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ku gua, bitter melon 苦瓜

 by Joe Hing Kwok Chu

A manuscript... writing and translation in progress

Pharmaceutical name:

英 文藥名﹕

fructus Momordicae charantiae

herba Momordicae charantiae

radix Momordicae charantiae

Latin name:

學 名﹕

Momordica charantia L.

 Parts used:

 應 用部份﹕

fruit, leaves and roots

果﹐葉﹐ 根部。

Pron. in Japanese:


goya, nigari, niga uri

Pron. in Korean:


jeo ju

Pron. in Cantonese:


fu2 gwaa1

Other Chinese Names:


liang gua 涼瓜、ban sheng gua 半生瓜.

Common Name:


  • bitter gourd, bitter melon (English)

  • karela (Hindi),

  • korola, uchhe (Bengali)

  • ampalaya (Tagalog)  ,

  • amargoso (Aklanon) ,

  • paria, palia (in some parts of the Philipines),

  • pare, pare pahit, paria, peria (Indonesian)

  • peria katak (Malay)

  • muop dang, kh qu (Vietnamese)

  • tsuru reishi (Japanese)

  • melao de sao caetano (some part of South America)

  • balsamina (Spanish)

  • balsamini lunghi (Italian)

  • springkomkommer (Dutch)

  • assorossie, momordique, margose, melon amer, balsamine  (French)

  • wunder-balsamapfel (German)



All over the world.



性 味﹕

bitter, cold.


Channels  meridians) entered:



Medical functions:



  1. lowers blood lipids: qingzhisu (lowering lipid substances) It only acts in the small intestine where fat is absorb. It changes the screen of the intestine cells and blocks fat and the large molecules of polysaccharide thus enhances the absorption of small molecule nutrients. It does not involve with the  metabolism of the body so it does not create toxic effect. See also Toxicity & Caution item.

  2. lowers blood sugar:  the saponin of bitter melon possesses the effect of insulin and can stimulate insulin, and its lowering blood sugar effect is obvious. See above item

  3. antivirus

  4. anti-cancer

  5. anti-malaria.

  6. seed my inhibit the enzyme guanylate cyclase, which may benefit people with psoriasis


  1. 降血脂。  清脂素不進入人體血液,只作用於人體吸收脂肪的小腸。通過改變腸細胞網孔,阻止脂肪、 多糖等高熱量大分子物質的吸收,從而加速體內小分子營養的吸收,又不參與人體代謝,所以無任何毒副作用。

  2. 降血糖。 苦瓜中所含的苦瓜皂甙,有類似胰島素的作用,還可刺激胰島素釋放,有非常明顯的降血糖作用。

  3. 抗病毒﹐

  4. 防癌症,

  5. 抗瘧 。

  6. 抑制鳥苷酸環化酶,可能對銀痟病有帮助。

Actions & Indications:


  1. Being used in obesity, diabetes,  constipation, diarrhea due to intestine inflammation, HIV, and  hemorrhoids.

  2. Root being used in asthma. Leaves being used in round worms, and tape worms.

  3. The small fruits which can not ripen on the vines are being used in malaria treatment.

  4. Seeds can be used in  psoriasis, eczema, arthritis, asthma and other auto-immune system dysfunction diseases.


除邪熱、解疲勞、清心明目、益氣壯陽 。

  1. 肥胖﹔ 糖尿病便 秘,腸炎腹瀉,免疫系統功能紊亂, 痔瘡﹐ 銀屑病﹐ 便秘﹐ 艾滋病﹐

  2. 根用于哮 喘。葉用于蛔 虫﹐ 絛蟲

  3. 不能成熟之小苦瓜用于瘧 疾,

  4. 種子用於 銀屑病濕疹,關節炎,哮 喘,與其他自體免疫紊亂病癥。

Chemical ingredients:


high in potassium

high in vitamin A and C

α- and b- momorcharin (anti HIV)

quinine, especially in immature fruit (anti-malaria)

Also see here.



The fruit and leaves are being used as vegetable.

For malaria control: use young immature fruit for soup with rice.

For blood sugar control, make one bitter gourds into juice and drink before meals, 3 times per day.

According to some report, for weight control: eat 2 to 3 raw bitter gourds per day.

葉與果(瓜) 當蔬菜用。

不能成熟之果加米用來煮湯用于輔助治療瘧 疾。

控制血糖﹕ 苦瓜一條﹐ 榨汁﹐ 飯前服用。每日三次。

有報導關於減 肥﹕每天生吃苦瓜兩三條。

Samples of formulae



Modern Research:



Toxicity & Caution:


Not to use in cases of pregnancies. The juice of the plant appears to have abortive effect.

The plant and fruit are high in potassium. It may not be suitable for shenyangxu (kidney yang deficient) type of body.   Also see potassium.

It may enhance the effect of blood sugar lowering medicine.

Reports of concentrated extract of an active ingredient, "qingzhisu" has cause death from malnutrition.

懷孕婦人忌用。含有大量之 鉀鹽  腎 陽虛 患者不適用。

有報導說﹐ 有用清脂素導致死亡事件。清脂素是苦瓜有效成份之一。


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A manuscript... writing, translating and proofreading              in progress

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Last update: Mar 2, 2009; 11:26 p.m. LAH