Botanical Name: Momordica charantia
Family Name: Cucurbitaceae
Common Name: Goya, karela, caraille or carilley, bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, balsam apple, balsam pear, karela, k'u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria
Part used: whole plant, fruit and seed
Specific Gravity: 0.87
Refractive Index: 250C
Optical Rotation: Not applicable
Blends well with: Carrier oils
Bitter gourd is a seasonal vegetable rich in phosphorous and bitter in taste. It purifies blood, activates spleen and liver and good for diabetes. The main constituent of the bitter gourd oil is conjugated linolenic acid (Alpha-ESA) and it is also known as Eleostearic acid. It contains 60% of the conjugated linolenic acid. The oil can be used effectively for diabetes, to expel intestinal gas, to promote menstruation, as an antiviral for measles, hepatitis and fever. Topically it can be used for sores, wounds and infections and internally for worms and parasites. Bitter gourd is an antidotal, antipyretic tonic, appetizing, stomachic, antibilious and laxative.
Countries where it is found: Countries in Asia, Africa and Caribbean
The fruit is harvested before ripening because it becomes very bitter after that. It is a long fruits like a cucumber and has warty and ridged exterior. The advantages of the fruit are found in the flesh. Some people use it after allowing it to ripen. After ripening bright red pith develops on the fruit and is used in some cultures in their cuisines.
History of Plant:
In the Amazon, the local people and the tribal grow bitter gourd in their gardens for food and medicine. It has a long history of use among the indigenous tribes of Amazon. In Brazil it is used as herbal medicine and in Mexico the entire plant is sued for diabetes and dysentery. In the local Peruvian medicine the leaf and other parts of the plant sis used to treat measles, malaria and all types of inflammation. The locals in Nicaragua use the leaf for stomach pain, diabetes, fever, cold, cough, headache, malaria, skin problems, menstrual disorders, aches and pains, hypertension, infections and as an aid in childbirth.
Extraction Process: Solvent extraction and cold pressed from seeds
Commonly Known Benefits:
The fruit is mainly used as a folk medicine for diabetes because it contains a natural hypoglycaemic or insulin like principle, which is why it is called plant insulin. It lowers the blood and urine sugar levels. Juice made out of fresh leaves of bitter gourd is effective in the treatment for piles. It is good for the treatment of blood boils, scabies, itching, ring-worm, psoriasis and many other fungal diseases. The roots of the plant are good for respiratory problems and have been used from ancient times. Juice made from the leaves is good for the treatment of alcoholism and is good to treat during the early stages of cholera and other types of diarrhea. The antioxidants present in the bitter gourd destroy the free radicals which causes diseases like cancer. It is used as an anti-tumor and anti-carcinogenic agent and it boosts the antioxidants numbers in the body.