Momordica Charantia


Momordica CharantiaThe Momordica Charantia is commonly known as Bitter Gourd, Bitter melon and Karela. It is called Karavellalw and Angarvelli in Sanskrit. This herbal plant has been used in folk medicine for centuries in parts of Africa, West Indies, India and China. The fruits of the tree are used as a relish when pickled and the seeds are a commonly used condiment. The fruit of the Momordica Charantia is very bitter and its bitterness can be reduced by soaking them in salt water. The dried fruits of the plant are sliced and used in many popular dishes made in India.


This crop grows in major tropical regions of India, Africa, China and even parts of America.
This annual creeper has branched stems that are twining and slender. The leaf blades are usually 5 to 12 cms in diameter and are prominently nerved. The flowers are yellow in color and have a muricate ovary. The fruits are tuberculate, oblong and yellowish in color. They have numerous triangular spikes on the surface. The seeds of the plant are 1.3 cm long and are compressed with a sculptured facade.
The entire plant, its leaves and fruits are used in medicines across the globe.
The herbaceous plant has tendril vine that grow up to the height of 5 meters. It bears simple leaves that are 4 to 12 cm across with almost three to seven lobes.


The karela or bitter gourd has excellent medicinal qualities. It is an antipyretic tonic, appetizing, laxative and stomachic. It is used widely in medicinal science of Africa and Asia.
The plant is recommended for relieving the problem of diabetes both in the normal diet and in the form of an herbal tea. It is also known for relieving asthma, skin infections, hypertension, and gastro intestinal ailments.

This medicinal herb is used in veterinary medicine for relieving eye disorders, abdominal pain, liver problem, constipation and tetanus. It is helpful in promoting urination and digestion. In cattle, the herb is used to expel the placenta and to stop the problem of lactation post the death of a calf.


The herb contains momordicinin, cucurbitanes, terpenoids and triterpenes. It is also rich in protein, sterols, fatty acids and compounds like menthol.

The bitter gourd pods contain minerals, vitamins, phosphorus, iron, carbohydrates, pantothenic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin B 6.


The plant is known for its properties like the ones listed below:

  • Anti cancer properties: The aqueous extract of the plant is known to relieve cancer.
  • It also has hypoglycemic properties that help in normalizing blood sugar levels and is prescribed to diabetic patients.
  • Anti fertility properties.
  • Antilipolytic properties that is present in the herb because of the presence of amino acids in it.
  • Anti genotoxic properties that decreases the chromosome activity in the body.
  • Anthelmintic Activity due to the presence of piperazine.
  • Anti microbial properties present majorly in the fruit of the Karela plant.
  • Anti viral activity used for relieving patients suffering from HIV.
  • Hepatoprotective activity which is an important attribute of the herb.

The ayurvedic properties of the Karela plant are:

  • Rasa: Tikta (bitter), katu (pungent)
  • Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
  • Vasha: Pacifies pitta and kapha
  • Guna: Ruksha (dry), laghu light)
  • Veerya: Ushna (hot)


This herb is reasonably safe. It can be harmful for consumption by pregnant women because of the presence of cytotoxins.

It is important to note that the seeds of the plant contain vicine that can trigger the problem of favism in a few people. The red arils in the seed have been reported to be toxic for children especially. The normal dosage of the herb is 10 to 30 ml in the form of juice.

We at team Planet Ayurveda always request our customers to consult a certified herbalist before consuming any of the herbal medicines.


The products that contain the extracts of this herb are:

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