Tropilab Inc.




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  • Antibiotic

  • Antitumor activity (constituents lutein and lycopene)

  • Antiviral

  • Aphrodisiac

  • Decreases cGMP: cAMP ratio

  • Increases tissue uptake of glucose (due to charantin)

  • Immunosuppressive (modulating activity of T and B lymphocytes and suppressing macrophage activity)

  • Inhibits corticotropin - induced lipolysis

  • Insulinomimetic

  • Hypotensive

  • Laxative

  • Lowers blood glucose

  • Stimulates lipogenesis

  • Stomachic

  • Vermifuge


    The fruits and leaves of this plant contain two alkoloids, one of them being momordicine. The plant is reported to contain a glucoside, a saponin-like substance, a resin with an unpleasant taste, an aromatic volatile oil and a mucilage.
    The seeds contain an alkaloid (m.p. 236°) and an anthelmintic principle in the germ; they also contain urease (Quisumbing, 945-46; Rivera, Amer, J.Pharm, 1941, 113, 281,; Rehm et al., J.Sci. Fd Agric., 1957, 8, 679; Rehm & Wessels, ibid., 1957, 8, 687; Airan & Ghatge. Curr. Sci., 1950, 19, 19; Chem. Abstr., 1930, 24, 684; Nath & Ullah, Ann. Biochem., 1956, 16, 89).

    The fruit contains ascorbigen, a bound form of ascorbic acid released by heating with water in an atmosphere of carbon dioxide or nitrogen.
    Large sized fruits, borne by certain types of Momordica charantia, are richer in ascorbigen than small fruits borne by other cultivated types (Bose & Guha, Sci & Cult., 1959-60, 25, 387).

    The free amino acids present in the fruit are: aspartic acid, serine, glutamic acid, threonine, alanine, g-amino butyric acid and pipecolic acid.
    The green fruit contains luteolin.
    Carotene is the principal pigment of carpels, while lycopene characterizes the red aril (Rao et al., J.Sci. Industr. Res., 1956, 15C, 39; Ganju & Puri, Indian J. Med. Res., 1959, 47, 563; Palmer, 76).

    The fruits and seeds of Momordica charantia yielded a polypeptide (mp 240°), viz. p-Insulin, which was considered to be similar to bovine insulin.
    (Handa, et al, Fitoterapia, 1989, 60, 208; Chem abstr, 1992, 117, 84115).


    Vicine, charantin and polypeptide - P in both animals and humans increase glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in the liver, muscle and adipose tissue and improve glucose tolerance.
    Studies with hepatic enzymes in mice revealed reduction in glucose - 6 - phosphatase and frucose - 1,
    6 - bisphosphatase activity and increased glucose oxidation by G6PDH pathway.
    Bitter melon displays cytotoxic activity against leukemic cells in vitro (guanylate cyclase inhibitor).
    The MAP30 extract has a cytostatic effect on MDA - MB - 231 human breast cancer cells xenografted into mice.
    MAP30 also demonstrates dose - dependent inhibition of HIV - 1 integrase leading to poor viral DNA integration, thus inhibiting T lymphocyte and monocytes.


    Oral administration of fresh fruit juice (dose, 6 c.c./kg body wt.) lowered the blood sugar level in normal and alloxan-diabetic rabbits.
    Oral administration of alcoholic extracts of the plant to some diabetic patients did not produce any hypoglycaemic action (Kirt. & Basu, LL,1131; Nadkarni, L, 806; Chem Abstr, 1945, 39, 2623; Sharma et al., Indian J. Med. Res., 1960, 48, 471; U.S.D., 1955, 1758; Rivera, Amer. J. Pharm., 1942, 114, 72).
    P-insulin, a polypeptide from the fruits and seeds rapidly decreased and normalized the blood sugar level in rats.
    (Handa, et al, Fitoterapia, 1989, 60, 208; Chem abstr, 1992, 117, 84115).
    Antihyperglycemic effects of three extracts from Momordica charantia. (Virdi J., Sivakami S., Shahani S., Suthar AC., Banavalikar MM., Biyani MK.)
    Effect of Momordica charantia extracts on fasting and postprandial serum glucose levels in NIDDM patients.
    Ahmad N, Hassan MR, Halder H, Bennoor KS, Dept. of Pathology, Sher - e Bangla Medical College, Barisal.
    HER2 expression by anti tumoragents GAP31 and MAP30 Lee - Huang S, Huang PL, Sun Y, Chen HC, Kung HF, Huang PL, Murphy WJ Dept. of BioChemestry, New York, University School of Medicine, 10016 DSA.
    Effect of Momordica charantia on the glucose tolerance in maturity onset diabetes. Weliihinda J, Karunanayake e. h, Sheriff M. H, Jayasinghe K. S.

