Ampalaya Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) also known as Bitter Melon is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in the Amazon, Carribean, South east Asia such as Philippines for its edible fruit.
Ampalaya or bitter melon also known as bitter gourd as the name implies has a bitter taste due to the presence of momordicin, and is believed to be among the most bitter of all vegetables.
The most common medicinal use of ampalaya leaves is as a treatment for diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. The origins of this treatment can be traced back to folk medicine traditions in the Philippines, China and India, but modern science has since proven the bitter melon’s hypoglycemic effect.
Though human research into the efficacy of ampalaya leaves for diabetes treatment is limited, it remains popular for this purpose, especially in the Philippines where the dried leaves are widely available in capsule and tablet form. Dried leaves may also be steeped in hot water and consumed as tea, and fresh leaves can be juiced and consumed at a rate of one tablespoon per day for improved glucose management.
Taken orally, ampalaya leaves are cited as natural solutions for conditions including chronic cough, diarrhea, fever, worms and parasites. Recommended preparations for these treatments vary, but include ingesting ampalaya leaves in tablet or capsule form, steeping dried leaves as tea or consuming freshly juiced leaves. The fruit and leaves may also be juiced and consumed together.
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