Ampalaya/ Bitter Gourd or otherwise known as Ampalaya Bitter Melon is a climbing vine that grows up to 5m, with tendrils up to 20cm. long. Amplaya leaves are heart-shaped, 5-10 cm across, cut into 5-7 lobes. Each Ampalaya Bitter Melon plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. Ampalaya bears fleshy green fruit, oblong shaped with pointed ends, ribbed and wrinkled, bursting when mature to release seeds. Ampalaya seeds are flat with ruminated margins. Momordica charantia, it's scientific name, has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many aliments.
The Philippine Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) as an alternative herbal medicine for liver problems. Research about Ampalaya has shown that Ampalaya increases the production of beta cells by the pancreas, thereby improving the body’s ability to produce insulin, that controls the blood sugar for diabetics.
Ampalaya leaves and fruits are excellent sources of Vitamin B, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It is also rich in beta carotene.
Ampalaya is used as herbal treatment for diabetes, HIV, coughs, skin diseases, sterility in women, parasiticide, antipyretic and as purgative among others.
Ampalaya for Diabetes. Clinical Studies for Ampalaya Bitter Melon demonstrated hypoglycemic properties (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit against diabetes mellitus.
The hypoglycemic chemicals found in Ampalaya Bitter Melon include a mixture of steroidal saponins known as charantins, insulin-like peptides, and alkaloids. The hypoglycemic effect is more pronounced in the fruit of bitter melon where these chemicals are in greater abundance. The fruit has also shown the ability to enhance cells’ uptake of glucose, to promote insulin release, and potentiate the effect of insulin. In other in vivo studies, bitter melon fruit and/or seed has been shown to reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides in both the presence and absence of dietary cholesterol. In one study, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rats were returned to normal after 10 weeks of treatment.
Ampalaya for Hemorrhoids. Powdered leaves and root decoction of Ampalaya are applied to hemorrhoids as astringent.
Ampalaya for Stomach Problems. Ampalaya leaf juice is used to expel intestinal parasites, treat dysentery, diarrhea, and chronic colitis. Grounded seeds may also be used. Taken in a spoonfull 3x a day until ailment subsides.
Ampalaya for Cough. Ampalaya leaf juice is used for mild coughs for children. Administered in a teaspoon 3x a day.
Ampalaya for Burns, Scalds and Wounds. Pounded Ampalaya seeds or leaf are used to treat burns, scalds and wounds.
Ampalaya as Anti-Cancer, Two compounds extracted from ampalaya bitter melon, α-eleostearic acid (from ampalaya seeds) and dihydroxy-α-eleostearic acid (from the ampalayafruit) have been found to induce apoptosis of leukemia cells in vitro. Diets containing 0.01% ampalaya bitter melon oil (0.006% as α-eleostearic acid) were found to prevent azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.
Other acclaimed uses are for the treatment of HIV, treatment of fever and headaches, treatment of rheumatism and gout, disease of the spleen and liver.
Amplaya Side Effects
In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and may cause pregnancy abortion. (source: http://www.medicalhealthguide.com)
Earlier, I bought already sliced ampalaya for only 15 pesos; tried cooking it for dinner. Here are two photos I got from http://www.medicalhealthguide.com:
1. sliced ampalaya
2. magic sarap
4. beaten eggHow I prepared my ampalaya with egg specialty:
I've learned from a friend not to soak and boil it with water and salt, instead soak it with pure water and squeeze the ampalaya juice that's making the taste bitter. I squeezed it moderately, just enough to lessen the bitter taste and the fetid smell.
I prepared the egg. Season it with magic sarap and half a teaspoon of salt. Poured in cooking oil in the cooking pot. When the oil is hot enough, I put the sliced ampalaya in the cooking pot, waited for it to smell in 4-5 minutes. After that, I put the beaten egg and mix it for about 5 minutes as well.
Then I removed my ampalaya with egg specialty from the cooking pot to a medium-sized bowl. Then I ate it right after I took a photo of it. Below are some photos of my ampalaya with egg:
Stay healthy and live a happy life! ;)