Bitter Melon: A Natural Aid for Diabetes and Potential Cancer Fighter

| Modified on Apr 20, 2024
Bitter Melon slices.

During a casual chat in an Oriental grocery store, an elderly Chinese proprietor shared a health secret with a customer struggling with diabetes and medication side effects. He gestured to an unusual bumpy green vegetable resembling a cucumber and recommended, "Try bitter melon!"

Understanding Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon is known for its culinary and medicinal qualities and is predominantly grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. It can be stir-fried, incorporated into soups, or consumed as a tea. Its intense bitterness can be challenging for some palates, but it's available in tablet or extract forms for those hesitant about the taste. Besides being a nutrient powerhouse packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it's also low-calorie.

Bitter Melon's Role in Managing Type-2 Diabetes

This green vegetable houses two vital compounds, Polypeptide-P and Charantin, known to decrease blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetes patients. While Polypeptide-P functions similarly to plant insulin, Charantin aids in reducing blood glucose levels. Notable institutions like the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center suggest that regular consumption of Bitter Melon could either mitigate the risk of diabetes or make its management smoother. But a word of caution: those on diabetes medication should seek medical advice before introducing Bitter Melon to their diet due to potential excessive blood sugar reductions.

Promising Research in Cancer Prevention

Recent studies hint at Bitter Melon's potential to decelerate the growth of specific cancer cells. One significant research in Anticancer Research highlighted its ability to restrict malignant breast cancer cell growth in animal and lab settings. Additionally, a study led by Dr. Rajesh Agarwal from the University of Colorado Denver spotlighted Bitter Melon juice's ability to deprive pancreatic cancer cells of their essential nutrients, causing their demise.

Historically, Bitter Melon has been a remedy for fevers, infections, and menstrual complications. Some lab tests even indicate its capacity to target cancerous T-cells. However, clinical trials are sparse. As always, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional before utilizing Bitter Melon medicinally, especially for expectant mothers or children.

In Conclusion

Bitter Melon, or Momordica charantia, is revered in Asian traditional medicine. As its popularity spreads to the West, many embrace it as a dietary supplement and in various culinary delights. While its therapeutic dosages and applications are still under exploration, its existing testimonials are intriguing as you will read below.

We're curious – have you experienced the health advantages of Bitter Melon? Please share your insights with us about this wonder vegetable!

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Natural Treatments for Cancer

Abdominal Pain

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Paul (San Jose CA) on 05/07/2019

I am not sure that I have peptic ulcer, but I have sharp pain on the left side of stomach, right below the rib. This pain bothered me for more than 5 years now, on and off. I took Nexium when needed. Yesterday the pain was really bothered me so I decided to find out the best remedies to eliminate. Before I went to bed, I thought I could not sleep if the pain keep going on like this, so I checked out this site. There is 1 person posted about the bitter melon that might help stop the pain so I can sleep. I realized my wife prepared the bitter melon to cook early tomorrow morning, right there on the counter top, so I took approximately 20 slices and chewed 2 slices raw at a time without the seeds, chewed slowly and swallowed, and drank a little bit of water afterward. Amazingly, about 10 minutes later, the pain was totally subsided. Thanks god it works and I had a good sleep until the next day, there was no more abdominal pain.

Bitter Melon for Diabetes

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 11/18/2013

Hi Deirdre,

I read your article on Bitter Melon with particular interest. My partner is a Filipina and she regularly eats bitter melon or ampalaya (at least twice weekly) in soups and in stir fries with fish and vegetables. What's more, we grow ampalaya or bitter melon in our garden. I confess that I find ampalaya a very bitter and unenjoyable food to eat!! So my own way is simply to combine Tinospora cordifolia (known as Heart Vine or Heavenly Elixir) together with Chanca piedra for the same benefits and more. I recently harvested a large batch of Chanca piedra from my garden. I simply dried out this herb, cut it up into smaller pieces and stored it in a large sealed herb jar. Whenever I take it I either supplement this herb as a tea or decoction. This periodic regimen (together with other nutrients such as daily humic acid, alkalizing, dessicated liver, lugols iodine etc) seems to have kept me slim and trim as well as healthy.

I know the benefits of ampalaya well, since there is a blight of diabetes in the Philippines and all the the locals seem to make a good habit of eating this herb regularly in their diets. Ampalaya is useful against both diabetes and heart disease. But I would not recommend that you take it as a food -- better to make the juice and supplement it that way I think.

Bitter Melon Recipe

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Ed2010 (Canada) on 11/18/2013

Hi EC,

Bitter Melon is part of South Indian cooking, at least twice in a week. Just an info. But they are fully cooked, losing valuable nutrients and don't have any medicinal properties. The two main uses of Bitter Melon are for parasites and Diabetes. Bitter melon kills the parasites and is a dewormer too. Bitter melon rejuvenates the pancreas thereby reversing Diabetes.

How to take bitter melon for Therapeutic Treatment:

Bitter Melon Juice

Take 1 long bitter melon, cut it and remove the seeds. Blend it in a juicer and extract the juice. Take 15-30ml once daily preferrably in an empty stomach.

If you take more juice, it can cause loose bowel movement.

Take it for 2 weeks, give a break for 1 week and again take it. Don't take continuously for more than 30 days.

Summary: Bitter Melon Juice is mainly good for digestion and the Pancreas.

Good Health.

EC: Thank you so much for the feedback and recipe, Ed2010!

Replied by John
(Portland, Or)

I also found the flavor of Bitter Melon too bitter to eat. It was so healthful that I decided to put it in my sauerkraut. Now it is somewhat sour and hardly bitter at all. It still has all of the anti-oxidants and enzymes because I haven't cooked it. Now I actually like it.

