6 things to know about bitter melons
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.