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Bitter Melon Purchase & Information

Alternative Names

African Cucumber, Ampalaya, Balsam Pear, Balsam-Apple, Balsambirne, Balsamine, Balsamo, Bitter Apple, Bitter Cucumber, Bitter Gourd, Bittergurke, Carilla Fruit, Carilla Gourd, Cerasee, Chinli-Chih, Concombre Africain, Courge Amère, Cundeamor, Fructus Mormordicae Grosvenori, Karavella, Karela, Kareli, Kathilla, Kerala, Kuguazi, K'u-Kua, Lai Margose, Margose, Melón Amargo, Melon Amer, Momordica, Momordique, Paroka, Pepino Montero, Poire Balsamique, Pomme de Merveille, P'u-T'ao, Sorosi, Sushavi, Vegetable Insulin, Wild Cucumber. CAUTION: Please refer to separate listing for Ivy Gourd

Scientific Name

Momordica Charantia

Why Do People Use Bitter Melon?

Oral preparations of Momordica charantia (Bitter melon), like bitter melon powder, are used to treat psoriasis, diabetes, ulcers, gastrointestinal upset, constipation issues, colitis, urinary tract stones (kidney stones), intestinal worms, hepatic disease and for fever treatment. It is also used as a supportive therapy for patients with AIDS/HIV and to induce menstruation in females. Topically - Bitter melon is also topically used for skin wounds, abscesses and anorectal herpes lesions.

Is It Safe To Use?

Possibly Safe - Oral and appropriate (short-term) time period consumption of bitter melon powder is thought to be non-toxic. Bitter melon fruit extract seems to be safe for up to three months period. However, in order to rate the topical safety of bitter melon there is scarce and unreliable information available. Likely Unsafe in Pregnancy - Oral usage of bitter melon seems to be unsafe in pregnancy. Proteins gained from bitter melon juice and fruit can enhance the chances of menstruation and may lead to abortion, as shown in animals. Avoid In Breast Feeding - Breastfeeding females should avoid oral or topical utilization of bitter melon because there is scarce and unreliable information available about its safety.

How Effective Is Bitter Melon?

Diabetes - Clinical research recommends that bitter melon powder, fruit extract and fruit juice play part to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and lower glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.

How Bitter Melon Works?

The most effective parts of Momordica charantia are the seeds, fruit and less commonly the roots and leaves. Bitter melon seed, fruit and leaves extracts seem to have hypoglycemic activity in animal and humans models of diabetes. Initial experiments propose that bitter melon increases hepatic glycogen synthesis, lessen the hepatic gluconeogenesis, increases peripheral glucose oxidation in adipocytes and erythrocytes and increases pancreatic insulin secretion. Extract of bitter melon fruit may also protect against hyperinsulinemia. Bitter melon consists of insulin-like polypeptide called plant insulin, p-insulin or polypeptide P. P-insulin appears to have pharmacologic impact as same as bovine insulin, with an onset of action between ½ hour to 1 hour and a peak effect at about four hours. Other constituents of bitter melon that appear to have hypoglycemic activity are charantin. Experiments in animal models recommend that water extract of bitter melon fruit can slow down diabetic nephropathy and microalbuminuria progression. Constituents of bitter melon called the alpha- and beta-momorcharin are thought to have immunosuppressive impacts in animal models and in vitro. On other hand, constituents have anti-leukemia, antitumor and antiviral activity.

What Are The Side Effects /Adverse Reactions of Bitter Melon?

Generally there is no significant side effect reported due oral consumption of bitter melon powder or extract, particularly when ingested one gram thrice daily. However, its usage may lead to gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea and epigastric pain. Oral consumption of its seeds can result in headache. Two cases of seizures and hypoglycemic coma have occurred in infants after drinking bitter melon tea. In animal studies, elevated liver function tests have been reported; however the clinical significance is unknown.

How Bitter Melon Interacts With Other Herbs and Supplements?

Supplements & Herbs with Hypoglycemic Potential - Bitter melon can result in lowering blood glucose levels and may have additive effects when consumed in combination with other supplements or herbs that also lower glucose levels. This may enhance the risk of hypoglycemia in some cases. There are few supplements and herbs with hypoglycemic effects such as chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, fenugreek, devil's claw, guar gum, garlic, Panax ginseng, horse chestnut, Siberian ginseng, psyllium and others.

How Bitter Melon Interacts With Drugs?

Antidiabetes Drugs - Interaction rating between bitter melon and anti-diabetic is moderate, so be watchful while taking this combination. Bitter melon can lower blood glucose levels and therefore may have additive effects when used in combination with anti-diabetes drugs. This may enhance the potential risks of hypoglycemia in some individuals. Blood glucose level of such patients should be monitored closely. Additive effects has been reported by the combination of bitter melon powder and chlorpropamide (Diabinese). Some antidiabetes drugs include glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTabs, Micronase), glimepiride (Amaryl), metformin (Glucophage), insulin, rosiglitazone (Avandia), pioglitazone (Actos) and others as well.

How Bitter Melon Interacts With Foods?

Not known.

How Bitter Melon Interacts With Lab Tests?

Blood Glucose - Bitter melon powder, extract as well as fruit juice can reduce the blood glucose and related test results in patients with type 2 diabetes. Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1C) - Bitter melon extract can result in lowering HbA1C in type 2 diabetes patients after seven weeks of treatment.

How Bitter Melon Interacts With Diseases and Conditions?

Diabetes - Bitter melon can reduce blood glucose levels and may have additive effects when used in combination with anti-diabetes drugs. This combination may increase the risk of hypoglycemia in some cases. Therefore, it is suggested to closely monitor the blood glucose levels of such patients. Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency - Individuals suffering from G6PD deficiency are at risk of developing favism after orally using the seeds parts of bitter melon. Vicine, in the seeds, is a part fava beans. Favism is characterized by headache, hemolytic anemia, stomach pain, fever and coma. So, such patients are advised to discontinue bitter melon. Surgery - Some reports suggest that bitter melon may influence the blood glucose levels. Bitter melon may also effect the blood glucose control after and during surgical procedures. Such patients should discontinue bitter melon at least two weeks before suggested surgical procedures.

What Should Be the Dose/Administration of Bitter Melon?

There is no specific dosage of bitter melon.


Bitter melon is utilized as a vegetable in India and some other countries of Asian continent. Bitter melon is also consumed as an ingredient in different type of curries.

General Certificate of Analysis (COA)

Specification sheet links below are a standard copy of the COA less the batch or lot number and manufactures dates. Specification sheet can be dated and should only be considered as a general information. Please contact and request an up to date COA if needed for specific updated information before placing order by filling out the contact form with product name and SKU number. If ordering quantities of twenty five kilos or more contact for availability.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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