Bitter gourd plant is a fast growing creeper and is from the family of vines. It is also known as nutritious gourd and bitter melon. Bitter gourd plants vary shape, size and colour but the medicinal uses make bitter melon more important and distinct than other medicinal plants.

The most important use of bitter gourd is, it reduces the blood sugar level and is very good for diabetic patients. Bitter gourd has lots of medicinal uses so you can plant them easily in your garden.

  • Scientific Name : Momordica Charantia L.
  • Family : Cucurbitacea
  • Common names : Bitter gourd, Bitter melon, Bitter cucumber, Karela (Hindi), Balsam pear, Balsam apple
  • Best Season : Throughout the year
  • Nutritional Value : 44 kcal, 5.6 g protein, 290 mg calcium, 5 mg iron, 5.1 mg vitamin A, 170 mg vitamin C per 100 g serving.


Growing Information 

Bitter gourd is a fast growing warm seasonal climbing annual, native to South Asia. Considered one of the most nutritious gourds, the plant has medicinal properties.


Time Bitter gourd plant is a seasonal vine that flourish in warm, humid and hot climate with proper availability of sunlight. It grows and turns out well if planted in mid and late spring (during the month of April and May). 

Preparation of Soil

Bitter melon can either be planted with the seeds or by transplantation. Firstly, dig a ½ inch deep pit and spread two to three seeds inside. For better results before sowing, soak the seeds one day in advance. After sowing the seeds, water lightly. In a two or three days time the seeds will germinate and these germinated seeds can be replanted.

For better re-plantation a raised bed of 18-20 inches apart have to be created. At the time of transplantation you need to be very careful so that you do not disturb the roots of the plant.. As bitter gourd is a creeper plant, it needs support to grow. Use a wire or a string to set the plant. 

Nurturing Bitter gourd plants do not require much care and nurturing. Regular watering is essential as the bitter melon plant requires a lot of water for it's growth and survival. In a month's time the flowers will appear and fruition occurs in the mid of two to four months.

Use urea based fertiliser to the soil once fruits begin to develop. The process continues every two weeks and pour water is essential after adding fertilisers. The plant is also prone to many diseases and insect pests so has to be checked from time to time. For avoiding pests on fruits, wrap it with newspapers when they are grown about an inch. 


When the fruit turns light green in colour and the inside is white, bitter and juicy, you can pluck out the bitter gourd (basically it takes 3-4 months of plantation). 

Re-planting bitter gourd

If you wish to re-plant bitter gourd the next season, leave some fruits so that they get completely dried. Once fully dried , the fruit will open and you can collect the white or brown colour seeds for further sowing.


 Special Notes



To prepare bitter melon, slice the fruit open and remove seeds and pith. Do not peel. Beginners to bitter melon may parboil the fruit to lessen bitterness, although aficionados say this changes the texture too much.

Typically bitter melon is stuffed, pickled, or curried and served with meat or in soup. The fruit pairs well with other strong flavors, like garlic, Chinese black beans, chili peppers, or coconut milk. Frequently, bitter melon is stuffed with pork or shrimp and steamed.

Bitter melon enables glucose uptake and is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat Type 2 diabetes. If you suffer from hypoglycemia, use caution consuming bitter melon. The combination of the melon plus the drugs typically used to treat hypoglycemia can decrease blood sugar levels to dangerously low levels.

Health Benefits

Bitter gourd lowers blood glucose levels: Bitter gourd treatments of cell cultures or feeding trials with laboratory animals such as mice or rats show bitter gourd does have blood glucose lowering properties. Bitter gourd is not like most medicinal drugs, which are effective only in one target organ or tissue; rather, it influences glucose metabolism all over the body. 

Bitter gourd lowers dietary carbohydrate digestion: The glucose metabolism starts in the gut. Carbohydrates and sugars are metabolized to glucose (one type of sugar) before glucose is transported from the gut to the blood. Bitter gourd reduces the amount of glucose that is released into the blood by inhibiting the enzymes that break down disaccharides to two monosaccharides. This effect is important for the treatment of both Type I and Type II diabetic patients and helps to prevent high blood sugar levels after meals.  

Bitter gourd plant insulin discovered: The pancreas reacts to increasing blood sugar levels by secreting insulin into the blood. Insulin helps to transport the sugar from the blood to the skeletal muscle and the fat tissue where it is used to produce energy. Insulin will also stop the liver to produce sugar from glycogen storages and to release the sugar into the blood.Thus, insulin is necessary to lower high blood sugar levels. 

Bitter gourd reverses insulin resistance: Bitter gourd can play a role in the prevention and treatment of Type II diabetes, which is also called insulin-independent diabetes or adult onset diabetes. This form of the disease usually occurs in people who are overweight and inactive. People with insulin resistance or those with a high risk of developing Type II diabetes have a good chance to prevent and treat the disease without drugs by increasing their physical activity and changing their diet.  

Bitter gourd prevents diabetic complications: Chronically high sugar concentrations from Type I and Type II diabetes increase the risk of inflammation and oxidation in the whole body, leading to blindness, diabetic feet, kidney disease, stroke, or heart attack. Consuming bitter gourd can help prevent these complications, as it not only decreases blood sugar levels, but also has some antioxidative properties. 

Bitter gourd can protect the body from other non-communicable diseases: Being overweight is one of the most important risk factors for diabetes and other diseases, and Type II diabetes is often accompanied by hypertension, high plasma cholesterol, or high plasma lipids. Together, these conditions increase the risk of stroke or heart attack. Apart from this, bitter gourd helps weight loss.

There is also evidence that bitter gourd might be effective in cancer treatment.  


Dried bitter gourd and bitter gourd extract are available at most health food stores. You can brew bitter gourd tea by infusing dried leaves and fruit in boiling water for five to 10 minutes or by adding bitter gourd extract to preheated water. Although generally considered safe, do not consume bitter gourd if you are pregnant, since it can induce contractions.

It may also interact with some medications, especially insulin or other diabetes medicines. If you are diabetic, do not self-treat with bitter gourd tea; talk to your doctor to determine if it might help you.





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Bitter Gourd F1 Santur - Seeds

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