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Benefits of Bitter Gourd – Where to Get Healthy Products of This Natural Medicine

The author is a villager, M.Phil. in Botany, MBA Marketing, a certificate in IPR and farming in South India. Natural farming is his passion.

Bitterness Deters

A bitter taste deters most consumers, especially children. The taste is one of nature's warning signs that food is poisonous or spoiled. At the same time, a hint of bitterness can add interest to otherwise bland dishes, and some bitter foods have surprisingly valuable medicinal qualities.

When it comes to medicines, bitterness is considered part of medicines in general. However, in modern medicines, various flavours and tasty substances are added to make the medicine palatable. As per age-old tradition, grandma says, “do not taste the medicine, just have it, to improve your health”. Bitter melon or the bitter gourd fall into this category of medicine. So, just have it, to be healthy, and of course consult your doctor first.

Bitter Melon, Bitter Gourd or Momordica

Bitter Melon, Bitter Gourd or Momordica

Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon

Momordica or the bitter gourd is such a wonderful plant with health benefits. The plant is a cucurbitaceous creeper with invaginated circular complex leaf, tendrils on nodes and bearing unisexual flowers are unique ones. Indian Momordica, Momordica charantia is grown as a vegetable. It is sold in markets, just like any other cucurbitaceous vegetables.

Organically Grown Bitter Melon

Vegetables are grown nowadays by spraying with pesticides like malathion, lambda-cyhalothrin, imidacloprid, chlorpyrifos, dimethoate, etc. which are not at all safe for consumption within two weeks of spraying. Pesticide pollution makes vegetables unhealthy for consumption. Search for organically grown bitter melon in the market. There may be organic growers associations in the cities or regions. Visiting the places where they sell their products will be the best suitable buying place of healthy vegetables.

Bitter melon in the farm

Bitter melon in the farm

Biochemical Principles

Bitter gourd has important phytochemical principles known as momordicin I and momordicin II as well as cucurbitacin B. Because of momordicin II, it is a well known anti-diabetic plant-based product well admired for generations. Its hypoglycemic action is attributed to a few things such as insulin production promotion, reduction of intestinal absorption of sugars. A high amount of minute phytochemicals ranging above 220 numbers have been studied worldwide and appreciated.

A lot of products of Momordica, such as dried fruit slices, fruit powders, fruit juice extracts are nowadays popular among patients suffering from Diabetes mellitus.

Momordicin I

It is a biochemical principle extracted from bitter melon leaves.

Momordicin II

Momordicin II and Momordicin IV are extracted from the bitter gourd and bitter gourd leaves by solvent extraction using methanol.

Cucurbitacin B

Cucurbitacin is the biochemical principle from bitter gourd and cucurbitaceous creepers, extracted by the solvent extraction process. These are anti-cancer principles in these plants. Extracted cucurbitacin in high doses is poisonous and very bitter in taste.

Charatin

Charantin is another potential anti-diabetic principle, which is acting in the intestine, which reduces glycemic levels in the human blood. Charatin tablets for control of hyperglycemia are now available in the medicine shops.

Ripe fruits are sweet and are used as condiments.

Tender leaves and fruits contain a good amount of carotin, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. It also has a good amount of calcium mineral in it.

The fruits are very good tonic. These also are useful in curing stomach ache and joint pain due to rheumatism. The fruits are also good for curing liver and spleen disorders. Roots of the plant are used for curing bleeding due to haemorrhoids.

Bitterness and medical principles when come together, naturally as a vegetable, it is a very useful idea to cook it once in a while for maintaining good health.

Vegetable for Spicy Recipes

Cooking Momordica with a good amount of salt, pepper, tamarind and jaggery or buttermilk makes it tasty.

Different types of fries, dishes and combo preparations are made from the bitter gourd in India.

You can buy bitter gourd powder or bitter melon powder in dry form from the market. This can be used with salt and lemon for recipes.

Bitter Melon Soup

The easiest preparation from the bitter melon dry powder is to prepare the soup. Prepare some tamarind, salt and pepper solution. By adding a teaspoonful of bitter melon powder, it can be prepared in a few minutes. Sprinkle some pepper powder and then serve hot.

