Scientific Name: Momordica charantia
Ampalaya, Bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, sorosi, a’jayib al maasi, assorossie, balsam apple, balsam pear, chin li chih, ejinrin gule khandan, fu-kua, karela, k’u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, lai p’u t’ao, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria
Ampalaya Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) also known as Bitter Melon is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in the Amazon, Carribean, South east Asia such as Philippines for its edible fruit. Ampalaya or bitter melon also known as bitter gourd as the name implies has a bitter taste due to the presence of momordicin, and is believed to be among the most bitter of all vegetables.
Ampalaya Bitter Melon is a climbing vine that grows up to 5m, with tendrils up to 20cm. long. Amplaya leaves are heart-shaped, 5-10 cm across, cut into 5-7 lobes. Each Ampalaya Bitter Melon plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. Ampalaya bears fleshy green fruit, oblong shaped with pointed ends, ribbed and wrinkled, bursting when mature to release seeds. Ampalaya seeds are flat with ruminated margins.
Ampalaya Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits
Ampalaya has a long history of medical usage and has a long list of folkloric health benefits for the following conditions.
Diabetes. Ampalaya or bitter gourd is a widely used herbal remedy to lower the blood sugar levels for diabetic patients.
Analgesic. The juice of Amplaya is used to alleviate symptoms of fever, headache and body pains.
Eye problems. Amplaya juice is also used to treat eye related problems that include sty and sore eyes. It is thought to improve eyesight and prevents the development of cataract.
Respiratory ailments. The juice from amplaya fruit and leaves are used to treat various respiratory problems that may include, asthma, wheezing cough, bronchitis and pharyngitis.
Hair and scalp problems. Ampalaya or bitter gourd has been used to treat various hair and scalp problems that may include hair loss, dry scalp, lice and pimples on the scalp.
Weight loss. Ampalaya is also used to promote body metabolism and the burning of fats thus it is valued as a weight loss supplement.
Source of energy. The vitamins and mineral found in ampalaya is considered as a stamina builder that combats fatigue.
Antioxidant. Amplaya is also considered as a potent anti-oxidant acitivity that counters the oxidation of free radicals that is the cause of cancer.
Stomach problems. Ampalaya leaf extract is a folkloric remedy for various stomach ache and problems that include indigestion, dyspepsia, parasite infestation, diarrhea and constipation.
Hepatoprotection activity. Ampalaya is used as a herbal remedy to protect the liver from damage due to intake of alcohol and other harmful substances.
Skin problems. Ampalaya is crushed or rubbed over the skin to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, wounds, burns and ulcers.
Boosts the immune system. Ampalaya is also used to boost the immune system and as a supplement to build body resistance during sickness.
HIV virus. Ampalaya is also being considered as treatment ot viral diseases that include HIV, malaria, chicken fox and measles.
Menopause. Ampalaya tea is taken as a remedy for pain and discomfort associated to menopause.
Anti-inflammatory activity. Ampalaya leaf extract combined with coconut oil is used to alleviate inflammation and pain associated to gout, arthritis, rheumatism and other body pains.
Cholesterol control. Ampalaya is also widely consumed to lower the cholesterol level in the blood that helps to prevent the build up of plaque along the arterial walls.
Hemorrhoids. Ampalaya is used as astringent to treat hemorrhoids.
Contraceptive. Ampalaya has been used in folkloric medicine as an abortificient and as a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.
– Medical Health Guide