Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ampalaya (Momordica Charantia) Uses, Health Benefits, Side Effects

What is ampalaya

Scientific Name : Momordica Charantia

Common Names: Bitter Melon Fruit

Ampalaya, Bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, sorosi, a'jayib al maasi, assorossie, balsam apple, balsam pear, chin li chih, ejinrin gule khandan, fu-kua, karela,
k'u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, lai p'u t'ao, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria

ampalaya vineAmpalaya 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.

Ampalaya Bitter Melon is a climbing vine that grows up to 5m, with tendrils up to 20cm. long. Amplaya leaves are heart-shaped, 5-10 cm across, cut into 5-7 lobes. Each Ampalaya Bitter Melon plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. Ampalaya bears fleshy green fruit, oblong shaped with pointed ends, ribbed and wrinkled, bursting when mature to release seeds. Ampalaya seeds are flat with ruminated margins.

Ampalaya, herbal medicine

Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) or it's scientific name, Momordica charantia has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many aliments.

The Philippine Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) as an alternative herbal medicine for liver problems. Research about Ampalaya has shown that Ampalaya increases the production of beta cells by the pancreas, thereby improving the body’s ability to produce insulin, that controls the blood sugar for diabetics.

Bitter melon seeds

Ampalaya leaves and fruits are excellent sources of Vitamin B, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It is also rich in beta carotene.

Ampalaya is used as herbal treatment for diabetes, HIV, coughs, skin diseases, sterility in women, parasiticide, antipyretic and as purgative among others.

Folkloric Health Benefits of Ampalaya

Health benefits of juice extract from ampalaya fruit.

    Used to treat diabetes
    Used to treat stomach problems such as colitis, dysentery and intestinal parasites
    Used to treat spleen and liver problems
    Used to treat mild cough, heal wounds, and to treat rheumatism and gout.

Health benefits from ampalaya leaves.

    Powered leaves used as astringent to treat haemorrhoids and piles
   Sap or juice of leaves used to treat skin problems such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, leprosy and scabies
    Pounded leaves used to treat for burns and scald
    Infusion of leaves used to treat fever
    Infusion used to treat various stomach problems and to improve appetite
    Poultice of leaves used to treat headache
    Infusion of leaves used as mouthwash to treat tooth ache and other mouth problems

Health benefits from ampalaya seeds, roots and flowers.

    Decoction of seeds and roots used to treat urethral discharge
    Roots are used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac preparations
    Decoction of roots used to abort pregnancy
    Infusion from bitter melon flower is used to treat asthma

How is it taken?

Green fruit of ampalaya and young leaves are cooked, taken as food and is included in diet during treatment.

Juice extract from bitter melon fruit or leaves are taken spoonful for adults and teaspoonful for children. 3 times a day until symptoms improve.

Decoction prepared by boiling 50 grams of chopped fruits, seeds, leaves and/or roots of ampalaya to a liter of water, taken as ampalaya tea three times a day until symptoms improve.


Medical uses of ampalaya - Helath Benefits

Ampalaya for Diabetes. Clinical Studies for Ampalaya Bitter Melon demonstrated hypoglycemic properties (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit against diabetes mellitus.

The hypoglycemic chemicals found in Ampalaya Bitter Melon include a mixture of steroidal saponins known as charantins, insulin-like peptides, and alkaloids. The hypoglycemic effect is more pronounced in the fruit of bitter melon where these chemicals are in greater abundance. The fruit has also shown the ability to enhance cells’ uptake of glucose, to promote insulin release, and potentiate the effect of insulin. In other in vivo studies, bitter melon fruit and/or seed has been shown to reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides in both the presence and absence of dietary cholesterol. In one study, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rats were returned to normal after 10 weeks of treatment.

Ampalaya for Hemorrhoids. Powdered leaves and root decoction of Ampalaya are applied to hemorrhoids as astringent.

Ampalaya for Stomach Problems. Ampalaya leaf juice is used to expel intestinal parasites, treat dysentery, diarrhea, and chronic colitis. Grounded seeds may also be used. Taken in a spoonfull 3x a day until ailment subsides.

Ampalaya for Cough. Ampalaya leaf juice is used for mild coughs for children. Administered in a teaspoon 3x a day.

Ampalaya for Burns, Scalds and Wounds. Pounded Ampalaya seeds or leaf are used to treat burns, scalds and wounds.

Ampalaya as Anti-Cancer, Two compounds extracted from ampalaya bitter melon, α-eleostearic acid (from ampalaya seeds) and dihydroxy-α-eleostearic acid (from the ampalayafruit) have been found to induce apoptosis of leukemia cells in vitro. Diets containing 0.01% ampalaya bitter melon oil (0.006% as α-eleostearic acid) were found to prevent azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.

Other acclaimed uses are for the treatment of HIV, treatment of fever and headaches, treatment of rheumatism and gout, disease of the spleen and liver.
Amplaya Side Effects

In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and may cause pregnancy abortion.

Ampalaya Preparation and Availability
Amplaya or Bitter Melon for Cooking. Ampalaya fruits and leaves are usually available in Asian or Chinese markets. They can be bought fresh by the kilo, per piece or by bundles. Ampalaya are cooked mixed with meat. To lessen the bitterness of the ampalay, sliced ampalaya are washed or even boiled in water with salt.
Ampalaya preparation

Powdered Ampalaya or Bitter Melon,. Powdered leaves and root decoction of Ampalaya are applied to hemorrhoids as astringent. Wash the bitter melon eaves and the with fresh water. Pound to powder. You can use carrier oils to mix with the powder for application.

Ampalaya or Bitter Melon Juice. Ampalaya Bitter melon leaves and fruit (without the seeds) are pounded and juiced to extract concentrated juice. Ampalaya bitter melon juice is then added to other plesant tasting juice for drinking

Ampalaya or Bitter Melon Capsules, Bitter melon, as its name implies, is quite bitter, which is why many often prefer to take capsules and tablets.Ready-made bitter melon extracts are available in capsules and tablets in many Asian markets, herb shops, and in the supplement department of health food stores.