Latin name: Momordica charantia Linn. (Cucurbitaceae)
Sanskrit/Indian name: Karavella, Kathilla, Sushavi, Karela, Kareli
Bitter Gourd is often recommended in Ayurveda as a general health tonic. Recent medical studies have indicated that the vegetable possesses a ‘plant-insulin’ which helps in lowering blood sugar levels. The juice of the plant is also known to cure alcohol intoxication by cleansing and repairing the liver.
Bitter Gourd is commonly eaten in Asia. In fact, Health Canada recommends it on their website under ‘Treat Your Taste Buds’, suggesting Bitter Gourd as an unique, new, nutricious food to try! (Choosing Vegetables and Fruits, Health Canada, Feb. 2008)
The high levels of beta-carotene and other beneficial compounds in Bitter Gourd make it one of the best vegetables for eye disorders. The fruits and seeds contain a polypeptide, p-insulin, which is considered similar to bovine insulin (Fitoterapia, 60, 1989, Chemical Abstract 112, 1990).
Key therapeutic benefits:
- Bitter Gourd lowers blood sugar levels and purifies the blood.
- Since the vegetable contains natural laxative properties, it can help relieve constipation if eaten regularly.
- The vegetable can be used to treat skin diseases such as psoriasis.