Health Benefits Of Bitter Gourd Leaves And Fruits
Common name: Bitter melon, bitter apple, bitter gourd, bitter squash, or balsam-pears
Botanical name: Momordica charantia
Family name: Cucurbits
Local name: Ewe Ejinri (Yoruba), Okwunuolo (Igbo), Daddasu (Hausa)
It is very bitter .The part of the plant that is used for consumption and for various medicinal purposes is the fruit and leaves. While we’ve might have been condemning its bitter taste, we should not lose sight of its enormous medicinal value. Bitter gourd leaf (ewe ejirin in Yoruba) has diverse healing properties and its blood sugar lowering action has been clinically validated. Also, used as liver tonic, anti tumor, anti cancer, immune system stimulant, antioxidant, antibacterial and cholesterol reducer.
Nutritional Value Of Bitter Gourd
Bitter gourd juice contains many important nutrients ranging from iron, magnesium and vitamin to potassium and vitamin C. An excellent source of dietary fiber, it also contains twice the calcium of spinach, beta-carotene of broccoli, and the potassium of a banana. It also has good antioxidants,folate, Vitamin A, B-complex, flavonoids and zinc.
Health Benefits Of Bitter Gourd
1. Controls High Blood Sugar:
Bitter Gourd is known to control high blood sugar and moderate insulin resistance, thereby preventing diabetes. Regular consumption of this tea has even reduced abnormally high sugar levels in type II diabetics. The vegetable contains a plant insulin named polypeptide-P, which lowers blood sugar. It also contains a component named charantin that enhances glucose uptake. It’s leave used as tea and juice for this reason, is an alternative treatment for diabetes. It’s juice also acts as a blood purifier.
Nevertheless, people with hypoglycemia or low blood sugar are warned against taking this herbal supplement. Any decisions to change medical treatment should always involve your doctor. Besides, though it does control blood sugar levels, butter gourd leaves or tea is not a stand-alone treatment choice for diabetes.
2. Lowers bad cholesterol levels:
Bitter gourd juice is anti-inflammatory and also helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels in the body. Thereby, it significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also maintains the blood pressure of the body as it is rich in potassium, which absorbs excessive sodium in the body. It is rich in iron and folic acid which are known to decrease the risk of stroke and keep your heart healthy.
3. For glowing skin and lustrous hair:
Longing for that flawless skin that bitter gourd juice has powerful anti-oxidants along with vitamin A and C which prevent premature skin ageing and diminishes wrinkles. Furthermore, it reduces acne, aids in treating eczema and psoriasis, as well as protects the skin from the harmful Ultra Violet rays.
The nutrients vitamin A, vitamin C, Biotin and Zinc impart shine and luster to your locks. ?
Applying bitter gourd juice regularly to your scalp can decrease hair loss and graying of hair, treat split-ends and rough hair, shrug off dandruff, and combat itchiness.
You can apply bitter gourd juice directly to stop hair fall or mix it with some curd and massage on your scalp and hair for conditioning.
To treat dandruff, you can make a hair mask with bitter gourd juice, cumin seed paste and a tablespoon of lime juice. Leave for 30 minutes and rinse.
4. Cures hangovers and cleanses the liver:
Got too much alcohol in your system after a crazy night of partying? You can get rid of it quite swiftly by sipping some bitter gourd juice which wipes out alcoholic intoxication settled in your liver. The juice cleanses your bowel as well as heals many liver problems. Published in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition, a study concluded that a compound called Momordica Charantia provides protection against liver failure by strengthening anti-oxidant activity of the enzymes in the liver. It also boosts the functioning of your bladder.
Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. It keeps you full for longer and hence, it can easily fit in your weight loss plan. In a 2010 issue of a report published in the Journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it was disclosed that extracts of bitter gourd helped in the dislocation of human fat cells and also hindered the formation and growth of new fat cells. It was further concluded that bitter gourd can be viewed as a natural agent for treating obesity.
The herbal supplement prevents the storage of fat cells in the body. Bitter gourd leaves tea accomplishes this by breaking down triglycerides and fatty acids so that they are metabolized rather than stored. This efficiently prevents obesity, and as a bonus also reduces high blood pressure.
The tea has vitamin C, which acts a natural boost to your skin. The vitamin helps vitalize the tissues by flushing out toxins and building new cells. Since vitamin C aids in wound healing. The vitamin is also an antioxidant, flushing out free radicals that damage your body and make you age faster.
7. Fights Cancer:
Bitter Gourd is extremely beneficial to protect yourself against the known and unknown health risks. Its store of phytonutrients sweep through the body, neutralizing harmful oxidative damage to individual cells. Potential cancer-causing cells are rendered normal with these powerful antioxidants.
8. Treats Infections
Bitter gourd is lauded across the globe for its medicinal properties. Similarly, bitter gourd tea can also treat minor infections owing to its antimicrobial qualities. Heal fever, cough and infected wounds naturally with this herbal alternative.
9. Treatment of Eye problems.
The juice is also used to treat eye related problems that include sty and sore eyes. It is thought to improve eyesight and prevents the development of cataract.
10. Respiratory ailments
The juice from fruit and leaves are used to treat various respiratory problems that may include, asthma, wheezing cough, bronchitis and pharyngitis.
Bitter gourd leaf extract is a folkloric remedy for various stomach ache and problems that include indigestion, dyspepsia, parasite infestation, diarrhea and constipation.
Bitter gourd is also used to boost the immune system and as a supplement to build body resistance during sickness.
Its leaf extract combined with coconut oil is used to alleviate inflammation and pain associated to gout, arthritis, rheumatism and other body pains.
14. Cholesterol control
Bitter gourd leaves is also widely consumed to lower the cholesterol level in the blood that helps to prevent the build up of plaque along the arterial walls.
It has been used in folkloric medicine as an abortificient and as a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy..
16. How To Prepare Gourd Tea
- Draw thin slices from bitter gourd
Leave the skin intact
- You can also use leaves from the plant
- Take the slices or leaves and add to boiling water
- Boil for five to ten minutes until the slices/leaves steep
- Remove the slices/leaves and serve the broth
- You can add sweeteners to mask the bitter taste.
17. How to reduce the bitterness
A quick tip to reduce the bitterness of the drink is to add some honey or jaggery to it or pair it with sweet fruits like apple or pears. You can even add lemon juice to lessen the harsh taste of bitter melon juice. A pinch of black pepper and ginger can also decrease the tartness. The taste however, needs to be developed because contrary to its name bitter gourd is in fact sweet for your health.
Do you have any question? I you like what you’ve read please comment below.
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