Thursday, May 26, 2011

Benefits of Bitter Melon or Gourd or “Ampalaya”

“99 ABC’s of Wellness” Article Credit: The original article 99 ABC’s of Wellness is by Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit, which has appeared on the Philippine Star on January 12, 1999.

Principle #5: Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon or “Ampalaya”

"Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon or “Ampalaya” is a good herbal therapy for mild, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and fertility regulation." (excerpt from the original article)

Contrary to popular belief, Bitter Gourd or Ampalaya is a fruit and not a vegetable. Although, people prepare and eat it like a vegetable.

Ampalaya or Bitter Meleon
The medicinal value of Bitter Gourd is not only famous in traditional Oriental medicine but also even in African traditional medicine. Its bioactive substances can help cure dyspepsia and constipation although, there is a suspicion that it can cause ulcer but such negative effect may be limited because it also a demulcent- (an agent that forms a soothing film over a mucous membrane, relieving minor pain and inflammation of the membrane). In Africa, it used to cure gastrointestinal diseases particularly against intestinal worm.

It also has anti-malarial and anti-viral property. In Togo, people use it to help cure chicken pox, measles and herpes. Experts are looking into the possibility of using compounds present in bitter gourd to cure HIV infection in the future. Experts are exploring its potential to improve the immune cell function, its cardio-protective effect and anti-cancer property.

M. M. Lolitkar and M. R. Rajarama Rao from the University of Bombay, India have discovered In 1962 a substance in bitter melon, which contain hypoglycemic effect. They call it “charantin”.

In 2007, the Philippine Department of Health has made a clinical finding that a daily dose of 100 mg per kilogram of body weight is comparable to 2.5 mg/kg of the anti-diabetes drug “glibenclamide” taken twice per day. Tea and tablets of bitter melon extract are available in the market.

We normally dislike the bitter taste of “ampalaya” but with the above-mentioned benefits we can get from bitter melon or “ampalaya”, maybe we can start putting it in our diet.

Image and info courtesy of:


  1. i have to confess that i'm one of those who can't stand the bitter taste of ampalaya :(

  2. Hi, Carina. Hehe.. Ampalaya is also good for salad!


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