Momordica haraniya, or bitter cucumber, or Chinese bitter gourd (Latin Momordica charantia) – an annual herbaceous vine; species of the genus Momordica of the family Pumpkin (lat. Cucurbitaceae).
The birthplace of the species is the tropics of Asia. Grown worldwide in regions with warm climates, mainly in South and Southeast Asia, China and the Caribbean.
Momordika Charentia is a monoecious liana growing up to 4 m in length.
Stems pentahedral with longitudinal grooves and simple antennae.
The leaves have a flattened kidney-shaped or rounded shape, deeply notched into five to nine lobes, heart-shaped at the base. The petioles are 1–7 cm long. The size of the leaf blade is 2.5–10 × 3–12 cm. They are arranged alternately.
Flowers are unisexual, located one by one in the axils of the leaves. Five yellow petals.
The stalks are long. Fruits are first green, in the ripeness phase they turn bright yellow or orange; the surface is rough, with wrinkles and warts. The shape of the fruit is diverse, they can be cylindrical, spindle-shaped, oval). Sizes 3-15 (40) × 2-5 (8) cm.
The flesh of unripe fruits is pale green, dense juicy, very bitter.
Seeds of uneven shape (from flat ovoid to almost rectangular), bitter, 8-15 × 4-10 mm in size. They are located in a whitish, spongy-dry pulp. The color of the ripe seeds is red-brown.
The procurement of medicinal raw materials from the momordic of haranation is carried out taking into account certain features. Leaves are collected in May, during the formation of the plant. Fruits and seeds – in the summer, during full ripening. Root and rhizome are harvested mainly in autumn. The degree of maturity of the fetus is determined by the color and the open cusps from which the seeds peek. During the drying process, it is necessary to prevent the plant from decaying and direct sunlight.
Leaves, stems and seeds are harvested whole, and the fruit is cut into small slices before drying. It is necessary to store the dried ingredients in paper or cloth bags, or in glassware with a lockable lid. The various components of momordica retain their nutrients from 1 to 4 years (flowers and leaves 1-2 years, roots and rhizomes 2-3 years, fruits 3-4 years).
The fruit of the momordica of haranation is 80% water. 100 gr. the pulp of the fetus contains only 15-20 kcal.
Chemical composition: potassium, zinc, selenium, silicon, vitamins A, B, C, E, folic acid, pantothenic acid. The pericarp of the plant contains fatty oil and carotene. Mammordica seeds contain lycopene, glycoside momordicin and haratin. Triterpene saponins were found in the roots.
Momordica harania contains a lot of iron, twice as much beta-carotene than broccoli; twice as much calcium as in spinach; twice as much potassium as in a banana. In addition, it stimulates digestion and appetite. It is believed to prevent and treat malaria. Laboratory studies have shown that some compounds in this vegetable help treat HIV.
Momordica charantia has a hypoglycemic effect and is used as a folk remedy for type 2 diabetes, although further studies should be carried out.
A complex of biologically active substances and vitamins of momordica has a number of therapeutic effects: sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiemetic. Calcium, which is part of the plant, helps strengthen the skeleton and teeth.
According to the latest research conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Colorado (USA), the juice of Chinese bitter gourd (momordica) is able to destroy pancreatic cancer cells, as it limits the ability of pancreatic cancer cells to absorb glucose, i.e. deprives them of the opportunity to receive the necessary energy for growth and development. Also during experiments on mice, it was found that the use of momordic helps normalize the function of insulin production. The results of the experiments were published in the journal “Carcinogenesis”.
Momordica harania can be used for weight loss, as its components accelerate the metabolism, in particular, contribute to the breakdown of fats.
The plant is traditionally used in oriental medicine, as well as in traditional medicine of the indigenous peoples of South America.
Decoction and tincture of momordiki are used as a cold and immunomodulating agent.
Introduction to the diet of the fetus of the momordic of charania with diabetes reduces blood sugar.
Shredded leaves of momordica are effective in biting insects and snakes, they are applied to abscesses, burns and wounds.
Raw seeds are used to prevent cardiovascular disease, reduce bad cholesterol, and treat gastrointestinal infections.
Chaurence momordic root is used to prepare an expectorant for bronchitis.
The poisonous juice of momordica harana is used externally in the treatment of certain skin diseases, arthritis, rheumatism. Some healers use momordiki decoction for jade, prostatitis and urolithiasis.
In many countries of the world, it is considered a natural aphrodisiac.