This fruit contains at least three active substances with anti-diabetic properties, including charantin, which many people confirm to have a blood glucose-lowering effect; vicine; and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p. These substances either work individually or together to help reduce blood sugar levels.

One may eat bitter melon in stir-frys or make it into a tea. Warning: Bitter melon may induce menstruation and is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. Some people suffer from gastrointestinal distress after consuming bitter melon. The red coating around the seeds may cause vomiting.

The case for bitter melon in diabetes keeps looking better and better. Additional information and new products have come out, though there are still no extensive studies on humans.

Anecdotally, some diabetics report bitter melon helps to lower their blood sugar. We advise you to be cautious with bitter melon (or anything else purported to lower your blood sugar) if you are taking insulin or any other diabetes medication that lowers your blood sugar.

DISCLAIMER: Be sure to advise your doctor of any supplements and OTC medications you are using besides your prescription medications.


The Diabetes Council Team. “Surprising Benefits of Bitter Melon for Diabetes,” The Diabetes Council, n.d. (accessed on 8/3/2020).

Joseph, Baby; and D. Jini. “Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency,” Asian Pac J Trop Dis. 2013 Apr; 3(2): 93–102. doi: 10.1016/S2222-1808(13)60052-3. (accessed on 8/3/2020).

Shenker, Maura. “How to Use Bitter Melon to Lower Blood Sugar,” Livestrong, n.d. (accessed on 8/3/2020).

Spero, David, BSN, RN. “Bitter Melon Diabetes News,” Diabetes Self-management (July 8, 2015). (accessed on 8/3/2020).

Bitter melon is used as a vegetable in India and other Asian countries and as an ingredient in some kinds of curries.

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