Side Effects and Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya)

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)


Contains a mixture of flavanoids and alkaloids make the Pancreas produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. Aside from bitter gourd medicinal value, it is good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium. Bitter gourd is also rich in antioxidants that protect the cells of the body from damage of free radicals (metabolic by-products, usually waste).
• Good for rheumatism and gout
• And diseases of the spleen and liver
• Aids in lowering blood sugar levels
• Helps in lowering blood pressure
• Relives headaches
• Disinfects and heals wounds & burns
• Can be used as a cough & fever remedy
• Treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhea
• Helps prevent some types of cancer
• Enhances immune system to fight infection
• For treatment of hemorrhoids
• Is an antioxidant and parasiticide
• Is antibacterial and antipyretic

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd
Side Effects and Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya)

Preparation & Use of bitter gourd :

• For coughs, fever, worms, diarrhea, diabetes, juice bitter gourd leaves and drink a spoonful daily.
• For other ailments, the fruit and leaves can both be juiced and taken orally. • For headaches wounds, burns and skin diseases, apply warmed leaves to afflicted area.
• Powdered leaves, and the root decoction, may be used as stringent and applied to treat hemorrhoids.
• Internal parasites are proven to be expelled when the bitter gourd juice, made from its leaves, is extracted. The ampalaya juice, and grounded seeds is to be taken one spoonful thrice a day, which also treats diarrhea, dysentery, and chronic colitis.

Side Effects of Bitter Gourd

– Causes uterine contractions and miscarriage (not good for pregnant women)

– Vaginal bleeding

– Vomiting and diarrhea (stomach upset)

– Causes hypoglycemia (lowering of blood sugar) if taken with insulin or anti-diabetic drugs)

– Bitter melon can cause liver damage

– Favism (which can cause anemia) in those with G6PD deficiency


Bitter melon has numerous health benefits and medicinal properties no doubt, however, its side effects and medical use for treatment of ailments is still being researched. Discuss with your health care provider before using it.


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