The health benefits of Bitter melon tea have been recognized for their observed potency in the area of regulating blood sugar levels.
Bitter melon is an herbaceous tendril-bearing vine that widely grows in tropical and subtropical areas, such as parts of East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean islands, and parts of South America. It has dainty yellow flowers.
The bitter melon plant is a member of the squash family and grows up to a height of about 5 meters. It bears an oblong-shaped fruit that has a pockmarked and warty exterior. It is green in color but turns yellow when ripe. It has a hollow cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity that is filled with large flat seeds and pith. Its flesh is crunchy and watery in texture while its skin is tender and edible. True to its name, the taste of the fruit is very bitter.
The bitter melon is extensively used as an ingredient in many dishes in places such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Bitter melon contains several bioactive compounds that activate a certain protein in the body that is well known for regulating fuel metabolism and enabling glucose uptake, processes which are impaired in diabetics. It also contains a lectin that has an insulin-like activity. It is said to lower blood glucose by acting on peripheral tissues and suppresses the appetite.
To make bitter melon tea, place a handful of the leaves in a pot of boiling water. Boil the mix until the water turns green. Turn the temperature into a simmer and let the mix stand for about 5 minutes. This tastes quite bitter.
Alternatively, the bitter melon fruit can also be made into a tea. But most cultures prefer to make use of the leaves for making tea while using the fruit as an addition to dishes.
The following are the health benefits attributed to bitter melon tea:
- The tea is said to help in regulating blood sugar levels. Hence, it is widely used as herbal remedy by many type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients.
- May help in the treatment of abdominal gas and colic.
- Tea made from the leaves may help in the treatment of liver problems.
- The tea is used to treat ulcers in different parts of the body.
- May help stimulate digestion. It may also help ease symptoms of dyspepsia and constipation.
- Has shown promise in the treatment of HIV.
- The tea should NEVER be taken in conjuncture with any form of diabetes medication. Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid taking bitter melon tea as its safety during that time has not yet been scientifically established.