This fruit was mainly used by Asian cooking culture and for its medical purposes. It has been used for treating kidney stones, colic, malaria, glaucoma, hypertension, skin infections, painful menstruation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, piles, high cholesterol and fever. Currently, it has been introduced to western culture, mainly because of its numerous medical properties. Namely, bitter melon contains alkaloids, acids, cucurbitins, charantin, cucurbitacins, glycoside, peptides, momordine, momorcharins, and proteins.
Bitter melon contains several active substances with anti-diabetic properties, such ascharantin (which has been confirmed to have a blood glucose lowering effect), cucurbutanoids, momordicin, and oleanolic acids.These substances either work individually or together to assist reducing blood sugar levels. Likewise, various clinical studies have proven that it has anti-cancer effects specifically referring to breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Recently, Saint Louis University researchers have discovered that bitter melon extract triggers a chain of events on a cellular level that stops growth of breast cancer cells, and also destroys them. The lead scientist of this new study claims, quoting: “bitter melon extract modulates numerous signal transduction pathways, which causes breast cancer cell death. This extract can be used as a dietary supplement for the prevention of breast cancer.”
On the other hand, the researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica have discovered the powerful anti-diabetic properties of bitter melon, that is, specifically treating Type 2 diabetes. Bitter melon contains specific chemical substances that activate AMPK which incites movement of the glucose transporters to the cells’ surface. Quoting: “More transporters on cells’ surfaces increase the uptake of glucose from circulation in the blood into tissues of the body, such as muscle, thus reducing blood sugar levels.”
Furthermore, the researchers in the Journal of Ethno pharmacology, stated, quoting: “Bitter melon had a modest hypoglycemic effect and substantially minimized fructosamine levels from the baseline among patients with type-2 diabetes who got 2,000 mg/day. Nevertheless, the hypoglycemic result of bitter melon was less than metformin at 1,000 mg/day.”
Even though, up to now bitter melon was not frequently used in our diet, you can introduce it as a fruit, drink, or just added to your super healthy smoothies. Also, the bitter melon extract can be found as an herbal supplement. Consume this fruit and gain all its health benefits.