Bitter gourd, a native of the tropics is a bitter tasting vegetable. It is long, covered in blunt tubercles and tapering ends. The seeds of raw fruits are white and become red after ripening. The Caribbean, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka are the common countries that cultivate bitter gourd.
There are two main types of bitter gourd depending on their size.
- Large kind: Oblong, long with pale green color
- Small kind: Small, oval and dark green color.
Both these types of bitter gourd are bitter in taste, which turns reddish-orange after ripening.
Below are the amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutritious components in bitter gourd.
Vitamins and minerals
- Vitamins C- 88mg
- Small amounts of Vitamin B complex
Food value of bitter gourd
The calorific value of bitter gourd is 25.
Health benefits of bitter gourd
Bitter gourd is a native medicine in the regions of Africa and Asia. It is rich in appetizing, antipyretic, antidotal, anti-bilious, laxative and stomachic properties.
Leaf juice of bitter gourd is highly capable in treating alcoholism. It works as an antidote for intoxication of alcohol. It also repairs and enhances the functioning of liver damage from alcoholism.
Bitter gourd plays a major role in treating blood disorders like ringworm, psoriasis, scabies, itching, blood boils and other fungal diseases. Mixing a teaspoon of lime juice with a cupful of bitter gourd juice is the best way to treat these conditions. Regular use of this in endemic regions of leprosy is the best preventive medicine.
Juice of bitter gourd leaves is an efficient measure in treating and preventing cholera and various types of diarrhea. Taking two teaspoons of this juice with equal amounts of white onion juice, and adding a teaspoon of lime is an effective way of treating cholera.
Bitter gourd is an effective and natural healer of diabetes. According to a recent research by British doctors, bitter gourd plant-insulin an efficient component, this helps in lowering urine sugar and blood levels. Hence, adding bitter gourd to diet easily treats diabetes. Drinking juice of four or five bitter gourds on an empty stomach is highly effective. Eating seeds in powdered form by adding it to food or decoction of bitter gourd is also effective.
Malnutrition is a major illness that diabetic patients suffer from. Bitter gourd is rich in Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, Iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Thereupon, it prevents and treats eye complications, hypertension, neuritis, and defective metabolism of carbohydrates. It also builds up body immunity and resistance against various infections.
Juice from fresh leaves of bitter gourd functions a great deal in treating piles. Take three teaspoons of leafy juice; add it to a glassful of buttermilk. Drink this juice for one month for treating and preventing piles.
Making a paste from the roots of bitter gourd plants and applying it over piles is also effective.
Bitter gourd is an ancient remedy for treating respiratory disorders. Take a teaspoon of root paste and add it to equal amounts of tulsi leaf juice or honey. Drinking it every night for over a period of one month treats asthma, bronchitis, colds, pharyngitis and rhinitis.
Bitter gourd is the common food in the Far East and India. Steeping the fruit in salt water after peeling reduces the bitterness. In India, tender shoots and leaves are used in the form of spinach, seeds and ripe fruits are used as a condiment. Bitter gourd is also a common ingredient in curries and in pickles.