There a lot of hidden gem you probably don’t realize available in your back yard all the time in the form of herbal plants, fruit tree or just bushes. Among them are health benefits of karela leaves which have been well known as effective home remedy. Karela is fruit tree commonly found in Asia regions and quite easy to be planted. They even could grow in the wild from the left over seeds thrown away by people without knowing about the possible bitter melon benefits.
What is Karela?
Karela is a fruit tree which leaves and fruits have some medical properties with amazing benefits to human health. Karela is Tamil word for bitter gourd or bitter melon from the genus Momordica with scientific name Momordica charantia. This plant is originated from India and could easily found in all Asia regions and has been part of Asian cuisines since it was introduced for the first time to China in 14th century. The other name of karela leaves are ampalaya leaves and below is the health benefits of ampalaya leaves you may not know.
Nutritional Value of Karela Leaves
Karela leaves are rich of vitamin A and contain some organic compounds that have hypoglycemic effects that have been proven to be effective in lowering blood sugar level. To find out more about the health benefits of karela leaves, the list as below:
- Lowering Blood Sugar Level
Based on the animal study, karela leaves contains certain organic compounds such as charantin, vicine and polypeptide P which are effective to lower blood sugar level and at the same time is reducing the resistance of insulin by regulating the metabolism of carbohydrate. So, that’s why the benefits of bitter gourd for diabetes are not just an assumption but already proven scientifically.
- Contains Anti-microbial Properties
There are a lot of conditions which root are actually bacteria, fungal or virus. Karela leaves contain some anti-microbial properties that are beneficial for human health such as dealing with skin conditions, digestive problem and so on.
- Support Immunity System
Karela leaves are rich of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B complex. Those combinations are making karela leaves a super potent immunity booster. Vitamin A and vitamin C are excellent antioxidants while vitamin B will make sure your body metabolism is working properly.
- Treating HIV
Though further studies about the possibility of karela leaves to treat HIV is still required but the fact that the karela leaves are super potent immunity system may help reducing the symptoms caused by HIV virus. Those who have been infected by HIV should maintain their immunity system well and since karela leaves are potent immunity booster is one of the reasons why it is possible to treat HIV.
- Remedy to Various Types of Cancer
Some studies have shown that consuming karela leaves regularly may be able to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, especially in breast cancer.
- Natural Remedy to Malaria
All foods and plants which have bitter flavor is good for malaria is not a myth at all because there are some studies that are dedicated to proof about the health benefits of bitter leaf like karela leaves may become the effective solution to disease like Malaria. Furthermore the combination of anti-inflammatory and astringent properties may help in reducing the fever caused by Malaria.
- Possible Treatment to Herpes
Herpes is just one of the skin conditions that are quite common but not easy to deal with because it causes by virus. Well, karela leaves contains anti-viral properties that could kill virus. Furthermore, karela leaves also contains quite potent anti-inflammation properties that could assist in accelerating the healing.
- Prevent Hypertension
Traditionally, karela leaves have been used to treat hypertension. Some studies have stated that karela leaves contains potassium in quite high amount. One of the things that may cause hypertension is the high sodium level in the blood and only potassium that could help neutralizing it. If karela leaves could prevent hypertension then it is possible to prevent stroke and heart attack as well.
- Natural Contraceptive
If you are currently looking for natural solution as contraception, you could use karela leaves. Some research and animal studies have found that karela leaves contain certain type of protein that may act as antifertility for both men and women. So, though further studies are still required about whether the effect is only short term or long term.
- Body Detoxifier
You need to detoxify your body regularly especially your liver since its function is very essential for your body metabolism. Consuming just the right amount of karela leaves juice may help detoxifying your liver naturally by eliminating the inflammation of your liver and improve its function. However, you should be careful as well that the large dosage of karela leaves may damage your liver as well.
Cautions of Karela Leaves
Though some studies have published the list of possible positive effects of karela but taking the leaves as herbs with no dosage reference may lead to some problems such as:
- Karela leaves may be great for diabetic because it could lower the blood sugar level but don’t take it together with medications with similar effect because they may cause the drop of blood sugar.
- If somehow you are allergic to plants from Cucurbitaceae family is better for you to avoid karela leaves as well.
- Pregnant mother is forbidden to consume karela leaves because studies stated that karela contains mormordicine alkaloids that may increase the risk of miscarriage.
- Indian Journal of Gastroenterology once has published the possibility of karela leaves to cause hematemesis, so it is forbidden for you who have stomach problem to consume karela leaves extract.
So, don’t be intimidated by its bitter flavor which is probably not suitable for most people because asides from all the delicious dishes made from karela fruit, the health benefits of ampalaya or the health benefits of karela leaves have been used as part of Ayurvedic practice, though for some points further studies are still strongly required.