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Bitter Melon

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 6, 2022.

What are other common names?

  • Momordica charantia
  • African Cucumber
  • Ampalaya
  • Art Pumpkin
  • Balsam Apple
  • Balsam Pear
  • Balsambirne
  • Balsamine
  • Balsamo
  • Bitter Apple
  • Bitter Cucumber
  • Bitter Gourd
  • Bitter Melon
  • Bitter Squash
  • Bittergurke
  • Carilla Cundeamor
  • Carilla Fruit
  • Carilla Gourd
  • Cerasee
  • Karela
  • Margose
  • Melon Amer
  • Vegetable Insulin
  • Wild Cucumber

What is this product used for?

Bitter melon is a vegetable. It is also sold as a dietary supplement product. Some people use it as a medicine but science does not support its use for any health problem.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with other drugs or natural products.

  • This product may interfere with some lab tests. Be sure to talk with your doctor about this and all drugs you are taking.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor that you take this product if you are scheduled for surgery or tests.

  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Use birth control you can trust while taking this product.

  • Do not take this product if you are breastfeeding.

  • Do not take this product if you were born with a condition called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs for blood sugar problems. These are drugs like glipizide, glyburide, rosiglitazone, repaglinide, or insulin.

  • If you have blood sugar problems, keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood sugar.

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Liver problems

    • Alcohol problems

    • Metabolic disorders

    • Diabetes

    • Infection

    • Problems with your heart beat or rhythm

What should I watch for?

  • Stomach cramps

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Signs of liver problems. These include upset stomach or throwing up, belly pain, feeling tired, dark urine, yellow skin or eyes, not hungry.

  • Signs of low blood sugar. These include hunger, dizziness, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, or sweating.

  • Very bad belly pain

  • Very bad loose stools

  • Very bad headache

Last Reviewed Date


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