Bitter Melon

Momordica charantia

Herbs gallery - Bitter Melon

Common names

  • Bitter Melon
  • Cerasee

The herb known as the bitter melon is a tropical plant, and grows extensively in the tropics-which include parts of East Africa, large parts of Asia, the Caribbean islands, and in parts of South America. This herb is used as a source of food and as an herbal medicine as well.

True to its name, the fruit of this herb has a very bitter taste. Medicinal use is chiefly made of the fruit, as it is considered the safest and most easily cured part of the herb, however, the seeds, the leaves, and the vines of the bitter melon has also been extensively used in a variety of herbal medicines and infusions.

Parts used

Leaves, fruit, seeds, seed oil.


Late onset diabetes is treated using the unripe fruit of the bitter melon; this is the main use of the herbal remedy. Menstruation is induced by the ripe fruit, which also functions as a stomach tonic at the same time.

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Turkish herbalist uses the fruit of the bitter melon to treat all types of ulcers affecting the body. Herbal remedies made from the biter melon is also a favorite of herbalist in the West Indies, they use it as a cure all or super herb, treating cases of worms, problems related to urinary stones, and in the treatment of fever. The purgative action of the juice of the fruit is also extensively made use of in the West Indies.

The herbal remedy is also prescribed for treating colic and abdominal gas in different people. The leaves of the bitter melon are used to make an herbal decoction, which is given to patients suffering from all types of liver problems and cases of colitis.

This decoction can also be used as a topical remedy and it can be applied directly on the skin to treat eruptive skin disorders. Herbal oil derived from the seed oil is used on wounds for topical relief and long term remedial benefits.

The bitter melon is quite common as a food item relatively speaking, and remedies made from the bitter melon have been traditionally used to treat different conditions, by different people and societies in the tropical regions of the world. The bitter melon was commonly used and could supposedly treat all kinds of infections of the body, it could supposedly treat cancer, and it was also used in treating cases of diabetes.

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Beer and herbal teas have been made from the leaves and the fruit, and these parts of the herb have also been used to season soups in the Western world. The other use of the herb is in making candles, these are manufactured from the wax that the plant berries produce in large amounts.

Habitat and cultivation

The bitter melon is a native plant of countries in southern Asia, and the plant is very common throughout all the tropical regions around the world. Harvesting of the bitter melon takes place all year long and in all seasons.

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The potential of the seeds of the bitter melon as contraceptives was investigated in China in the 1980s. Investigations and certain researches have suggested that the action of the plants may cause some harm to the liver of the person using them. Studies have also confirmed that the fruit of the bitter melon when consumed can lead to a significant lowering of the sugar levels in the blood and urine of a person.

Usual dosage

The bitter melon can also be prepared as a dish to be eaten as food by individuals with a taste or tolerance for bitter flavors, the small melons can be eaten directly at mealtimes or if preferred, fresh juices of the melon of up to 50 ml of juice can be drunk every day as a part of the diet. Herbal tinctures made from the bitter melon are also an excellent option for those who do not like the bitter taste, a dose of about five ml can be taken two to three times every day as a normal part of the diet.

Side effects and cautions

Extreme abdominal pains and diarrhea can be brought about by drinking extremely high doses in the person taking it. Bitter melon herbal remedies must also be avoided by all small children and anyone suffering from hypoglycemia as this herb can theoretically trigger or greatly worsen the low blood sugar if it already affects the person.

At the same time, confirmed diabetics who are already using hypoglycemic medications-including chlorpropamide, glyburide, or phenformin or even doses of insulin must take bitter melon only under competent and professional medical supervision. The chances of the herbal remedy interfering with the potencies of the hypoglycemic medications, leading to further worsening of the hypoglycemia exists and this must be avoided at all costs.


From Debby, from Suriname - Apr-15-2018
I had a very large, painful and ready to pop abscess and did not wanted for the doc to nick it because sometimes they leave a scar so I decided to tread it with bitter melon. I took the leaves and poured boiling water on them and drank it as a tea several times per day I also stopped consuming sugar and anything that had sugar in it.
Also boosted my vitamin C intake, drank ginger and lots of water to help flush out the system and also took cod liver oil. It was a 2 weeks battle through fever etc. But I won the battle... it healed a scar I am not saying that you have to go do this without your docs advise... I am just saying that this worked for me.. and I am sharing it.
From Joyce Miller - Sep-28-2011
This tea is no joke. I found it at the food bazaar in Brooklyn and bought some. I drank it and, while I am not diabetic or hypoglycemic, I'm pretty lightweight and drank it three days in a row. The third day I happened to be working from 6am to 6pm and I hadn't had time to eat a lot.
Then I went home and took a nap, and woke up really shaky and hungry and having the sweats - lowest my blood sugar has ever been. The tea pushed me that much over the edge, which shows - when used properly, unlike when I used it, it really can lower the blood sugar. I'm only going to drink it every week or so, and make sure that I'm well fed when I do, but I am very excited about finding it.
From VJ. Toronto - Mar-14-2011
Cerasee tea was given to us by mother when we were younger children in school. I remember there were two specific times that we got the nasty bitter tea medicine... Once in the month of August, before going back to school after the summer holidays, my mom and grandma would line up us five kids and give us the tea to drink warm with a big soup of castor oil.
The other time we girls were forced to drink this bitter tea was whenever we saw our menses, and mom boiled this cerasee tea, let it cool and bottled it with a label on it with our name and put it in the fridge in the fridge door. She knew if we took it by how much was left in the bottle.
I could never figure out how she knew when that time came around for me and I didn't drink too much of it not knowing she was smarter than me, so she would find me and stand over me till I drank my monthly glass of cold cerasee tea. Yak, I hated every moment of it!
Looking back I thank for Lord for mother's wisdom because I was the only girl in the family that never got monthly cramps, never vomited like my younger sister did every month, she stayed in bed for a week and she suffered in pain, and also I hardly got any pimples and today being in my forties, I am always getting compliments from people of different cultures how beautiful and clear my skin is.
Strangest thing is I love bitter melon whenever I go to authentic Chinese restaurant and drink lime or lemon juice in my daily water regime. I don't mind eating anything bitter now and I have started drinking again cerasee tea, I find it in tea bags at any west Indian/ south America store around Toronto, Ont.
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