This fruit looks like a wrinkly cucumber, and it’s a member of the pumpkin and squash family, to which cucumbers and melons belong as well. It comes from the tropics, and it grows in the Caribbean, Asia and South America. It is also called bitter gourd, bitter squash or balsam-pear.
Eastern civilizations have known the health protecting properties of bitter melon for several thousand years. It has been used to treat skin diseases, kidney stones, malaria, intestinal cramps, glaucoma, high cholesterol level, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, high fever and high blood pressure.
This very special fruit contains a lot of active ingredients that offer a shield against bacterial and viral infections and protect the immune system. According to expert studies, it also contains anti-carcinogen substances, and can be used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Bitter melon contains natural chemicals that stimulate glucose in entering the blood stream, from where the excess amount of glucose will be eliminated, and thus the blood sugar level is lowered.
A new study performed at St. Louis University demonstrated that bitter melon extract inhibits and even destroys cancerous cells in the breast. This extract can be used as a dietary supplement, and it is especially recommended to those women who have a history of breast cancer in their family.
Of course, the fruit can also be eaten raw, or blended to make a refreshing drink. The extract made from the fruit can be procured from health stores.