Bitter gourd is commonly called as Karela and it is an extensively grown vegetable grown all over India. This vegetable is green in color and has tapering ends. It is covered with blunt tubercles. This vegetable has a very bitter taste and hence the name bitter gourd. It is available in two varieties, dark green variety and the oblong pale green variety. It is grown widely in all Asian countries.
Bitter gourd has many medicinal properties. It is mainly used as a stomachic. It is also used as appetizer, antipyretic, antibilious and also as a laxative. Bitter gourd is specifically used as an anti diabetic medicine. Research studies have shown that bitter gourd contains hypoglycemic principles in it and thus it helps to lowers the blood sugar levels just like insulin. This vegetable is popularly called as plant insulin. This vegetable should be included liberally in the diet of diabetic patients. Diabetic patients are advised to take the juice of this vegetable on empty stomach for better results. The seed of the bitter gourd is also used as a condiment in the preparation of curries in Indian cuisine. The lectins present in bitter gourd have antilipolytic and lipogenic activities. Research studies have proved that bitter gourd has been helpful in controlling blood sugar levels in patients suffering from type 2 or adult onset diabetes.
This vegetable has 92% moisture and does not contain any fat. It contains 4.2%carbohydrate and 1.8% protein. It provides many other minerals essential for maintaining good health. It provides 88mg of calcium, 20mg of phosphorus and 1.8 mg of iron. This vegetable helps all the diabetics who suffer from malnutrition. It also helps to alleviate other symptoms related to diabetes and helps to increase the immunity of the body. It is also useful in the treatment of complications of the eye. The juice of bitter gourd also helps in the treatment of piles. The paste of the roots of this plant when applied externally to the piles gives relief of pain and inflammation.
Bitter gourd juices also help in purifying the blood. It helps in the treatment of scabies, psoriasis, ringworm infection, and other fungal infections. It also helps to alleviate itching sensations. The juice when taken along with lime juice on empty stomach early in the morning gives beneficial remedies from blood disorders.
Bitter gourd plant also helps in the treatment of respiratory diseases. It is used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, pharyngitis and rhinitis. The root of the plant is used as a paste along with equal amount of honey and taken once before bedtime. This treatment for a month can give excellent remedies against respiratory disorders. The juice of the bitter gourd leaves also helps to prevent damage of the liver due to alcoholism. The juice of the bitter gourd leaves is also used in the treatment of cholera. It is also used to give quick remedy from diarrhoea during in summer seasons. The ripe fruit of Bitter gourd has been suggested to be useful in the treatment of cancer.