    Some of more recent studies are listed below:
    Aoki H, kieu NT, Kuze N, et al. Carotenoid pigments in GAC fruit (Momordica cochinchinensis SPRENG). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2002 Nov, 66 (11): 2479 - 2482.
    Arazi T, Lee Huang P, Huang PL, et al. Production of antiviral and antitumor proteins MAP30 and GAP31 in cucurbits using the plant virus vector ZYMV - AG11. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2002 Mar 29, 292 (2): 441 - 448.
    Basch E, Gabardi S, Ulbricht C, Bitter melon (Momordica charantia): a review of efficacy and safety. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2003 Feb 15, 60 (4): 356 - 359. Review.
    Choi J, Lee KT, Jung H, et al. Anti - rheumatoid arthritis effect of the Kochia scoparia fruits and activity comparison of momordin lc, its prosapogenin and sapogenin. Arch Pharm Res 2002 June 25 (3): 336 - 342.
    Grover JK, Rathi SS, Vats V, Amelioration of experimental diabetic neuropathy and gastropathy in rats following oral administration of plant (Eugenia jambolana, Mucuna pruriens and Tinospora cordifolia) extracts. Indian J Exp Biol 2002 Mar, 40 (3): 273 - 276.
    Kameswararao B, Kesavulu MM, Apparao C, Evalution of antidiabetic effect of Momordica cymbalaria fruit in alloxan - diabetic rats. Fitoterapia 2003 Feb, 74 (1 -2): 7 - 13.
    Kohler I, Jenett - Siems K, Siems K, et al. In vitro antip[lasmodial investigation of medicinal plants from El Salvador. Z Naturforsch [C] 2002 Mar - Apr, 57 (3 - 4): 277 - 281.
    Kohno H, Suzuki R, Noguchi R, et al. Dietary conjugated linolenic acid inhibits azoxymethane - induced colonic aberrant crypt foci in rats. Jpn J Cancer Res 2002 Feb, 93 (2): 133 - 142.
    Lee - Huang S, Huang PL, Chen HC, et al. Anti - HIV and anti - tumor activities of recombinant MAP30 from Bitter melon. Gene 1995; 161 (2): 151 - 156.
    Nagasawa H, Watanabe K, Inatomi H. Effects of Bitter melon (Momordica charantia l.) or ginger rhizome (Zingiber offizinale rosc) on spontaneous mammary tumorigenesis in SHN mice. Am J Chin Med 2002;
    30 (2 - 3): 195 - 205.
    Parvathi S, Kumar VJ. Studies on chemical composition and ultization of the wild edible vegetable athalakhai (Momordica tuberosa). Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2002; Fall, 57 (3 - 4): 215 - 222.
    Pongnikorn S, Fongmoon D, Kasinrerk W, Limtrakul PN. Effect of Bitter melon (Momordica charantia Linn) on level and function of natural killer cells in cervical cancer patients with radiotherapy. J Med Assoc Thai 2003 Jan, 86 (1): 61 - 68.
    Raman A, Lau C. Anti - diabetic properties and phytochemistry of Momordica charantia L. (cucubitaceae). Phytomed 1996; 2 (4): 349 - 362.
    Sarkar S, Pravana M, Marita R. Demonstration of the hypoglycemic action of Momordica charantia in a validated animal model of diabetes. Pharmacol Res 1996; 33 (1): 1 - 4.


    P-Insulin was tested in a controlled clinical trial.
    In juvenile diabetics, the peak hypoglycemic effect was observed after 1-8 hours; in patients with maturity onset diabetes, maximum fall in blood sugar level was noted after 12 hours (Handa, et al, Fitoterapia, 1989, 60, 208; Chem Abstr, 1992, 117, 84115).
    Effect of Bittermelon (Momordica charantia Linn) on level and function of natural killer cells in cervical cancer patients with radiotherapy. (Pongnikorn S., Fongmoon D., Kasinrerk W., Limtrakul PN.)
    Momordica charantia (Bittermelon) reduces adiposity, lowers serum insulin and normalizes glucose tolerance in rats fed a high fat diet. (Chen Q., Chan LL., Li ET.)


    The juice appears to be also abortifacient. However, the possibility of separating a non-toxic hypoglycemic factor can not be ruled out.
    Extract of Momordica charantia does not show any signs of nephrotoxity and hepatotoxity. (Virdi J., Sivakami S., Shahani S., Suthar AC., Banavalikar MM., Biyani MK.)


    The fruits have long been used in India, Indonesia, Suriname and Thailand as a folk remedy for diabetes mellitus.
    Lectins from bitter gourd have shown significant antilipolytic and lipogenic activities.


    Bitter melon may have an additive effect when used concomitantly.
    Bitter melon may have additive effect when used concomitantly.


  • Reduces fertility in both males and females and should therefore not be used when undergoing fertility treatment or seeking pregnancy.

  • The active chemicals in bitter melon have shown in studies to be transferred through breast milk; it is contraindicated in women who are breast feeding.

  • Bitter melon has been used as an abortive and has weak uterine stimulant activity; so it is contraindicated during pregnancy.

  • All parts of the plant, especially the fruit and seed have demonstrated in vivo studies that they lower blood glucose levels.
    It is contraindicated in persons with hypoglycemia.

  • The fruit and seed of bitter melon have demonstrated to lower blood cholesterol levels.
    Persons on medications to lower blood cholesterol should monitor their cholesterol levels.

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