Monday, May 21, 2012

Everyone should know about ...... Bitter Gourd

'Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes'. Peter Senge 

Hi all

India. I love everything that India has and continues to teach me. Not just in my personal life but also in my overall outlook. I am forever amazed and in awe on what I learn here. I truly am grateful for coming here and being here. 

So here is something health-wise I want to share with you. Bitter Gourd. ( also known as Karela  and  Bitter melon). An amazing powerful fruit that has soooo many benefits, I cant believe I hadn't heard of it till I came here. 

Just a few things: 

It is widely grown in Asia, Caribbean and parts of Africa and its a fruit. Its among the most bitter of fruits. 
It varies in shape and bitterness
It is low in calories.
Contains calcium, potassium, vitamins C, B1, B3, folic acid, zink, manganese and magnesium
Rich in iron, beta-carotene and great for liver related disorders
Its the only vegetable of its kind to reduce blood sugar levels - natural plant insulin.
It serves as antioxidant, antibacterial and antipyretic agent (the leaves)
Stimulates easy digestion

This is what it looks like
photo from of Google images

And this is how it look like cut up and seeds removed
photo from Google images

This is what I had recently as a side dish, with whole onions. 

A few other benefits and uses of Bitter Gourd:

Cholera - during the early stages of cholera a concoction of bitter gourd leaves and lime juice (optional is white onion juice -------onion which is just juiced) is given in teaspoonfuls to be sipped. This is useful in the treatment.

The juice of Kerala is used to fight skin problems such as psoriasis as it purifies the blood as well as other skin problems like ring worm and Jaundice.

Eye problems - it has high levels of beta- carotene it is known to improve eyesight and alleviate eye problems.

Its been known to be great for hangovers. Some say it may fight alcoholism due to the juice working as a natural antidote. As the plant improves the functions of the liver and when taken over time, the urges to drink reduce and the blood is cleansed and the body's immunity increases.

Traditionally the tea of the leaves are useful in preventing and treating malaria.

Early testing has shown results that perhaps Bitter Gourd can help in preventing cancers (colon  and breast cancer) and in the treatment of HIV.

Cooking tips:

Bitter gourd is bitter. I tried it. And yep, its just as the name suggests. Bitter. But for me, I can handle that.

The bitterness can be reduced with yogurt or onions. Or even as suggested by my teacher socking over night in buttermilk.  In southern parts of India  coconut milk or tamarind juice is added to reduce the bitterness and to enhance the taste.

Bitter gourd can be steam cooked and juiced to be taken daily for health benefits, it should be limited to one or two small Keralas. The raw juice should not be taken more than two to four tablespoons as excess juice is not advisable and could lead to diarrhea. Pregnant women should avoid taking this is juice.

Here are a few links to teach you more about Bitter Gourd.
Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd

Please Note:  I am not a doctor. I have not studied medicine. I only know, what I have researched, asked about and tried eating it myself just to get the taste. Please consult your doctor or medical practitioner before conducting any new alternative therapies and food that you are not used to. Before undertaking anything new in terms of your health and overall well-being please do thorough research and and check again. Thank you. I only did this post because I wanted to share with you what I have learned about this plant.

Blessings, Joy and Sharing


  1. I hate this stuff with a passion. lol. In Guyana we call it "carilla". My mom bought some and it's just chillin in the fridge. I REFUSE to cook it.

  2. lol, try soaking it with buttermilk? I found some really great recipes online that I want to try it with. Will update, when I find a really great one, that takes the bitterness away lol hahhahah


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