Momordica is a fruit that takes its name from the jagged shape of its seeds, which give the impression of being bitten. Not surprisingly, momordi means “to bite” and the official name of the plant is Momordica charantia. Thanks to momordica utilisation in the traditional medicine of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, its myth spread much earlier in these countries than in Europe. In fact, despite its particularly bitter taste, it has been widely used for many natural remedies.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The ancient Indian medicine of Ayurveda reveals the effectiveness of this fruit in the regulation of the intestine, in the support of the immune system, in respiratory problems, in the elimination of toxins and in the health of the eyes.
The Ayurveda medicine also reveals the great importance of momordica as a food for diabetics, because its active ingredients maintain stable blood glucose levels, avoiding peaks and strong fluctuations. In terms of weight control, keeping your blood glucose stable means a reduction of the sense of hunger, resulting in less calorie intake. The active ingredients that are used in this process are polypeptide-P and charantin which has a behaviour comparable to that of insulin. As a proof, several studies have shown that taking momordica helps to lower blood glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance. A first in vitro study shows that the saponins obtained from the alcohol extract of the dried fruit stimulate insulin secretion (Keller et al., 2011). A more recent study showed that triterpenes, obtained from acid hydrolysis of alcohol extract of the dried fruit, inhibit the activity of a protein (PTP1B) that deactivates the insulin receptor. Another in vivo study showed an increase in sensitivity to insulin and an increased glucose tolerance after treatment with 200 mg/kg/day of aqueous extract of M.charantia in obese/T2D mice (Wang et al., 2014). Therefore, we can confirm the role of momordica as a great cholesterol-lowering and hypoglycaemic substance, useful if you want to lose weight.
Another point in favour of momordica is its contribution in the activation of metabolism. In fact, it seems to be able to act at the digestive level and improve the use of carbohydrates. These actions are of greatest interest in the case of diabetes, but are of considerable help in controlling body weight.
Moreover, momordica contains beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, luteolin, flavonoids, glucosides (momordicosides) and vitamins A, B1, B2, C and iron.
Momordica not only helps to control weight but is also an excellent energising tonic, useful for the health of the eyes and for the skin radiance.