What Are the Health Benefits of Bitter Melon?
Bitter melon is commonly referred to as bitter gourd and its scientific name is Momordica Charantia. It is basically a fruit that has a lot of medicinal benefit. Bitter melon is native to regions, such as Asia, certain parts of the Caribbean and Africa. Bitter melon is easy to identify because it has wrinkled and rough skin. Though some may not find it too tasty, this fruit is very beneficial for those suffering from diabetes and obesity. Bitter melon is a climbing shrub, which is known to mostly grow in tropical climates. It also grows pretty fast in comparison to others. Bitter melon is normally characterized as having thin stems with bright yellow flowers and thin tendrils. The flowers of bitter melon bloom just once for the entire day.
Bitter melon fruit is light green and gradually turns into yellow, or be orange once it is completely ripened. This fruit has a long history of being used in Ayurvedic, as well as, Chinese medicine. The medicinal, as well as the culinary use, of bitter melon originated in India. Gradually, it was introduced in Chinese medicine during the 14th century, mostly for certain medical issues, such as skin issues, digestive problems, tumors and asthma. This fruit is normally used in several teas and soups.
Bitter food items tend to act as a cleansing agent for the body and also help in boosting the health of the liver. The Chinese were instantly attracted towards the extremely bitter/sour taste of this fruit. Gradually they started preparing dishes of this fruit and making it a part of their various recipes. This fruit was also taken as part of juice wherein it would act as a tonic for treating conditions such as upset stomach, wounds on the skin, indigestion, respiratory infections and people suffering from chronic cough.
However, bitter melon is well known for its hypoglycemic effect, or its ability to lower the blood sugar in the body. Research has shown that bitter melon’s fruit, dried powder and juice can all act for mimicking insulin's effect, thus using it for treating diabetes. This is because bitter melon contains three varied components that helps in naturally regulating the blood sugar of the body. Those three components are, peptides, charantin and alkaloids.