Plant Part Used

Fruit, Seed, Root, Leaf and Flower

Active Constituents

Triterpenes, proteins, steroids, alkaloids, charantin, charine, cryptoxanthin, cucurbitins, cucurbitacins, cucurbitanes, cycloartenols, diosgenin, elaeostearic acids, erythrodiol, galacturonic acids, gentisic acid, goyaglycosides, goyasaponins, guanylate cyclase inhibitors, gypsogenin, hydroxytryptamines, karounidiols, lanosterol, lauric acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, momorcharasides, momorcharins, momordenol, momordicilin, momordicins, momordicinin, momordicosides, momordin, momordolo, multiflorenol, myristic acid, nerolidol, oleanolic acid, oleic acid, oxalic acid, pentadecans, peptides, petroselinic acid, polypeptides, proteins, ribosome-inactivating proteins, rosmarinic acid, rubixanthin, spinasterol, steroidal glycosides, stigmasta-diols, stigmasterol, taraxerol, trehalose, trypsin inhibitors, uracil, vacine, v-insulin, verbascoside, zeatin, zeatin riboside, zeaxanthin, zeinoxanthin. (1) , (2) , (3)


Momordica charantia L. is a tropical or more precisely pan tropical plant. It’s a slender-stemmed tendril climber of the Cucurbitaceae family. The older stem is often flattened and fluted to six meters or longer. Leaves alternate, cut into 5-7 narrow based lobes. Flowers are yellow on short (Female) or long (Male) peduncles that are short lived. Fruits narrowed to both ends, ribbed with prominent tubercles on the ribs, 8 to 15 centimetre long, orange when ripe and then becoming soft and fleshy and opening to reveal pendulous seeds covered with red pulp. In the Malay Peninsula it has numerous folk uses like skin diseases, burn, stomach-ache, diarrhoea etc. (4) , (5) , (6)

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

Information is not available.

Most Common Dosage

Information is not available.


No standard marker reported. Other standard profiles have been documented in Malaysian Herbal Monograph. (7)

Toxicities & Precautions


It is contraindicated for diabetic patients taking insulin and hypoglycaemic drugs. (8)

Side Effects

Information is not available.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

Information is not available.

Age Limitations

Information is not available.


Anti-diabetic activity
Numerous studies have been done on the possible anti-diabetic effect of Momordica charantia L. and in these studies at least three different groups of constituents were found in all parts of the plant with hypoglycemic potential and /or other benefits for diabetes mellitus. A host of hypoglycemic agents include a mixture of steroidal saponins known as charantins, insulin-like peptides, and alkaloids have been identified in Momordica charantia L. The hypoglycemic effect has been found to be more pronounced in the fruit of this plant where these chemicals are present in greater abundance. In an in vivo study on laboratory animals and in experiments with diabetic patients evidence for the existence of oral hypoglycemic activity in M charantia was found. From experiments with isolated pancreatic islets of obese hyperglycemic animals it has been shown that this plant stimulates insulin secretion in vitro. In another experiment, M charantia has been shown to effect key enzymes involved in the carbohydrate metabolism, it has been found to restore the activity of these enzymes in diabetic animals. In a recent experiment with fruit juice of M charantia fed to STZ induced diabetic rats it not only led to preservation of islet morphology but also caused a raise in beta-cell numbers. Extracts of M charantia have also exhibited hyperinsulinemic activity as well. To date, almost a hundred different in vivo studies with Momordica charantia L. have documented hypoglycemic property of this plant. (9) , (10) , (11) , (12) , (13) , (14)

Lipid lowering and antioxidant activity effect
Momordica charanatia L. has been shown to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides in both the presence and absence of dietary cholesterol. In a study with experimental diabetic rats it has been found that a ten-week treatment with Momordica charnatia L. managed to normalize their elevated cholesterol and triglyceride level. Besides lipid lowering, it has also been found to lower the plasma lipid peroxidation products, melonaldehyde (MDA) in STZ induced diabetic rats. It has been shown to reduce elevated levels of MDA in STZ induced diabetic rats to normal levels. Possible anti-atherogenic activity of M charantia has also been reported in other studies. (15) , (16) , (17)

Anti-cancer activity
Momordica charnatia L., in particularly, a phytochemical isolated from it has shown inhibitory activity against guanylate cyclase, an enzyme believed to be involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, leukemia and cancers. (18) , (19)

Momordin, an important phytochemical isolated from Momordica charantia L. has shown potential activity against CD 5 positive leukomeas and lymphomas in vivo. Water extract of Momordica charantia L. has been found to block the growth of rat prostate carcinoma. A hot water extract of the entire plant has been shown to inhibit the development of mammary tumors in mice. A novel protein isolated from bitter melon, MAP 30 has been shown to have possible therapeutic potential against breast cancer. They found it to be effective against human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 in vitro and in vivo. Conjugated linolenic acid isolated from M charantia has been found to have chemopreventive activity in the early phase of colon tumerogenesis through modulation of cryptal proliferation activity and apoptosis. (20) , (21) , (22)

Anti-viral activity
Momordica charnatia L. along with several phytochemicals isolated from the plant found that they have in vitro antiviral activity against numerous viruses including Epstein-Barr, herpes, and HIV viruses. In an in vivo study, a leaf extract of the plant has shown the ability to increase resistance to viral infections as well as to provide an immunostimulatory potential by increasing the production of interferon and natural killer cells in humans and experimental animals. In an extraordinary finding two proteins known as ƒÑ- and ƒÒ-momorcharin have shown to inhibit the HIV virus in vitro. (23) , (24) , (25) , (26) , (27)

Anti-microbial activity
Several extracts of the leaves of Momordica charantia L. have shown in vitro antibacterial activities against E. coli, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Streptobacillus and Streptococcus. An extract of the whole plant has shown to have anti-protozoal activity against Entamoeba histolytica. The fruit and fruit juice has exhibited the same type of antibacterial properties. Fruit extract of Momordica charnatia L. has demonstrated activity against the stomach ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori. More importantly, it has been shown to have anti-tuberculosis activity. (28) , (29) , (30)

Reported Uses:

Uses reported in folk medicine, but not supported by clinical data:
In several parts of the tropical world this plant has several traditional uses. In south and South-East Asian countries the popular use of this plant is as an anti-diabetic. (31) In India it is used as an abortifacient, anthelmintic, contraceptive, diabetes mellitus, dysmenorrhea, eczema, emmenagogue, fat loss, fever (malarial), gout, hydrophobia, jaundice, kidney (stone), leprosy, leucorrhea, liver disorders, piles, pneumonia. (32) , (33) In Malaysia it is used in cases of asthma, burn, dermatosis, diabetes, diarrhoea, headache, scald, sprue, stomach ache and also as vermifuge and laxative. (34) , (35)

Read More

  1) Medicinal Herbs

  2) South Central American Herbs

  3) South Africa Herbs

  4) Ayuverda


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in this scope
Malaysian Herbal Monograph​
Medicinal Herbs & Plants Monographs​
Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbs (Professional Data)
Herbal Medicines Compendium (HMC) - U.S​