The Bitter Fruit with Sweet Health Benefits: A Comprehensive Synopsis of Recent Research Progress on Medicinal Properties of Momordica Charantia

  • Evandro Fei Fang
  • Tzi Bun Ng


Though eliciting a somewhat ‘bitter’ taste to our palate, Momordica charantia (MC) is ‘sweet’ for our health. As a popular vegetable indigenous to tropical countries, MC is frequently encountered in the fields of both culinary usage and folklore medicine, especially in Asia. The advance of scientific techniques helps build a platform for investigating the molecular basis of the pharmaceutical functions of medicinal herbs including MC. Over the past few years, a number of pure bioactive components with potential medicinal applications have been procured as a consequence of in vitro and in vivo investigations. In this review, some representative and promising medicinal constituents of MC have been categorized and their emerging medicinal effects such as antitumor, anti-HIV, and anti-diabetic activities are accompanied by the pertinent molecular mechanisms. In addition, the wide range of antimicrobial and pesticidal activities will further validate the medicinal value of MC. Further large-scale clinical trials for those components are needed to fully ascertain their medicinal effects and potential drawbacks, and a new horizon in the treatment of tumor, AIDS, and diabetes may then be opened.


Hemagglutinating Activity Ehrlich Ascites Tumor Cell Bitter Gourd Bitter Melon Momordica Charantia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr. Jennifer Illuzzi at NIH for her invaluable feedback and critically reading the manuscript. This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Institute on Aging, USA.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life Sciences, Faculty of ScienceThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.Laboratory of Molecular GerontologyNational Institute on Aging, National Institutes of HealthBaltimoreUSA

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