The Bitter Gourd - Momordica Charantia, Family:  Cucurbitaceae

There are two varieties of bitter gourd ( Karela). The larger kind is long, oblong and pale green in colour. The second kind is small, oval and dark green. Both are bitter in taste and turn reddish orange when they ripen. It is rich in Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2 and Vitamin C

Bitter Gourd is a much used vegetable in Indian Ayurveda form of medicine. It is revered for diabetes  (blood sugar) control, for its antioxidant properties and its detoxification effect.

Bitter Gourd is highly recommended as a supportive therapy for diabetes and pre diabetics with impaired glucose tolerance levels. 

Fresh bitter gourd juice (30 - 50 ml) taken once daily in the morning helps stabilize blood sugar levels. It has a marked hypoglycemic action and helps stimulate the release of insulin by pancreas. However it has been seen to be ineffective when the patient is already on insulin dependent treatment. Incases of  severe cases of type 2 diabetes, it can be taken along with regular medication and helps in stabilizing the blood sugar levels. However, patents using insulin can avoid this supportive treatment as it does not seem to have any effect in these cases.

It has been seen that a better response to blood sugar stabilization can be achieved if it is mixed with 30 ml of fenugreek decoction. Fenugreek can be soaked in water overnight and then the water can be added to the bitter gourd juice. This seems to have a better and longer hypoglycemic effect.

One attractive side effect of Bitter gourd juice taken daily is reduction of weight. People interested in obesity control an try ingesting 50 ml of bitter gourd juice daily for 2 - 3 months to see a marked improvement in weight loss. This also contributes to better blood sugar management.

People suffering from Stomatitis ( mouth ulcers) can also find relief with Bitter gourd juice. Take 50 ml of warm juice and gargle ( twice a day) with it. Relief should be experienced within 3 - 4 days of this application. 

A cup of bitter gourd juice mixed with 10 ml of honey taken daily in the morning helps cure and treat asthma, bronchitis and also helps in painful menstruation. try it for at least a month to find if it is effective. 

Cooked bitter gourd , taken in a meal helps in cases of gout and asthma. It also helps to disintegrate kidney stones and flush them out of the urinary tract.

Bitter gourd leaf juice (30 ml) mixed with a glassful of buttermilk taken every morning for  a month or so is very effective in the treatment of haemorrhoids ( piles). 

This above decoction also helps to treat alcoholic intoxication and helps remedy liver damage due to alcoholism.

The leaf juice is antiseptic and good for the skin. Apply this juice with a pinch of baking powder over the skin during harsh summers and it helps in countering prickly heat  and skin rash. If you can't find leaf juice, try the bitter gourd juice. This also works well.


There are many useful properties of this vegetable and its leaves. However a specific health issue will involve a specific use of the vegetable. Naturopathy cures will normally  take at least a month to show any positive effects. So perseverance is the key.


If the ingestion of the juice causes nausea or vomiting, it should be avoided. Not everyone can handle the bitter taste of the juice.

Bitter gourd juice should NEVER be taken as a substitute for diabetes medicine. It can only complement an existing line of treatment. Regular usage of the juice along with regular blood sugar tests MAY lead to reduction of oral medication, however a doctor should most assuredly be consulted and self medication is to be avoided in life threatening diseases.



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