bitter melon

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bitter melon

1. A tropical annual vine (Momordica charantia) native to Asia, having yellow flowers and orange, warty fruits that open at maturity to expose red-coated seeds. Various parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine or for food.
2. The immature green fruit of this plant, eaten as a vegetable. In both senses also called bitter gourd.

bitter melon

The fruit of a Chinese vine related to cucumbers, administered in tea, capsules or retention enemas, which allegedly “purifies” blood, prevents viral infections and has antiretroviral activity. It has been used for managing diabetes, gastrointestinal complaints and cancer.

bit·ter mel·on

(bit'ĕr mel'ŏn)
Momordica charantia, tropical fruit that is typically consumed as a juice, although sometimes eaten. Limited studies suggest use in Type 2 diabetes; also purportedly of value as an antiinfective.

bitter melon,

n Latin name:
Momordica charantia L.; parts used: fruit, seeds, seed oil, leaves; uses: antidiabetic, antiinfective, antipyretic, anthelmintic, laxative, possible antifungal, androgenic, antiviral, antimalarial actions; possibly useful for infertility; precautions: pregnancy, lactation, children, patients taking hypoglycemic medications; may cause uterine bleeding or contractions, hepatotoxicity; seeds are toxic to children. Also called
balsam apple, balsam pear, bitter cucum-ber, bitter pear, carilla cundeamor, fu gwa, or
Enlarge picture
Bitter melon.


1. an austere and unpalatable taste like that of quinine.
2. a medicinal and culinary agent used as a tonic, alterative or appetizer.

bitter almond
a variety of Prunus amygdalus, the almond tree. Grown for the production of almond oil. The kernel of its seed contains sufficient cyanogenetic glycoside to be a possible cause of cyanide poisoning. The smell of bitter almonds is often quoted as being a characteristic finding in cases of cyanide poisoning in animals.
bitter bark
see alstoniaconstricta.
bitter melon
bitter rubberweed
bitter sneezeweed
bitter vetch