MOMORDICA CHARANTIA L. - BITTER MELON.|
Common name: pomme de merveille, pomo balsamo, balsamini longa, muop dang, tsuru reishi, bittergourd, bitter melon, balsam pear, sopropo, assorossie, ku gua foo, pare, peria, karela, balsamina, balsamapfel, mara.
Family: cucurbitaceae (gourd family).
Also known as Chinese bitter melon; this tropical vine is a tender perennial.
The fruit is edible when harvested green and cooked. The taste is bitter.
Bitter melon has twice the potassium of bananas and is also rich in vitamin A and C.
Pare is a monoecious climber with dark green, deeply lobed leaves with hairs on it. The dioecious flowers are yellow and the fruits are oblong and lumpy with a light green to greenish-white, waxy skin.
Pare is a favourite in the Surinam kitchen.
Bitter melon seems to be supportive in HIV, several proteins (such as alpha - and beta momocharin) have HIV inhibitory effects in vitro. However, they are not cytotoxic.
Medicinal applications: Lectins from bittermelon have shown good antilipolytic - and lipogenic activity.
Map 30 is a specific protein in bitter melon, that is useful in treating HIV infection.
There is another smaller variety Balsam apple (M. balaminal), which has seeds surrounded by a bright red pulp. These seeds are small and black.
The juice of this plant appears to be abortifacient.
In traditional Chinese medicine the vegetable is used as an appetite stimulant and as a treatment for gastrointestinal infection and against
Peria is also hypoglycemic (blood sugar - lowerering effects) and may prove to be a very effective herbal remedy against diabetes!.
It has been proven to increase the number of beta cells (those which produce insulin) in the pancreas.
For more details on the phyto-chemistry and pharmacology of bitter melon: go to "MAROWINA FACTS® DATABASE".
For more information go to the APPLICATIONS & DOSAGE page.
In Suriname's traditional medicine, sopropo is used against fever, stomachache, diabetes - mellitus and hypertension.
Hardiness: USDA zone
9 - 11.
Culture: full sun / light shade; rich moist soil. Plant in frost free areas, since bitter melon is very sensitve to frost. Do not water too much.
In cooler climates start planting in pots 6 weeks before the frost free date;
transplant when there is no more danger of frost.