Those who do not have any diabetes problem can also enjoy bitter melon soup by adding a tablespoon of jaggery powder to the soup while boiling. Try this healthy soup and share your opinion with others.

Bitter Melon Fried Recipe

The bitter melon fried recipe is the one good preparation among a dozen of good bitter melon recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 number bitter melon, seeds removed
  • 2 cups coconut, gratings
  • 2 teaspoons gingelly
  • 10 numbers red chilly, dried
  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • 50 grams jaggery, powder
  • 25 grams tamarind
  • 15 grams salt

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

20 min

30 min

Serves four people for six days

Method of preparation

  1. Chop the bitter melon and remove the seeds, make the choppings very fine and small.
  2. Then it may be fried with ghee on a pan on low heat. Remove and keep it aside.
  3. Then separately take the gingelly in a pan and fry it with ghee.
  4. Then separately take the coconut gratings and fry it and keep it aside.
  5. Now, separately fry the red chillies with ghee and keep it aside.
  6. There should not be any moisture content in any of the pans.
  7. Now, put the tamarind, jaggery powder and salt as well as all these fried items in a mixer grinder jar and grind it.
  8. Approximately one-minute grinding will give you a paste-like chutney.
  9. This can be filled in a jar can be used for more than a week.

This is your medicinal chutney which can be a good dish for rice or roti. This is good for cleaning the system and becoming healthy.

Cultivation of Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is also easy for cultivation in the home yard or on a terrace garden. The tropical humid climate is suitable for cultivation of bitter melon. Wherever you grow only thing which has to be arranged is a support for the creeper to climb up and get plenty of sunlight.

Organic farming will be good for bitter gourd. The seeds sometimes show dormancy conditions and seeds will not germinate. Apart from that, once germinated, the creeper grows profusely.

Pollination to produce more yield

Since the flowers are unisexual there must be some adaptation for cross-pollination. If there are insects which they will do it, otherwise, we have to do artificial pollination manually.

Organic pest management

Fruit fly problem is prevalent in cucurbitaceous crops. Either trapping the insects or spraying green pesticides regularly will keep the pests away to grow the crops successfully.

Bitter melon hanging on a support

Bitter melon hanging on a support

Words of caution

This is, of course, a miraculous natural medicine for many ailments. But it has to be consumed only in limited quantities and in the manner in which it is suitable for consumption. Those who are having an allergy to cucurbitaceous plant products may avoid this also. The bitter compound in extremely high doses will result in unwanted effects such as vomiting and uneasiness. In patients who are having other ailments such as renal failure or under medication for other surgery, old age ailment or related cases, this may be avoided. It is always the best to consult a dietician before consuming anything unusual.

Final Words

By cultivating it holistically, adopting growing bitter gourd or bitter melon in the kitchen garden, through natural farming methods is having multiple benefits. Healthy air to breath, healthy harvest to cook and healthy time to spend with are the aspects which make you feel simply great. So let us try our hand on bitter melon natural farming and enjoy the crop for a better life.

Read More

Massimo Bortolotti, Daniele Mercatelli and Letizia Polito. 2019. Momordica charantia, a Nutraceutical Approach for Inflammatory Related Diseases. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 10: 486.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Halemane Muralikrishna

Comments

Cijini Manoj from Kerala on March 14, 2020:

Ya that's true....

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on March 14, 2020:

Thank you Ms Cijini, for your reading. Nowadays it has become important to know the crop management pattern and crop origin and safety issues due to pesticides and chemicals, Otherwise, we can get many things easily in the market, but there are health issues than benefits.

Cijini Manoj from Kerala on March 14, 2020:

Great sir...I too like to write on superfoods....

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on January 13, 2020:

We do not give enough importance to healthy fruits and vegetables in our diet, which keep us feeling great always. Hope you will explore now better food by their quality in terms of healthiness at the same time cooked well to eat. Thank you Mr Jnanesh first for reading my article and then for liking and commenting on it.

