Share This Post!


The bitter melon, also known as karela or bitter cucumber, is a tropical fruit grown mainly in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. This unique plant has a long history in the traditional medicine of various cultures, where it is used both as a food and as a remedy.

Bitter melon: the discovery

The discovery of bitter melon goes back a long way. Historical records suggest that it was used thousands of years ago in the tropical regions of Asia. Indian Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM ) valued the fruit for its healing properties. The plant became known in the West through travelers and traders who brought the unusual fruit back from Asia.

Dosage forms and dosage

Bitter melon can be consumed in various forms:

  • Fresh: The green, knobbly fruit is often cut into thin slices and boiled or steamed.
  • Juice: Juice can be squeezed from the fresh fruit.
  • Capsules and extracts: For therapeutic purposes, the fruit is often offered in the form of capsules or liquid extracts.

The dosage may vary depending on the form and intended use. In general, it is recommended to follow the instructions of the manufacturer or a qualified healthcare professional. As a rule, about 2 to 3 teaspoons of juice or 1 to 2 capsules are recommended daily.

Bitter melon: Therapeutic use and effects

It is known to help with various diseases:

  • Diabetes: it contains an insulin-like compound that can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Infections: Its antimicrobial properties can be effective against bacterial and viral infections.
  • Digestive problems: It promotes digestion and can help with gastrointestinal complaints.

The effects on the body are manifold. Its main active ingredients, including charantin, polypeptide-P and vicin, lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin absorption. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat skin conditions and joint pain.

Recommendations for consumption

Bitter melon should be consumed primarily with meals to aid digestion and maximize the absorption of nutrients. In times of increased need, such as during colds or digestive disorders, the dosage can be adjusted after consultation with a specialist.

Bitter melon: contraindications

The use is not recommended for

  • Pregnant women: There is a risk of birth complications.
  • People with hypoglycemia: It can further lower blood sugar levels.
  • Children: The effect on children has not been sufficiently researched.

Complementary foods and medicinal plants

To support the effect of bitter melon, the following foods and medicinal plants can be taken as supplements:

  • Cinnamon: Supports blood sugar control.
  • Fenugreek: Improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Aloe vera: Promotes digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.

This can be taken as a tea, dietary supplement or in natural form.

Bitter melon: Possible side effects

Although bitter melons offer many health benefits, they can also have side effects, especially when consumed in large quantities. These include gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea and hypoglycemia. An overdose can lead to dangerous hypoglycemia.

Use in naturopathy

In naturopathy, bitter melon is often used as a holistic remedy. Its active ingredients and its ability to support natural healing processes make it a valuable component in the treatment of chronic illnesses and for promoting general health.

It is an excellent example of the power of natural healing and its ability to support the body in a variety of ways. Its many uses and potential health benefits make it a valuable addition to a balanced diet and lifestyle.

Bitter melon: nutritional and physiological aspects

Bitter melon is not only a medicinal powerhouse, but also an asset to the culinary world. In many cultures, it is an integral part of traditional dishes. It can be used fresh, dried or pickled and offers an extraordinary variety of preparation options.

Nutrients in food

The fruit is rich in important nutrients such as vitamin C, folic acid, zinc and iron. These nutrients make it a valuable addition to the daily diet, especially for strengthening the immune system and promoting blood health. It is often used in the kitchen in the form of

  • Curries: In India and other Asian countries.
  • Salads: Freshly sliced, often in Southeast Asian dishes.
  • Pickled: As a garnish or condiment, similar to pickled cucumbers.

This versatility in the kitchen makes it easy to incorporate bitter melon into the diet while benefiting from its health benefits.

Complementary foods high in similar nutrients

For those who don’t like the bitter taste of bitter melon, there are other foods that contain similar nutrients and can provide the same health benefits:

  • Broccoli: Rich in vitamin C and folate.
  • Spinach: Good source of iron and zinc.
  • Citrus fruits: Rich in vitamin C and boost the immune system.

These foods can be used together with or as an alternative to bitter melon to vary and maximize nutrient intake.

Important notes on dosage and side effects

It is important to ensure a moderate dos age to minimize the risk of side effects. Excessive consumption of bitter melon can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and other adverse effects. People taking medication to control blood sugar should consult a doctor before consuming bitter melon, as it can increase the effects of this medication.

Naturopathy and modern research

The use of bitter melon in naturopathy has led to a growing interest in scientific research. Studies are investigating its role in the treatment of diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases. Of particular interest are its active ingredients, including certain antioxidants and phytochemicals, which show promising results in preventive medicine and in the treatment of specific diseases.


Bitter melon is a fascinating plant with a rich history in traditional medicine. It offers numerous health benefits and can be consumed in a variety of ways. Although it may be unsuitable for some people due to its side effects and contraindications, it remains a valuable component of natural medicine and a useful addition to a healthy diet. Ongoing research promises further insights into its potential to support and improve human health.

Published on: 22. April 2024


Stay up to date

Subscribe to our newsletter.