Bitter Melon (generic name)

treats Diabetes mellitus, Human immunodeficiency virus, and Cancer
Table of Contents
powered by healthline

Average Ratings

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

African cucumber, alpha-momorcharin, ampalaya, balsam-apple, Balsambirne (German), balsam pear, balsambirne, balsamo, beta-momorcharin, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, bitter gourd, bittergurke, bitter melon capsules, bitter melon extract, bitter melon juice, bitter melon malt vinegar, bitter melon seed oil, carilla gourd, cerasse, charantin, chinli-chih, cundeamor, Cucurbitaceae (family), fructus momordiaca grosvenori, GlyMordica®, goya, kakara, karavella, karela, kareli, kathilla, kerala, Koimidori bitter melon, kuguazi, K'u-kua, Lai margose, MAP30, Momordica charantia, momordique, pavakkachedi, pepino montero, P'u-t'ao, sorosi, sushavi, vegetable insulin, wild cucumber.

Background

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia L. Curcurbitaceae) has traditionally been used as a remedy for lowering blood sugar in patients with diabetes. Preliminary data exists on bitter melon use in HIV and cancer. Extracts and powdered formulations of the fruit are most frequently used, although teas made from the stems and leaves are sometimes recommended.

Bitter melon is also consumed as a foodstuff and is found as an ingredient in some south Asian curries. The raw fruit is available in specialty Asian markets where it is known as karela.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Cancer: MAP30, a protein isolated from bitter melon extract, has been reported to possess anti-cancer activity, although potential anti-cancer effects have not been studied in humans. Additional study is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Grade: C

Diabetes mellitus (hypoglycemic agent): Preliminary study has indicated that bitter melon may decrease serum glucose levels; however, reports are mixed. Because safety and efficacy have not been established, bitter melon should be avoided by diabetics except under the strict supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, with careful monitoring of blood sugars.
Grade: C

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Early studies have shown that a protein in bitter melon called MAP30 may have antiviral activity, but this has not been studied in humans. Further research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abortion, analgesia (pain relief), anorexia, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antitumor, antiviral, chemopreventive, contraception, diabetic neuropathy, disorders of the stomach and intestines (diabetic gastopathy), gastrointestinal cramps, glaucoma, hemorrhoids, herpes, high cholesterol, immunomodulation, infertility, pain, psoriasis, respiratory infections, retinopathy, rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, stomach cramps.
Page: 1 2 3 4 Next >
Licensed from
Top of page
General Drug Tools
General Drug Tools view all tools
Tools for
Healthy Living
Tools for Healthy Living view all tools
Search Tools
Search Tools view all tools
Insurance Plan Tools
Insurance Plan Tools view all tools

What is a reference number?

When you register on this site, you are assigned a reference number. This number contains your profile information and helps UnitedHealthcare identify you when you come back to the site.

If you searched for a plan on this site in a previous session, you might already have a reference number. This number will contain any information you saved about plans and prescription drugs. To use that reference number, click on the "Change or view saved information" link below.

You can retrieve information from previous visits to this site, such as saved drug lists and Plan Selector information.