Bitter melon is a fruit that grows in Asia, South America, East Africa, and the Caribbean. It has been used to ease swelling and lower blood glucose. It can be eaten fresh or cooked. It can also be taken as a pill or powder.
1 to 3 grams once per day
What Research Shows
May Be Effective
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely safe to eat bitter melon for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:
A1. Fuangchan A, Sonthisombat P, et al. Hypoglycemic effect of bitter melon compared with metformin in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Mar 24;134(2):422-428.
A2. Ooi CP, Yassin Z, et al. Momordica charantia for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;15(8):CD007845.
A3. Inayat U Rahman, Khan RU, et al. Lower hypoglycemic but higher antiatherogenic effects of bitter melon than glibenclamide in type 2 diabetic patients. Nutr J. 2015 Jan 26;14:13.
A4. Krawinkel MB, Ludwig C, et al. Bitter gourd reduces elevated fasting plasma glucose levels in an intervention study among prediabetics in Tanzania. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Apr 24;216:1-7.
A5. Cortez-Navarrete M, Martínez-Abundis E, et al. Momordica charantia Administration Improves Insulin Secretion in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. J Med Food. 2018 Jul;21(7):672-677.
B. Knee Osteoarthritis
B1. Soo May L, Sanip Z, et al. The effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) supplementation in patients with primary knee osteoarthritis: A single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018;32:181-186.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 9/9/2019
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.