Bitter melon (Karela) is a valuable herb gifted to us by Mother Nature. It is one of the healthiest vegetables known to man. Apart from being eaten mainly as vegetable, it is particularly reputed as a folk medicine due to its therapeutic properties. Although the bitter taste can turn you away, but it can really improve your health. The Indians and Chinese have used the karela for centuries as a vegetable and also as a medicine. Its medicinal uses find place especially in the authentic Ayurvedic system of traditional Indian medicine.
Karela is used in Ayurveda for as digestive, carminative, antihelminthic, anti-inflammatory and as blood purifier. It is known for controlling obesity, lipids and blood sugar. Through recent researches it is proved that Bitter melon helps in controlling Diabetes, Psoriasis. The blood lowering action of the fresh juice of the unripe bitter melon has been confirmed in scientific studies in animals and humans. Charantin is more powerful than the drug tolbutamide, which is sometimes used in the treatment of diabetes to lower the blood sugar levels. The ripe fruit of bitter melon has been shown to exhibit some remarkable anticancer effects, especially leukemia. Karela has excellent properties of blood purification, detoxification, improving immunity and thus protects heart, brain, liver, kidney and other vital organs of body. Apart from having a host of medicinal properties the karela fruit is also rich in nutrients. Nutritionists opine that it is rich in iron.
English Name : BITTER MELON, BITTER GOURD, BALSAM PEAR, BALSAM APPLE, MELEGA SAGA, KARELA . In some English texts the plant or the fruit may be called by its local names, which include kǔguā (苦瓜 “bitter gourd”, in Chinese), pare or pare ayam (in Javanese and Indonesian), Pavayka or Kayppayka in Malayalam, goya (ゴーヤー) or nigauri (in Japanese, the former from an Okinawan language), paakharkaai ( in Tamil), karela/karella (in other languages of India and Nepal), ampalayá (in Tagalog), muop dang (mướp đắng) or kho qua (khổ qua, in Vietnamese), caraille/carilley (in Trinidad and Tobago), and cerasee/cerasse (in the Caribbean and South America).
The karela fruit has been known to have a curative effect on anemia, hypertension constipation and viral infection. It also acts as a purgative, aphrodisiac, appetite stimulant and as immune system booster. The fruit is especially good for promoting good liver functioning. It also contains anti tumor agents and helps inhibit HIV-1 infection. The fruit has also been known to produce a beneficial effect in case of scabies, infections, halitosis, cough and common cold.
Researches conducted over a period of time confirm the anti diabetic property of the karela. This has been proven to be even more effective than the conventional drugs prescribed for lowering blood sugar. This accounts for its increased usage as a food supplement in the form of tea and capsules for lowering elevated blood sugar levels.
Benefits of Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd
Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd is extremely beneficial in treating Diabetes mellitus.
Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd helps in lowering blood sugar levels and also helps in suppressing sugar out flow in urine.
Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd help to attain supportive sugar regulating outcome by suppressing the neural retort to sweet taste stimuli.
Karela has exposed significant antilipolytic and lipogenic movement.
Bitter gourd is an outstanding blood purifier and helps in maintaining good and clear skin
Bitter Melon treats worm infestations and also helps in evading parasitic attack
Bitter gourd excite pancreas, spleen and liver and helps in admirable absorption of food in the GI tract
Karela is helpful as an emetic, purgative, as an anthelmentic, in piles, and jaundice
Karela or bitter gourd is extensively grown plant in Indian subcontinent. It is a climber and it generally twins around the various adjoining support. The plant part used is fruit for the medical purpose. Bitter gourd is also commercially cultivated in India sub continent.
In the age old medicinal science, Ayurveda, the fruit of bitter melon is considered as emetic, purgative, anti-bilous, tonic, stomachic, stimulant and alternative. It has been established to be tremendously brilliant in treating Diabetes mellitus.
The fruit of karela is extremely supportive in conditions like gout, rheumatoid arthritis and sub-acute cases of the spleen and liver related diseases. It is thought to clean the blood and also dispel melancholia and gross humors. It has as well been exposed to have hypoglycemic actions i.e. helps in regulating glucose in the body whiach has been proved in studies carried out in animals and humans.
Place of Karela/ bitter gourd in Ayurveda:
As per the age old science Ayurveda, bitter melon helps in subduing the effect of pitta as well as kapha humor or dosha. Owing to its actions it helps to calm the body and also cooling and thereby is helpful in treating the skin related disorders. Due to its properties it is also helpful in healing of wounds early. As it has a katu or pungent and tickta or bitter, it is extremely beneficial in promoting digestion and normalizing the bowel movement. Due to its tickta rasa it is also helpful in evading parasitic infiltration in the body. It as well helps in limiting infection in the body and in regularizing the urinary tract. It has astonishing properties in maintaining the blood sugar levels to the normal limits.
