Momordica charantia L.

Momordica charantia L.

Botanical Name:       Momordica charantia L.Momordica charantia L. 

Synonym:                    Momordicachinensis,

Kingdom:                     Plantae

Order:                           Cucurbitales

Family:                         Cucurbitaaceae

Genus:                          Momordica

Local Name:               Karela

English Name:           Bitter melon, bitter gourd

Sindhi Name:

Part Used:                    Leaves and fruit



Momordicacharantia L. occurs as a tree, 16ftin height. It is monoecious, climber with unbranched tendrils. Its stem are glabrous and hairy. It bears  simple and alternative leaves which are suborbicular to oblicular, 5-10m in length and width with deeply separated in 5-7 lobed form. Petioles are 1.5-3.5 cm in length. Flowers are yellow in colour , solitary and 3cm in length. Male peduncles bearing bracts about or below the middle  and 7.0cm long. Calyx of flower is pubescent. Corolla is slightly zygomorphic with obtuse and obovate lobes. Ovary is fusiform and muricate. Fruit of this plant is oblong-fusiform or oval and 7-25 cm long .Seeds are oblong , 1-1.5cm in length, 6-9cm in width and embedded in red pulp. Seeds are not intensely bitter and fruit is mostly green in colour .[1].


M.charantiais widely distributed in tropical South Africa, South East and far East Asia to Australia. This fruit is also popularly found in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal .

Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases

Peel of Momordica charantia L. (Bitter gourd) is mixed with fullers earth and applied on the affected area for curing abscess in District Sukkur (Sindh).

Chemical Constituents.

The specific chemical constituents of M.charantia are momordicin, charantin, galacturonic acid, linoleic acid, spinasterol, nerolidolcitrulin, flavochrome [2], momordicolide, monordicophenoide A, blumenol, guanosine, uracil, and cytosine. adenosine, [3],  α-eleostearic acid, lineolic acid, and palmatic acid [4], cucurbitacin B , and Rutin [5].

Chemical Structure:

Momordica charantia

Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific Studies

Traditionally, this plant is used in for treatment of gastrointestinal ulcer. The extracts of this plant has immunostimulating and immunosuppressive effects [2]. Juice of M.charantia is used for the treatment of chronic colitis and bacillary dysentery. The cooked fruit is eaten for curing catarrh, flux and cough [4]. The various parts of this plant are used for the treatment of many disease like cholera, bronchitis, anemia, blood diseases, ulcer, diarrhea, dysentery and gonnorhea, hyperlipidemia, digestive disorder,  and microbial infections [6, 7]. This plant is also reported to have antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammation, antivirus and cholesterol lowering effects. [7].


  1. Flora of Pakistan:
  2. Madhu Gupta, Sushil Sharma, Ajay K. Gautam and Rekha Bhadauria(2011). Momordica charantia linn.(karela):nature’s silent healer. International journal of pharmaceutical sciences review and research .ISSN 0976 -044X Volume 11, Issue 1;article 007
  3. Li QY, Liang H, Wang B, Zhao YY (2009). Chemical constituents of Momordica charantia , sep ;44(9):1014-8.
  4. Kuri E Yuwai, Koyylamudi Sundar Rao, Chalapin Kaluwin , Gwyn P.Jones and Donald E.Rivett.(1991). Chemical composition of Momordica charantia L.fruits . Journal of agricultural and food chemistry.
  5. Pornngarm Limtrakul, Pornsiri Pitchakarn and Shugo Suzuki. (2013). Kuguacin J, a triterpenoid from Momordica charantia Linn: A Comprehensive Review of anticarcinogenic Properties. Doi.Org/10.5772/55532.
  6. Kirtikar KR and Basu BD: Indian medicinal plant. (1987);1130.
  7. Baby Joseph and D Jini .(2013). Antidiabetics effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency. Asian pacific journal , vol 3 (2).