Bitter Melon Extract Momordica charantia Charantin Insulin-like peptides
- Where grown:
Bitter melon grows in tropical areas, including parts of East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America, where it is used as a food as well as a medicine.
- Parts used:
- Historical Usage:Being a relatively common food item, bitter melon was traditionally used for a dazzling array of conditions by people in tropical regions. Numerous infections, cancer, and diabetes are among the most common conditions it was purported to improve. The leaves and fruit have both been used occasionally to make teas and beer or to season soups in the Western world. The berries also produce wax, which can be made into candles.
- Active Ingredinets: At least there are three different groups of constituents in bitter melon have been reported to have hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit in diabetes mellitus. These include a mixture of steroidal saponins known as charantin, insulin-like peptides, and alkaloids. It is still unclear which of these is most effective, or if all three work together. Two proteins, known as alpha- and beta-momorcharin inhibit the AIDS virus, but this research has only been demonstrated in test tubes and not in humans.An as yet unidentified constituent in bitter melon inhibits the enzyme guanylate cyclase, an act that may benefit people with psoriasis.