Definitely an acquired taste, bitter gourd (Latin Momordica charantia) is also called Balsam pear or bitter melon. Young immature bitter gourds are the best for cooking: the skin is bright green in color, the flesh inside is white, and the seeds are small and tender. The vegetable is ridged, and the skin is pebbly in texture. Do not use mature bitter gourds, and do not eat bitter gourd if you are pregnant or nursing.
Bitter gourd contains vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium. From the ayurvedic perspective, bitter gourd is excellent for balancing Kapha. It helps purify blood tissue, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver.
Cholera: In early stages of cholera, take two teaspoonfuls juice of bitter gourd leaves, mix with two teaspoonfuls white onion juice and one teaspoonful lime juice. Sip this concoction daily till you get well.
Diabetes mellitus: Bitter melon contains a hypoglycemic compound
(a plant insulin) that is highly beneficial in lowering sugar levels in blood and urine. Bitter melon juice has been shown to significantly improve glucose tolerance without increasing blood insulin levels.
Energy: Regular consumption of bitter gourd juice has been proven to improve energy and stamina level. Even sleeping patterns have been shown to be improved/stabilized.
Eye problems: The high beta-carotene and other properties in bitter gourd makes it one of the finest vegetable-fruit that help alleviate eye problems and improving eyesight.
Hangover: Bitter melon juice may be beneficial in the treatment of a hangover for its alcohol intoxication properties. It also help cleanse and repair and nourish liver problems due to alcohol consumption.
Immune booster: This bitter juice can also help to build your immune system and increase your body's resistance against infection.
Piles: Mix three teaspoonfuls of juice from bitter melon leaves with a glassful of buttermilk. Take this every morning on empty stomach for about a month and see an improvement to your condition. To hasten the healing, use the paste of the roots of bitter melon plant and apply over the piles.
Psoriasis: Regular consumption of this bitter juice has also been known to improve psoriasis condition and other fungal infections like ring-worm and athletes feet.
Respiratory disorders: Take two ounces of fresh bitter melon juice and mix with a cup of honey diluted in water. Drink daily to improve asthma, bronchitis and pharyngitis.
Toxemia: Bitter gourd contains beneficial properties that cleanses the blood from toxins. Sip two teaspoonfuls of the juice daily to help cleanse the liver. Also helpful in ridding jaundice for the same reasons.
|Choose unripe bitter melons that are firm, like how you would a cucumber. Avoid those that have turned orange or have soft spots. Ripe bitter melons can be excessively bitter.Store bitter melons in the vegetable bin in the refrigerator which has the right temperature. It should keep for three to four days.|
Clean your bitter melon under cold running water and brush with a soft vegetable brush. To prepare, slice the melon length-wise and scoop out the seeds. To lessen the bitter flavor, soak it in salt water for about half an hour before juicing/cooking.
The smaller variety is more bitter than the bigger one. To help make bitter gourd juice more palatable, take it with honey, or add carrot or apple juice. For diabetics, drink the juice with green apple juice.