Saturday, 6 December 2014

22 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Bitter Melon/Bitter Gourd For Skin, Hair And Health

Confused with the name? More commonly bitter gourd in hindi is known as “Karela”. This vegetable is called as Bitter Gourd, Bitter Melon and Bitter Squash in english. First thing that comes to my mind seeing it is the bitterness in the name. They are dark or light green in colour depending on the region where they are grown. Though they taste very bitter, they are filled with many beneficial antioxidants and essential vitamins.

Bitter melon can be consumed in various ways like drinking its juice, pickle or using 
them in recipes.


Let us quickly look at some of the most well known health benefits of Bitter Melon:

1. Respiratory disorders:

Fresh pods are an excellent remedy for curing respiratory problems like asthma, cold, 
cough, etc.

2Liver tonic:

Drink one glass of Bitter Melon juice daily to heal liver problems. 
Keep consuming this continuously for a week to see results.

3. Immune system:

Boil bitter melon leaves or fruits in water and consume it every day to fight against infections.
 This also helps to build your immunity.

4. Acne:

Consuming Bitter Melon can help to get rid of acne, blemishes and deep skin infections.
  Bitter melon is useful in treating blood disorders like blood boils, scabies, itching, psoriasis,
 ring-worm and other fungal diseases. The free radicals in it are also useful for anti ageing.
Consume juice of bitter melon mixed with lemon on an empty stomach daily for 6 months 
or till you get the required results.

5. Diabetes:

Bitter melon juice benefits to overcome type 2 diabetes. It has been a part of the Chinese
 and Indian ancient medicine for a long time but only recent research has proven that it is
 no folk lore. Type 2 diabetes is caused partially due to the inability of a cell to absorb the
 sugar in the blood due to insufficient insulin or due development of resistance to insulin.
 In both cases, the cells are unable to absorb the sugar due to the ineffectiveness of insulin 
produced. The absorption of sugar occurs due to the activation of AMP-activated protein 
kinase in the cells. Bitter gourd activated these kinases due to which the absorption of
 sugar increases. And hence aids in bringing diabetes in control.
Green juice for diabetics: cucumbers, green apples, bitter melon, celery, ½ green capsicum
 (bell pepper). Bitter melon contains certain chemicals that are like insulin which help to 
reduce blood sugar levels.

6. Constipation:

Bitter melon helps in easy digestion as it contains fibre properties. The food is digested and
 waste is thrown out of the body which helps in curing indigestion and constipation problems.

7. Kidney and bladder:

Bitter melon helps to maintain healthy liver and bladder. It is also useful in curing kidney 

8. Heart disease:

Bitter melon is very good for the heart in many ways. They help to reduce the bad 
cholesterol levels which clog the arterial walls and thereby reduce the chances of heart 
attacks. Also it is known to lower blood sugar levels that help in maintaining good heart health.

 9. Cancer:

Bitter Melon can prevent cancer cells from multiplying.

10. Weight loss:

Bitter Melon contains antioxidants, which help to flush out your system. 
This improves your metabolism and digestive systems thus helping you lose weight quickly.
The two other major factors that aid in weight loss is the calorie control and filling 
components. Calorie control happens as such because vegetables are low on calories 
which allows you to consume more quantities of them. Filling component in this vegetable 
is water. We know that water is a universal suppressant of hunger. And the pods of this
 vegetable contain on the whole 80-85% water.


The appearance of your skin is largely determined by what you put inside your body.
 In other words, getting proper nutrition is a pre requisite for healthy and damage free skin.
 Being a natural blood purifier, bitter gourd helps in improving the appearance of your skin.
It provides the following benefits to your skin:

11. Prevents Skin Problems:

Regular consumption of bitter gourd helps in keeping your skin glowing and free from
 blemishes. It also helps prevent acne thanks to its blood purifying properties.

12. Skin Infections:

Bitter melon benefits in treating skin diseases or skin infections, eczema and psoriasis. 
Regular consumption of bitter gourd juice helps in improving psoriasis condition as well 
as other fungal infections like ring worm and athletes foot.

13. Anti-ageing:

Bitter gourd contains vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. By fighting and eliminating 
the harmful free radicals, it helps to prevent wrinkles by slowing down the ageing process.
 It also protects the skin from damage by Sun’s ultraviolet rays.

