Thursday, December 4, 2008

Momordica charantia (bitter melon). Monograph.


Momordica charantia (MC), a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, is known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, balsam pear, karela, and pare. It grows in tropical areas of the Amazon, East Africa, Asia, India, South America, and the Caribbean and is used traditionally as both food andmedicine. The plant is a climbing perennial with elongated fruit that resembles a warty gourd or cucumber. The unripefruit is white or green in color and has a bitter taste that becomes more pronounced as the fruit ripens. seeds, fruit,leaves, and root of the plant have been used in traditional medicine for microbial infections, sluggish digestion and intestinalgas, menstrual stimulation, wound healing, inflammation, fever reduction, hypertension, and as a laxative andemetic. Clinical conditions for which M. charantia extracts (primarily from the fruit) are currently being used includediabetes, dyslipidemia, microbial infections, and potentially as a cytotoxic agent for certain types of cancer.


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