Small Bitter Gourd
Common Name: bitter gourd, bitter melon, bitter apple, bitter squash, balsam-pear
Scientific Name: Momordica charantia
Family Name: Cucurbitaceae
Bitter melon originated from India and was introduced into China during the 14th century. After this bitter melon has become a Chinese household regular vegetable and is as popular now as it was a few hundred years ago. Bitter melon taste “bitter,” just as the name suggests. The texture can be either crunchy or soft depending on how you prepare it. In Chinese culture it’s believed eating bitter melon can help reduce blood sugar, help your liver recover and detox your body.
Bitter melon is especially rich in vitamin C, an important micronutrient involved in disease prevention, bone formation, and wound healing. It’s also high in vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes skin health and proper vision. It provides folate, which is essential for growth and development, as well as smaller amounts of potassium, zinc, and iron. Thanks to its potent medicinal properties, bitter melon has long been used by indigenous populations around the world to help treat diabetes-related conditions. In recent years, several studies confirmed the fruit’s role in blood sugar control.