14. Healing Qualities:

Bitter gourd helps in controlling blood flow and clotting, causing wounds to heal faster,
 preventing further infections.


bitter gourd hair loss

Bitter gourd is a great home remedy for your hair. Besides being beneficial for your
 skin and health, bitter gourd juice is also effective in treating hair problems and promoting
 longevity. It is beneficial for your hair in the following ways:

15. Shiny Hair:

To impart a natural shine to your hair, you can mix a cup of fresh bitter gourd juice with 
yoghurt and apply on your hair. Wash off after sometime. This will make your hair shiny 
and beautiful.

16. Dandruff:

Dandruff is a common problem and is mostly caused due to the consumption of unhealthy
 food and exposure to pollution. To ward off dandruff, you can prepare a hair pack by
 mixing bitter gourd juice and cumin seeds. Regular usage of this pack will rid you of 
dandruff within a month.

17. Split Ends:

If you are troubled by split ends, you can apply raw bitter gourd juice to your split ends
 and then comb gently. This should be done twice a week to get rid of split ends.

18. Dry and Itchy Scalp:

To combat dryness of scalp, you can rub a fresh piece of bitter gourd on it and massage
 your scalp in a circular motion. Then rinse off with clear water. To combat itchiness, 
you can prepare a hair pack by mixing bitter gourd juice with either avocado or banana 
and apply it on your scalp. This should be used at least once a week to get rid of itchy scalp.

19. Hair Loss:

Bitter gourd juice helps in reducing hair-fall naturally. All you need to do is mix bitter 
gourd juice with a dash of sugar and use this paste on your hair to get good results.

20. Rough and Tangled Hair:

If you have rough and tangled hair, you can pour a cup of bitter gourd juice and allow
 it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Then rinse off your hair. This will help smoothen your 
hair texture and make it soft and shiny.

21. Grey Hair:

Bitter gourd can also treat premature greying of hair. You can apply freshly squeezed 
bitter gourd juice on your grey strands. Doing this once in every ten days will reduce 
grey hair growth.

22. Oily Hair:

Increased intake of oily food can cause the accumulation of excess oil in your hair.
 If you have oily hair, you should first limit the consumption of oily food. You can apply a
 mixture of bitter gourd juice and apple cider vinegar to remove excess oil from your hair.

Bitter Gourd: Nutritional Value:

The numerous health, skin and hair benefits of bitter melon can be attributed to its
 nutritional value. It has a wide array of vitamins and minerals such as 
vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper and
 phosphorus. The chart given below shows the nutritional value of bitter gourd.
See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Bitter melon (Momordica charantia),
fresh, raw, Nutritive value per 100 g
PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy17 Kcal<1%
Carbohydrates3.70 g3%
Protein1.00 g2%
Total Fat0.17 g0.5%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber2.80 g7%
Folates72 µg18%
Niacin0.400 mg2.5%
Pantothenic acid0.212 mg4%
Pyridoxine0.043 mg3%
Riboflavin0.040 mg3%
Thiamin0.040 mg3.5%
Vitamin A471 IU16%
Vitamin C84 mg140%
Sodium5 mg<1%
Potassium296 mg6%
Calcium19 mg2%
Copper0.034 mg4%
Iron0.43 mg5%
Magnesium17 mg4%
Manganese0.089 mg4%
Zinc0.80 mg7%
Carotene-ß190 µg
Carotene-α185 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin170 µg

  • Calories: Bitter gourd is quite low in calories with a 100 gram serving providing just 17
  •  calories.
  • Vitamin C: Bitter gourd is an excellent source of vitamin C with 100 grams of raw pod,
  •  providing 84 mg of this vitamin which is equivalent to 140% of Recommended Daily 
  • Intake (RDI).
  • Folates: Fresh pods are a good source of folates. 100 grams of fresh pods provide
  •  72 µg of folate which is equivalent to 18% of RDI.
  • B-vitamins: It is also a good source of B-vitamins like niacin or Vitamin B3,
  •  pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5 and pyridoxine or Vitamin B6.


1. Always wash Bitter Melon thoroughly under running water.
2. Use fresh Bitter Melon for best results.
3. Always choose bitter gourds that are fresh, bright, deep green in colour.
4. Don’t consume more than 2 bitter melons a day
4. The Bitter Melon leaves should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place. They stay fresh in
 refrigerator up to a week.
5. Marinade with salt to reduce bitterness.
6. Pregnant women should be careful while consuming this vegetable. The laxative 
component of the vegetable may lead to premature contraction, vaginal bleeding
 and miscarriages. Do consult your doctor once.

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