Bitter Gourd - Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd
Botanical Name: Momordica charantia
Family Name : Cucurbitacease
Definitely an acquired taste, bitter gourd (Latin Momordica charantia) is also called Balsam pear or bitter melon. The bitter gourd has excellent medicinal virtues. It is antidotal, antipyretic tonic, appetizing, stomachic, antibilious and laxative. The bitter gourd is also used in native medicines of Asia and Africa.
The bitter gourd is a common vegetable cultivated extensively all over India. It is 10 to 20 cm. long, tapering at the ends and covered with blunt tubercles. The seeds are white in raw fruits and become red when they are ripe. There are two varieties of this vegetable. The large kind is long, oblong and pale green in color. The other kind is small, little oval and dark green. Both the types are bitter in taste.
Origin and Distribution
Its origin is not known but it is native to tropics. It is cultivated during hot season and is available in India, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc.
Properties of bitter gourd
Hypoglycemic (blood sugar reducer), astringent (arresting secretion), anti-haemorrhoidal (checks bleeding of piles), stomachic (appetizer and digestive), emmenagogue (inducing menstruation), galactogogue (increases milk secretion), hepatic stimulant (liver corrective), anthelmintic (removes worm) and blood purifier.
Forms of Use :- Juice, as vegetable, soup & juice mixed with honey.
Food Value of bitter gourd
Analysis of 100 gm's edible portion of bitter gourd gives the following composition:
Medicinal Uses & benefits
The bitter gourd is cooked and eaten as a vegetable in India and the Far East. The bitterness is reduced by steeping the peeled fruit in salt water before cooking. It is also used in pickles and as an ingredient of curries. The seeds of the ripe fruit are used as a condiment in India. The tender shoots and leaves are used as spinach.
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