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Bitter Melon

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. 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

2021-03-26

Consumer information use

This generalized information is a limited summary of diagnosis, treatment, and/or medication information. It is not meant to be comprehensive and should be used as a tool to help the user understand and/or assess potential diagnostic and treatment options. It does NOT include all information about conditions, treatments, medications, side effects, or risks that may apply to a specific patient. It is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a health care provider based on the health care provider's examination and assessment of a patient’s specific and unique circumstances. Patients must speak with a health care provider for complete information about their health, medical questions, and treatment options, including any risks or benefits regarding use of medications. This information does not endorse any treatments or medications as safe, effective, or approved for treating a specific patient. UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates disclaim any warranty or liability relating to this information or the use thereof. The use of this information is governed by the Terms of Use, available at https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/know/clinical-effectiveness-terms

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