Momordica charantia as a Potential Medicinal Herb: An Overview
Doli R Das, Anupam Kr Sachan, Mohd Imtiyaz, Mohd Shuaib
Momordica charantia a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, is known as bitter melon, karela, and pare. It grows in tropical areas of the Amazon, East Africa, Asia, India, South America, and the Caribbean and is used traditionally as both food and medicine. The plant is a climbing perennial with elongated fruit that resembles a warty gourd or cucumber. It is a monoecious climber found throughout the country often under cultivation, upto an altitude of 1500 m the unripe fruit is white or green in color and has a bitter taste that becomes more pronounced as the fruit ripens. Its main action is blood sugar lowering effect. It consists the following chemical constituents those are alkaloids, momordicin and charantin, charine, momorchanins M. charantia extracts increase glucose utilization by the liver,8 decrease gluconeogenesis via inhibition of two key enzymes (glucose-6-phosphatase and fructose-1,6 bisphosphatase),. M. charantia extracts (primarily from the fruit) are currently being used include diabetes, dyslipidemia, microbial infections, and potentially as a cytotoxic agent for certain types of cancer. In ayurveda, the fruit is considered as tonic, stomachic, stimulant, emetic, laxative and alterative. Bitter melon has been used in various Asian traditional medicine systems for a long time. Like most bitter-tasting foods, bitter melon stimulates digestion.