Health Benefits of Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd)
For generations, Ampalaya or Bitter Gourd (some calls it Bitter Melon) has been part of the traditional herbal medicines and has been attributed to alleviate or cure a wide variety of ailments, and the Philippine variety is found to be more potent.
Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) with a scientific name Momordica charantia, is a climbing vine and the tendrils of which grow up to 20 centimeters long. This herbal plant belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae, and it is a tropical as well as a subtropical vine. It is commonly grown and cultivated throughout the Philippines although wild forms can be found and it is also abundant in many regions in Asia, East Africa, the Carribean and South America and comes in a variety of shape and sizes. Ampalaya leaves are heart-shaped, which are 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. The fruits of the ampalaya vine are fleshy green with pointed ends at length. It can never be mistaken for any other variety because its ribbed and wrinkled surface had always been ampalaya’s distinct physical structure. The bitter taste of the ampalaya fruit had also been the distinguishing factor from the rest of the fruits with medicinal value, and this is due to the presence of a substance known as momorcidin.
Ampalaya contains a mixture of flavanoids and alkaloids make the Pancreas produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. Aside from Ampalaya’s medicinal value, it is good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium. Ampalaya is also rich in antioxidants that protect the cells of the body from damage of free radicals (metabolic by-products, usually waste).
The effectively of Ampalaya as an herbal medicine has been tried and tested by many research clinics and laboratories worldwide. In the Philippines, the Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine to help alleviate various ailments including diabetes, liver problems and even HIV. Aside from these, ampalaya also helps treat skin diseases and cough. Its herbal value extends to increasing the sterility of women, in parasiticide, antipyretic, and has purgative functions, as well. Note: In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and abortifacient.
Herbal Benefits of Ampalaya:
• Good for rheumatism and gout
• And diseases of the spleen and liver
• Aids in lowering blood sugar levels
• Helps in lowering blood pressure
• Relives headaches
• Disinfects and heals wounds & burns
• Can be used as a cough & fever remedy
• Treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhea
• Helps prevent some types of cancer
• Enhances immune system to fight infection
• For treatment of hemorrhoids
• Is an antioxidant and parasiticide
• Is antibacterial and antipyretic
Preparation & Use of Ampalaya:
• For coughs, fever, worms, diarrhea, diabetes, juice Ampalaya leaves and drink a spoonful daily.
• For other ailments, the fruit and leaves can both be juiced and taken orally.
• For headaches wounds, burns and skin diseases, apply warmed leaves to afflicted area.
• Powdered leaves, and the root decoction, may be used as stringent and applied to treat hemorrhoids.
• Internal parasites are proven to be expelled when the ampalaya juice, made from its leaves, is extracted. The ampalaya juice, and grounded seeds is to be taken one spoonful thrice a day, which also treats diarrhea, dysentery, and chronic colitis.
(sources: http://www.philippineherbalmedicine.org/ampalaya.htm, http://www.articlesbase.com/diseases-and-conditions-articles/health-benefits-of-ampalaya-359375.html, http://ezinearticles.com/?Health-Benefits-of-Ampalaya-(Bittergourd)&id=941524)