Bitter Melon

Momordica charantia

Ingrid Naiman
Adrián Rivera Flores

Image Credit:
© Pranee Tiangkate
Dreamstime ID: 121683225



Botanical Name: Momordica charantia

Common Names: Bitter melon, bitter gourd, karela

Other Names:  Papailla, melao de sao caetano, sorosi, a’jayib al maasi, assorossie, balsam apple, balsam pear, chin li chih, ejinrin gule khandan, fu-kua,k’u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, lai p’u t’ao, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria.

Habitat: Bitter melon is a tropical plant that is believed to be native to India. It can be found in tropical Asia, including China where it is dated from the 14th century. Today, it can be found in Africa and the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and tropical South America.  In the United States, it grows in Florida and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Uses: Bitter melon can be used as both food and medicine. Herbal supplements can be encapsulated, tableted, powdered, brewed as a tea, or made into tinctures.

Parts Used: Normally, the fruit is used while still green, but the young shoots, leaves, and seeds are also used both in food and medicine. The fruit is also sometimes allowed to ripen. As a food, bitter melon can be juiced, eaten raw as salad, used as a garnish, or cooked.  It is a common ingredient in South Asian cuisine where it often served for breakfast.  It is typically made into an omelette or stir fried.  It is made as a very spicy curry in South India and Sri Lanka, served as soup or on noodles in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, and with eggs in Okinawa.

Bitter melon is usually regarded as a stomachic.  It aids digestion and also has anti-parasitic actions. Consumed as a juice or food, the fruit can be used for such serious problems as H. pylori infection associated with ulcers. A tea made from the dried fruit is used in the treatment of diabetes. The fruit has stronger hypoglycemic actions than the leaves and is a common treatment for diabetes in Ayurvedic medicine as well as in the Caribbean Islands and South America.  The entire plant is antiviral and has been used to reduce fevers as well as to treat wounds. It has demonstrated effectiveness in treating lymphatic cancers and preventing the growth of tumors both in vitro and in vivo.


One cup of tea, twice per day or the juice of 1-2 fruits twice per day.

1-3 ml. of extract, twice per day.

20 mg. powder per kilogram of body weight for diabetes.


Abortifacient, analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antileukemic, antimycobacterial, antioxidant, antiproliferative, antipyretic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, antitumorous, antiviral, antiyeast, anxiolytic, cytostatic, cytotoxic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypoglycemic, immunostimulant, insecticide, stimulant, sedative, sudorific, vermifuge.

For a chemical analysis, please see the following pdf:,Vol9,Issue6,Article13.pdf

Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing.

Bitter melon can lower blood sugar so those taking insulin should be carefully monitored.

Excessive consumption of bitter melon can lower the libido and reduce sperm production.


Gallery Image Credits

Bitter Gourd Farm Thailand
© Lertwit Sasipreyajun
Dreamstime ID: 123525643

Bitter Gourd Farm Design
© Lertwit Sasipreyajun
Dreamstime ID: 123525535

Ripe Momordica Charantia
© Sarfraz Ahmad
Dreamstime ID: 119942518

Bitter Gourd Cultivation
© Lertwit Sasipreyajun
Dreamstime ID: 126591322

Bitter Gourd Vines
© Lertwit Sasipreyajun
Dreamstime ID: 127963587

Bitter Melon Juice
© Mohammed Anwarul Kabir Choudhury
Dreamstime ID: 70722244

Bitter Gourd Irrigation
© Lertwit Sasipreyajun
Dreamstime ID: 127963872

Bitter Melons on Vines
© Thungsarnphoto
Dreamstime ID: 28494606

Organic Bitter Gourd Soup
© Susansam90
Dreamstime ID: 39893144

Bitter Gourd Trellises
© Tawatchai Nakonnoy
Dreamstime ID: 81758289

Bitter Melon Medicine
© Solomonjee
Dreamstine ID: 32384055

Vegan Bitter Melon Stir Fry
© Susansam90
Dreamstine ID: 104396519

Many experts throughout history have regarded cancer salves and pastes as the most thorough, safe, and efficacious way to treat cancer, especially skin and breast cancers but also cancers of other organs. In this book, Ingrid Naiman meticulously traces the use of such products in ancient India and by Hildegard of Bingen, Native Americans, and modern physicians. She provides detailed instructions for making and using the salves, a fair comparison of the pros and cons, and eight pages of color pictures showing responses to the products. Visit her Cancer Salves site for more information, answers to frequently asked questions, and a checklist for people facing cancer.



Cancer Plants


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Copyright by Dr. Ingrid Naiman 2003 and 2018
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