6 things to know about bit­ter mel­ons

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose -

Bit­ter melon is a trop­i­cal vine long cul­ti­vated in Asia, In­dia, East Africa and South Amer­ica. •

Its medic­i­nal and nu­tri­tional prop­er­ties are highly prized, and it has long been val­ued in Hindu medicine and Asian and African herbal medicines to treat di­a­betes, eczema, malaria, pep­tic ul­cers, gout, jaun­dice, ab­dom­i­nal pain, kid­ney stones, le­prosy, leu­c­or­rhea, piles, pneu­mo­nia, pso­ri­a­sis, rheuma­tism, fever and sca­bies. •

Science has shown it is one of the most promis­ing plants for treat­ing di­a­betes and re­lated con­di­tions. Lab­o­ra­tory ex­per­i­ments have shown bit­ter melon has medic­i­nal prop­er­ties such as anti-cancer, anti-hiv, an­tiul­cer, anti-leukemic, an­timi­cro­bial and anti-di­a­betic prop­er­ties. It has strong hy­po­glycemic prop­er­ties – the abil­ity to re­duce blood sugar – which can re­sult from drink­ing the juice, eat­ing cooked melon, or tak­ing a pow­dered ex­tract. •

Stud­ies have shown it con­tains an in­sulin-like com­pound, which is an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for di­a­betes, how­ever clin­i­cal stud­ies with hu­mans are needed to con­firm and ex­plore these uses. •

It is one of the veg­eta­bles cred­ited with giv­ing the is­lan­ders of Ok­i­nawa one of the high­est life ex­pectan­cies in the world. • All parts of bit­ter melon are highly nu­tri­tious and a good source of iron, mag­ne­sium, phos­pho­rus, potas­sium, pant pan­tothenic acid, and Vi­ta­min B6. The fruit, shoots, and flow­ers are high in cal­cium, carotene, ri­boflavin, and in lutein, a vi­tal com­po­nent of healthy skin, nerves and hair.

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