Jnanesh Sharma H from South India on January 13, 2020:

A fantabulous and a very long formatted much very much attractive article on the bitter gourd I used to yech in the name of bitter gourd thinking what it might have except its bitter taste I even didn't know it was a natural medicine too, not any longer, as I know its health benefits of bitter gourd.

Sumit Chakrabarti from Kolkata on January 08, 2020:

Hi Murali sir, excellent in-depth article about bitter gourd! It is a favorite in our family's food menu. I despised it during my childhood days for its bitter taste but started eating it after the doctor's advice. Good to know about various recipes and the method of preparation to cook bitter gourd. I personally like it half-fried as it tastes the best that way. A very interesting and useful article for health-conscious people. Thanks for sharing.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on January 04, 2020:

Wonderful gesture Mr Nikhil, hope that such gestures will help to understand the benefits of many natural raw materials to be consumed for a healthy life. Thank you for spending time to read through various aspects of the article.

Niks from India on January 04, 2020:

A very helpful article. I know that bitter gourd has health benefits. But by reading this article I have gained completely new information about it. Bitter gourd just tastes bitter but after reading this hub, whenever it is served to you it doesn't have to make your mood bitter anymore.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on January 03, 2020:

Thank you, Mr Abhay Singh, we many times get unhealthy due to the food and drinks. In such situations, having these natural health options keep us resistant and tolerant physically. Thank you.

Abhay singh from mumbai on January 03, 2020:

I always deny to eat bitter gourd without tasting it. But the way you have explained several benefits will sure add it in my food diet. Your method of preparation and benefits regarding health in the article is very helpful for every individual. Thanks for this amazing article sir.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on January 03, 2020:

You are right Ms Suchismitha, your comment is an eyeopener and may be true in real terms. During new year, the neem and jaggery are served. They say forget the bitterness of the past and distribute the sweetness for tomorrow.

Suchismita Pradhan from India on January 03, 2020:

If you want to remove bitterness from your life then consume bittergourd

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on January 03, 2020:

Thank you Ms Prantika for your interest to try the bitter gourd recipe. In turn, I will try the one mentioned by you, which looks interesting. However, so far I did not dare to eat boiled bitter gourd as such, but if ripe one, I can think of.

Girija Chandran on January 02, 2020:

Murali Sir, it's a very informative article. Bitter guard is one of my favourite recipe. "kaippakka mezhukkupiratti" is there means I don't want nothing else as curry with rise!! My Amma is also like this vegetable very much. She use to make yummy "pachadi" of bitter guard. Was not much aware about this medicinal value. Thank you so much for the useful information. Keep on writing, congrats.

Prantika Samanta from Kolkata, India on January 02, 2020:

Bitter gourd is one of my favorite vegetables and I love to eat it boiled without adding any spices not even salt. Bitter gourd offers several health benefits and must be included in our diet. A preparation called "Shukto" is a popular healthy starter of Bengali cuisine wherein bitter gourd is prepared along with other vegetables and it's a gravy dish. Other popular dishes of bitter gourd are fried, stuffed, fried with potato, boiled and mixed with mashed potatoes, and many more. The article is of great help and will try your recipe.

Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on January 02, 2020:

Yes Krishna sir, this is something I like jaggary and tamarind. Maybe they will lower the bitterness of bitter gourd. Now definitely will ask mom to cook this as you told and will taste it, then see how much difference it makes from earlier taste, will try this today only per your recommendation.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on January 02, 2020:

If you don't like bitter taste, being young, you can tell your mom to put a bigger piece of jaggery and more tamarind while cooking. That way you can make anything tasty and enjoy, Mr Prateek. Thank you Ms Natasha.

Natasha Tungare from India on January 02, 2020:

When it comes to eating, I hate bittergourd

Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on January 02, 2020:

Murli sir I want to tell you that my mom loves to eat bitter gourd, this is one of her favourite recipe and she explains me about the advantages it have. This article remind me of her saying. I must also tell all the things mentioned in this article to my mom. She will love to know the information shared by you regarding bitter gourd and bitter melon. Thanks for sharing.