bitter gourd is listed in the Wat Pho texts as an appetizer, purgative. anthelmintic, and as a cure for leprosy. It appears in treatments for fever, infections menstrual problems, hemorrhoids, and constipation.
 

 

Therapeutic uses : Oral administration of fresh fruit juice (dose, 6 c.c. /kg. body wt.) lowered the blood sugar level in normal and alloxan-diabetic rabbits. Oral administration of alcoholic extracts of the plant to some diabetic patients did not produce any hypoglycaemic action. p-Insulin, a polypeptide from the fruits and seeds rapidly decreased and normalized the blood sugar level in rats.

Part used : Fruit and leaf

Preparation: The proper dosage is one small, unripe, raw melon or about 50 ml of fresh juice, each taken in 2 or 3 doses over the course of the day. The only problem is that bitter melon tastes extremely bitter. Capsules of powder can be an alternative.

 

Chemical components : Momordica charantia has a non-nitrogenous neutral principle charantin, and on hydrolysis gives glucose and a sterol. The fruit pulp of momordica charantia has soluble pectin but no free pectic acid. Galactouronic acid is also obtained from the pulp. Momordica fruits glycosides, saponins, alkaloids, reducing sugars, resins, phenolic constituents, fixed oil and free acids.
The presence of an unidentified alkaloid and 5-hydroxytryotamine is also reported. The 5HT content is reported to be present. The ether extract residue of the alcoholic concentrate from the leaves of
Momordica is reported to reveal hypoglycemic activity comparable to that of tolbutamide. The pure protein termed as P-insulin extracted from Momordica fruits in crystalline form is also tested.

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Resources:
- Lavit KHAM  B.Sc (Chemistry),B.Pharm, MPS,MAACP, MNHAA
Medicinal Plants of Cambodia Habitat, Chemical constituents and Ethno botanical Uses
Bendigo Scientific Press   ISBN 0-646-43703-8  / 9780646437033
- Somanith BOUAMANIVONG & Onvilay SOURIYA Ministry of Health, Traditional Medicine Research Center, Editor Prof. Dr. Bouhong SOUTHAVONG, Vientiane 2005.
- Lily, M. PERRY. Medicinal Plants of East and Southeast Asia, London, England 1978
- WHO Regional Publications, Western Pacific Series No 2
- Jules VIDAL, Noms vernaculaires de plantes (LAO, MEO, KHA) 1959
- Medicinal Plants in China 1989
- C. Pierce SALGUERO A Thai Herbal, Traditional Recipes for Health and Harmony, 2005
Silkworm Books www.silkwormbooks.info   ISBN 974-9575-74-1 

Acknowledgements:
- Dr. Sabine WILKINS Plant Physiology & Dr. Pauline Mc CABE Naturopathy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria Australia.
-
Prof. Roger KING, Pharmacology Toxicology, Monash University, Australia.
-
Chea SOK MENG, Cambodian pharmacist
-
Prof, Ka SUNBAUNAT Cambodian psychiatrist, Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Phnom Penh.

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