John S

Replied by Geralyn_d
(Atlanta Ga)

It certainly is an acquired taste and I would love to try your kraut! I find that gently browned slices combined with caramelized onions, a few herbs with an Indian flare, make a very tasty topping for a bed of rice pasta. There is a bitter canceling effect (as is found in kale and moringa etc) any starch makes the strong flavors disappear or just more palatable. I then have played with a ginger bug ferment of bitter melon and it makes a very adult pickle for those who have broadened their taste palates. :) A pint jar of momordica finger slices in fresh water then add 1/4 - 1/2 cup ginger bug ferment and let it have at its work for a few days. All slices should be under the liquid and when it stops bubbling it should be done. Cloudiness is natural and will clear up. Taste and refrigerate. Goes with rich meats and gravies or as a bright contrast to risotto or stirfry.

Bitter Melon Side Effects

1 User Review

Posted by AZJJ (Tucson USA) on 07/28/2023

I tried some bitter melon powder, took as recommended... gave me bad heart palpitations.

Replied by Cate

Perhaps it was the 'detox effect' that caused the palpitations. Bitter melon is a powerful liver and gallbladder cleanser. It encourages bile flow and toxin removal. You could try to take a quarter of the recommended dosage with food.

(Illinois, USA)
477 posts

Generally, if it's bitter, it's medicine - not food. And in powder form, any amount of medicinal vegetation that will fill a capsule is WAY too much, leaving the body no choice but to treat it as a toxin.

Medicinal vegetation isn't like things like cayenne. Cayenne is food. A couple of capsules of cayenne may equal a half dozen peppers but cayenne peppers are food, which is a whole different classification of "herb".

A lot of the knowledge of healers is lost because it wasn't handed down by "teaching". It was handed down to those with a true interest in the subject through apprenticeship. Healers already had a vocation - and it wasn't "teaching".


Hey, Yes it could be the detox affect of what you are doing. In many cleansing or detox diet changes you can end up feeling worse for a few days/weeks before you feel better. Its just the process of the body cleansing itself. Nothing to be worried about.

Preparing Bitter Melon

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Dr. Willy Holmes-Spoelder (KayaKoy, Fethiye, Mugla - T U R K E Y) on 11/23/2013

About BITTER MELON, (momordica)


1. Thank you for bringing this magical fruit to the attention of us, your subscribers.

2. I am a resident of Turkey, a Dutch citizen and a Metaphysical & Nutritional - Wellness Researcher/Therapist.

3. Yes and Yes and Yes, Bitter Melon is a wonderful fruit. and apart from Diabetes - BLOOD SUGAR I M B A L A N C E S, one of, if not the best natural medicine to assist every *mammal* to keep a certain *daily* wellness.


NOW: I know it is terribly bitter. For me *adopting* an acquired taste is not what I want to press upon my clients. I cannot *eat* it, so.... I found some ways to use it anyway, and with good results.

I came across it here in Southern Turkey, only 3 farmers then grew this fruit, one offered it to me - very expensive pro kilo I told him, bought anyhow, and then: ??? how to go about this with 20 or so of these fruits.

So - I dried the peel (thick juicy skin) and then ground it to powder. Then, meanwhile extremely *condensed*, you only need just over 1 pinch (between thumb/finger). On yoghurt, in a stew etc. and with those excellent health-improvement results.

Note: the dried powder (the fruit has to be 100% free of *muck*, i.e. very very clean, or else...) can be kept for years!!


So, that is 1 way to do something GREAT for yourself (apart from this being very economical) and you know exactly what's in your own prepared medicine.


The next thing I want to share is: the following.....still Bitter Melon...

Bitter melon has a lot of PIPS. So instead of throwing them away, again I thought: ?? what can I do with all of them.

1. I put half of my pips in a jar and added EDIBLE alcohol (roughly: 1oz= (27gr = 1 heaped tablesp) on 100 cc. I used the cheapest VODKA (medicinal alcohol not purchasable here)

Now - 5 years later that phytotherapeutic concoction, coolly, darkly stored is still active, fresh.

2. The other half of what I had - I DRIED - outside in fresh (oxygen-rich air) and I stored. Again it must be free of *muck* or else...invisble to the eye parasites could develope, which make your treasure then worthless.

Note 1.: The pips are coated with pinkish/red jelly, very interesting AND that!! Actually tastes deliciously sweet, to my earlier amazement .

Note 2. I have just GROUND a spoon of dried pips, low in the kitchen (like being out of ground pepper) and WOW, over 5 years old, superb and so.o.o. AROMATIC that I regularly sniff, not quite believing my luck I am sure, that I have such beautiful medicine, I make myself.


I encourage everyone to try doing good things like that. It is not that much work. You can also use an ELECTR?C oven at 75-80 C. until what you set out to dry is totally dry (and store as leaves/pips, grind later)

For instance: one bunch of CRESS = about a tblsp of ground-to-powder cress and *some* of this ADDED to----and you take in an amazing amount of NUTRIENTS, that subsequently easily DIGEST synergetically with, for instance protein or carbohydrates (yoghurt, milk, egg, cerials, noodles).


It is obvious, is it not - that I just *love* doing this, whereas I once used to buy and prescribe foodsupplements (costing a lot of money to start with, not even mentioning whether or not there is any quality of the purchase vitamin).
I (still) am a certified experienced Orthomolecular Medicine/Nutrition Consultant, but I never buy it myself these days.


Dr. Willy Holmes-Spoelder

83, Gemiler-Kanal Caddes, KAYAKOY Turkey, near Fethiye-Mugla-TURKEY