Over the years scientists have verified many of the traditional uses of bitter melon and it continues to be an important natural remedy in herbal medicine systems.* Natural health practitioners around the world are using it for diabetes, viruses, colds and flu, cancer and tumors, high cholesterol, and psoriasis.* For more information about bitter melon (Momordica charantia), please refer to the Database File for Bitter Melon in the Tropical Plant Database. To see photographs of bitter melon, click here.
Traditional Uses:* for cancer; for viral infections (HIV, herpes, Epstein Barr, hepatitis, influenza, and measles); for bacterial infections (Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Salmonella), as a bitter digestive aid (for dyspepsia and sluggish digestion); for diabetes
Suggested Use: This plant is best prepared as a decoction. Use one teaspoon of powder for each cup of water. Bring to a boil and gently boil in a covered pot for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and settle for 10 minutes and strain warm liquid into a cup (leaving the settled powder in the bottom of the pan). It is traditionally taken in one cup dosages, 2-3 times daily. For more complete instructions on preparing herbal decoctions, see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.
1. Do not use if pregnant or breast feeding.
2. This plant has been documented in animal studies to reduce fertility in both males and females and should therefore not be used by those undergoing fertility treatment or seeking pregnancy.
3. Bitter melon has demonstrated in numerous in vivo studies that it lowers blood sugar levels. As such, it is contraindicated in persons with hypoglycemia. Diabetics should use with caution while monitoring their blood sugar levels regularly.
Drug Interactions: It may potentiate insulin and anti-diabetic drugs.
Bitter Melon Plant Summary
Main Preparation Method: leaf decoction or capsules
Main Actions (in order): anticancerous, antiviral, antibacterial, digestive stimulant, hypoglycemic
1. for cancer
2. for viral infections (HIV, herpes, Epstein Barr, hepatitis, influenza, and measles)
3. for bacterial infections (Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Salmonella)
4. as a bitter digestive aid (for dyspepsia and sluggish digestion)
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