Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) originated on the Indian subcontinent, and was introduced into China in the 14th century. Todau, widely grown in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Asia, Africa, South America, it is unsavory yet very nutritious and healthy. Bitter gourd primarily grows in vines. It bears its fruits during the month of September and November. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Bitter gourd received different names such as Karela (Hindi), bitter melon and bitter gourd (English), Goya (Japanese), ampalaya (Filipino), etc.
Health Benefits of Bitter gourd (Karela)
- Bitter gourd is also useful for those suffering from piles. Drinking bitter gourd juice or taking it with buttermilk every morning for a month would be beneficial in getting rid of this painful ailment.
- Bitter gourd is high in fiber and hence, prevents constipation. It can cure stomach related disorders by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices.
- It is highly beneficial for those suffering from dyspepsia. People suffering from heartburn and ulcers must cut down on its consumption.
- Bitter gourd purifies blood because of its blood-purifying properties and also said to treat boils and itching caused for similar reasons.
- Bitter gourd contains a chemical called Charantin which reduces high blood glucose levels; hence it is useful for diabetics. Bitter gourd juice can be taken in the morning on an empty stomach to keep a check on the blood sugar levels.
- Bitter gourd juice taken in the morning is beneficial to strengthen the immune system by improving our body’s fighting mechanism against infection and diseases.
- Bitter gourd works well for those who want to lose weight. Add bitter gourd to your diet as it stimulates excretion of bile juices in the liver that are very essential for fat metabolism.
- Fresh juice of bitter gourd leaves can be used to treat cholera in early stages.
- Bitter gourd has high amount of beta-carotene that helps cure eye problems and improve eyesight.
Pregnant women must be careful and should try to minimize bitter gourd intake! Bitter gourd is known to have a property that causes abortion. It has monorcharins substance that might have side effects on the gravid uterus.