Bitter Melon Extract Benefits and Information

Bitter Melon Extract Benefits and Information

Most commonly found growing in tropical parts fo the world, including Africa, Asia and South America, the bitter melon plant is used for nutritional as well as it medicinal value. While all parts of the plant are used, the fruit of the Bitter Melon is most often used for creating medicinal remedies.

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) is a cucumber-shaped, green vegetable believed to have a high iron content, which increases its value as a preventative medicine for many health conditions. Historically bitter melon has been used as a remedy for an assortment of conditions. The leaves and fruit have both been used to season soups and to make teas and beer.

Dosage and Administration

Bitter melon may be consumed in the following ways: as food, a decoction of as much as 3 1/3 ounces (100 ml), or 2 ounces (60 ml) of fresh juice (daily). Though still bitter, tinctures of bitter melon (1 teaspoon [5 ml] two to three times per day) may also be used. The above dosages would be appropriate for diabetics.

Side Effects and Interactions

Excessive ingestion of bitter melon juice (several times more than the amount recommended above) may lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain. Consuming excessive amounts of the seeds may be linked with fever, headache, and coma. Pregnant women should not use bitter melon. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may be negatively affected by bitter melon because it may trigger or worsen the condition.

Currently, no well-known drug interactions with bitter melon exist.

Supporting Literature

Raman A, Lau C. Anti-diabetic properties and phytochemistry of Momordica charantia L (Curcurbitaceae). Phytomed 1996;2:349-62.
Werbach MR, Murray MT. Botanical Influences on Illness. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1994, 139-41.