Bitter MelonMomordica charantia
Widely sold in Asian groceries as food, bitter melon is also a folk remedy for diabetes, cancer, and various infections.
What Is Bitter Melon Used for Today?
Bitter melon continues to be advertised as an effective treatment for diabetes
The typical dosage of bitter melon is one small, unripe, raw melon or about 50 to 100 ml of fresh juice, divided into 2 or 3 doses over the course of the day. The only problem is that bitter melon tastes extremely bitter. Noted naturopath Michael Murray suggests that you should "simply plug your nose and take a 2-ounce shot." 7
As a widely eaten food in Asia, bitter melon is often regarded as safe. However, it does appear to present some health risks. The most significant of these comes from the fact that it may work! Combining bitter melon with standard drugs may reduce blood sugar too well, possibly leading to dangerously low blood sugar levels. 8,9
Other possible risks include impaired fertility, liver inflammation, and spontaneous abortion.
Safety in young children, nursing women, or those with severe kidney disease has not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
1. Srivastava Y, Venkatakrishna-Bhatt H, Verma Y, et al. Antidiabetic and adaptogenic properties of Momordica charantia extract: an experimental and clinical evaluation. Phytother Res . 1993;7:285-289.
5. Ahmad N, Hassan MR, Halder H, et al. Effect of Momordica charantia (Karolla) extracts on fasting and postprandial serum glucose levels in NIDDM patients. Bangladesh Med Res Counc Bull . 1999;25:11-13.
6. Jayasooriya AP, Sakono M, Yukizaki C, et al. Effects of momordica charantia powder on serum glucose levels and various lipid parameters in rats fed with cholesterol-free and cholesterol-enriched diets. J Ethnopharmacol . 2000;72:331-336.
12. Dans AM, Villarruz MV, Jimeno CA, et al. The effect of Momordica charantia capsule preparation on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes Mellitus needs further studies. J Clin Epidemiol. 2007;60:554-559.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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