Bitter Melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumbers, pumpkins and watermelons), and is a perennial climbing elongated fruit that resembles a gourd or cucumber. Some have called it "bitter gourd" or "bitter cucumber". In specialty Asian markets, it may be known as "karela". Bitter Melon is primarily cultivated in the tropics, especially China, India, East African, Central, South America and the Caribbean.
Bitter Melon may be eaten several times a week when in season. It's historical use spans a wide array of conditions, with different parts of the plants being used (leaves, dried or fresh fruit, vine, whole plant, fresh juice) depending on the condition. It has been used to support digestion, cardiovascular function and skin health in Japan, Africa, India and the Caribbean.
alkaloids, glycoside, peptides, acids, cucurbitins, charantin, cucurbitacins, momordine, momorcharins and proteins
Leatherdale B, Panesar R, Singh G, et al. Improvement in glucose tolerance due to Momordica charantia (karela). Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282(6279):1823-1824.
Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.
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The dried fruit of Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) has long been used as a culinary spice and as a traditional medicine, and today it is ubiquitous in most cuisines. Black Pepper is made from the plant’s unripened green drupes (stone fruit), which are called “peppercorns.” They are briefly boiled and dried or cooked. Native to southern and southeast Asia, Black Pepper’s use in Indian cooking dates to the first century BC, and it became popular across Europe during the Roman Empire. In ancient Greece, it was so valued that it was used as currency. The active constituent called Piperine is what gives Black Pepper its pungency.