Diabetes: The bitter gourd is particularly used as a remedy for diabetes because of its hypoglycemic action. It contains insulin-like peptides, alkaloids and charantin, all of which act together to lower blood and urine sugar levels without increasing blood insulin levels. These compounds activate a protein called AMPK, which is well known for regulating fuel metabolism and enabling glucose uptake, processes which are impaired in diabetics. You can take the juice of 4-5 bitter gourds every morning on an empty stomach, add seeds in powdered form to food or prepare a decoction by boiling the pieces of this fruit in water. If you are taking medications to lower your blood sugar, adding bitter gourd might make your blood sugar drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.
Blood Purification: It has blood-purifying properties. As a result, the juice is used in the treatment of blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to blood poisoning. Have it little by little on an empty stomach daily, in 4-6 months you will see enhancement in your state.
Piles: Fresh juice of bitter gourd is good for patients suffering from piles. Take a mixture of bitter melon juice and buttermilk every morning for about a month and you will see an improvement. A paste of the roots of bitter gourd plant can also be applied over piles to get a favorable result.
Good for stomach: It contains cellulose which is a very good source of fiber thus preventing constipation. It also good digestive agent and helps in stimulating the secretion of gastric juices. This can be very helpful for people with dyspepsia. However, sometimes it may worsen heartburn and ulcers.
Aids weight loss: It stimulates liver for secretion of bile juices that are very essential for metabolism of fats. Thus, if you want to have a perfect, slim figure, then bitter gourd can help you.
Eye care: It has high amount of beta-carotene that helps alleviate eye problems and improving eyesight.
Immune booster: A glass of bitter gourd juice in the morning can help to strengthen your immune system and increase your body’s fighting power against infection. Researchers hypothesize that bitter melon is as an immunomodulator. One clinical trial found limited evidence that bitter melon might improve immune cell function in people with cancer.
Skin care: Bitter gourd is also effective in treating skin diseases or skin infections, eczema and psoriasis. It also helps in keeping the skin free from blemishes and keeps the skin glowing. The blood purifying properties make sure that you don’t get acne.
HIV: Laboratory tests suggest that compounds in bitter melon might be effective for treating HIV infection. In one preliminary clinical trial, an enema form of a bitter melon extract showed some benefits in people infected with HIV. However, more research is necessary before this could be recommended.
Bitter Melon is highly beneficial in reducing blood related disorders like blood boils, scabies, itching, psoriasis, ring-worm and other fungal diseases. A cupful of fresh juice of bitter gourd mixed with a teaspoonful of lime juice should be taken, sip by sip, on empty stomach daily for four to six months in these conditions. Its regular use in endemic regions of leprosy acts as a preventive medicine. 2 Capsules Twice a day can be taken.
Bitter Melon plant roots are used in folk medicine for respiratory disorders from ancient times. A teaspoonful of the root paste mixed with equal amount of honey or Tulsi leaf juice, given once every night for a month acts as an excellent medicine for asthma, bronchitis, Pharyngitis, colds and Rhinitis. Alcoholism
Leaf juice has been known since ancient times for fighting the problem of alcoholism. It is an antidote for alcohol intoxication. It is also useful in liver damage due to alcoholism. It is an antidote for alcohol intoxication, and helps purify, restore and nourish liver. Its juice is also beneficial in the treatment of a bad hangover.
Fresh juice of leaves of Bitter Melon is also a helpful medicine in early stages of cholera and other types of diarrhoea during summer. Two teaspoonfuls of this juice mixed with equal quantity of white onion juice and a teaspoonful of lime juice should be given in these conditions.
Today, in the United States, this vegetable, and its leaves and vines, are being used as an alternative therapy in the form of an antiviral to combat some of the symptoms of HIV and to allegedly stop the replication of the virus. Many HIV+ individuals have reported success with their lab tests and heightened general well being as a result of using this alternative home remedy.
In fact, its extracts are already sold as pills as well and it is being marketed as a blood sugar level reducing medicine. But rather than going for an indirect method of intake why not try to eat some amount of Karela in the form of vegetable/soup/curry in your diets, to get all the benefits.
Although there are several health benefits of including bitter gourd in your diet, it is not recommended to take it in excess amounts as it can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhea. Also, pregnant women are also advised against having bitter gourd.