Bitter melon is used to treat gastrointestinal problems and other stomach issues, as well as ulcers, constipation, colitis and intestinal worms. It is also used to treat diabetes, kidney stones, fevers, psoriasis and liver disease. Bitter melon can be used on the skin to help treat abscesses and other wounds, as well as a supportive treatment for those with AIDS or HIV.
Although bitter melon is part of a variety of treatments, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not it is actually effective. So far, research results determining its effectiveness as a treatment for diabetes have been conflicting and inconclusive. Some studies have shown that fruit from the bitter melon, its juice or bitter melon extract improves glucose tolerance in people with type 2 diabetes. These studies also show that it reduces blood sugar levels, and lowers HbA1c as well. Other research that has been conducted regarding the effectiveness of bitter melon has not been promising. Studies have also found that bitter melon may have a moderate interaction with diabetes medication. Both bitter melon and diabetes medications are designed to lower blood sugar, so taking both substances together can cause blood sugar levels to drop too dangerously low levels.
Bitter melon also has many nutritional benefits. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C. It also contains magnesium, folate, zinc, manganese, phosphorous and fiber. The vegetable is also rich in iron, beta carotene, calcium and potassium. Plus, it contains unique phytonutrients that have hypoglycemic effects and can help patients with diabetes keep their blood sugar in the normal range.