Bitter gourd is an herbaceous, tendril-bearing plant with simple, alternate leaves. The leaves are 4-12 cm in width and have three to seven lobes each. The plants have separate male and female flowers. Flowering occurs in June-July and the fruits appear in September- November. The fruit has a warty exterior, and the flesh of the fruit is crunchy and watery.
The common name for this plant is bitter melon. The other regional names include pavakai (Tamil), Karela (Hindi), cerasee (Jamaica), and uchche (Bengali).
Botanical name or family of karela
The botanical name for this plant is Momordica charantia. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.
Geological places where Bitter gourd plant grows
Bitter gourd originated in India. It went to China in the 14th Century with the travelers who visited India.
Bitter gourd health benefits
The bitter gourd has found use in Ayurveda from a very long time ago. The nutrients in bitter squash are so good for health that people juice the fruit and have it.
High nutrient content: It has potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, beta-carotene, and calcium along with dietary fibre. It has fewer amounts of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine. It also has zinc and manganese.
Maintain blood sugar levels: The sugar lowering ability of the bitter gourd is due to the polypeptide-p content. This is plant insulin that is useful for diabetics. It composes charantin that increases glucose intake and glycogen synthesis. This occurs within the cells of the liver, muscle, and adipose tissue. Acting together, these substances help to reduce sugar levels in the blood. This proves useful for the treatment of type-2 diabetes. Find diabetes home remedies.
Prevents defects in new-born babies: High content of folates (100 grams contains 18% of RDA) in the bitter gourd helps prevent neural tube defects in new-born babies. So, women should take the fruit during the early stages of pregnancy.
Cures stomach complaints: The bitter melon helps in the smooth passage of food through the stomach and GI tract. It stimulates the GI tract to keep the digestive system in top condition. This way, it helps to relieve digestive and constipation problems.
Used in cancer prevention: The seeds of the bitter gourd is useful for fighting cancer cell proliferation. Grind the seeds and mash it with the bitter gourd to prepare your dishes. It reduced the risk of prostate, cervical, and breast cancer. Find 10 cancer preventing superfoods.
Treat fevers: The bitter melon has antipyretic nature. You can drink a cup of Karela juice to get relief from fever. It boosts the metabolism, so you become healthy again.
Lower bad cholesterol levels: It lowers the bad cholesterol in the body and helps to improve heart health. The rich potassium content helps absorb the sodium. The folic acid and iron improves the condition of the blood and prevents the incidence of stroke.
Beauty treatment: The powerful antioxidants and the vitamin A and vitamin C helps nourish the scalp and hair. It protects the hair from damage and keeps it glowing with health. For glowing skin apply the juice with lemon rind and Aloe Vera juice and experience a lightning and brightening of the skin immediately. It helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
Laxative: Used since the olden times for relieving constipation and improving bowel movement. The rich fibre content helps mobilize the food mass in the intestines. It stimulates the contractions and helps the movement in the GI tract. Have a glass of Karela juice in the morning for having smooth motion. Find constipation home remedies.
A cure for a hangover: For those who celebrate during the weekends, the Monday morning feeling is depressing. To get a fresh start to the new week, use the juice of the bitter melon. It peps you and gives good energy.
Emetic: You use emetics for treating bronchitis infections and in the case of poisoning. Make a strong potion using plenty of Karela and water for inducing vomiting. You can add lots of salt too as this will increase the effect.
Liver supportive action: The toxins in the blood remain filtered by the liver. The bitter gourd helps to remove the toxins in the liver and make it healthy again.
Useful for weight loss: Bitter melon is rich in nutrients while its calorie content is very low. The high fibre content helps in satiating hunger and thus helps keep the weight under control.
Anthelmintic agent: The karela stuns or kills the parasitic worms and removes them from the body. If you suffer from an infestation of worms, drink 30 ml of bitter gourd juice daily. It will remove the worms within a week.
Boost the immune system: It helps strengthen the immunity and prevents indigestion and allergies. It has antioxidants that work as powerful defenders of our health and prevents free radical damage.
Antibilious: The bitter melon decreases the production of bile. This helps to make the stomach healthy and improves digestion.
Good for the eyes: The beta-carotene and the vitamin A prove very beneficial for the eyes. It strengthens the eyes and is a good remedy for the dark circles.
Treats cough and respiratory diseases: We cure many kinds of infections of the respiratory tract and blockages due to mucus by the use of Karela. Have a cup of the bitter gourd juice two or three times daily to get the best effect.
Cure ulcers: You can cure the ulcers in the mouth and stomach by the use of Karela juice. Have one cup of the juice at least once a day before meals.
Beneficial for HIV and AIDS: Tests suggest that the presence of phytochemicals in the bitter melon might help in curing diseases like AIDS or HIV.
Cure skin diseases: If you have ailments of the skin, you can use the Karela juice to get a cure. It helps promote healthy skin and destroys the pathogens that cause the disease.
Fight infections: It has excellent amounts of flavonoids such as a-carotene, b-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Also, it has vitamin A. In all, these help to counter the action of the free radicals and prevent the incidence of infections. IT destroys the reactive oxygen species that creates aging, diseases, and cancers.
Pregnant women should avoid too much bitter gourd or Karela as it stimulates the uterus and results in preterm labour.