Spotlight: Bitter Melon (Ampalaya)

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Ampalaya contains a chemical (lectin) that acts like insulin to help reduce blood sugar levels. It’s used for ulcers, colitis, constipation, and intestinal worms. It’s also used for diabetes, kidney stones, fever, psoriasis, and liver disease; to start menstruation; as a supportive treatment for people with HIV/AIDS, and to suppress growth of certain types of cancer cells.

Diabetes: Ampalaya can lower blood sugar levels. If you take medications to lower your blood sugar, adding bitter melon might make your blood sugar drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Topical: Bitter melon is used for deep skin infections (abscesses) and wounds. Chew several leaves and place them on the wound; wrap with a clean cloth; change twice daily for several days.

Tea: Boil 2-4 leaves (fresh or dried) in 2 cups boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Flavor with lemon or lemongrass. Strain into a cup and drink hot. Add honey to sweeten. Add leftover boiled leaves to soups, stews, or casseroles. The leaves, vine, and fruit are edible.

Read more on the 2016 Chronicles page.

(This article was originally published on 100216 in Issue 2 of the EBG Newsletter.)