15 Best Health benefits and uses of Bitter Gourd (Karela)


Bitter gourd also known as bitter melon or karela is infamously famous for its bitter taste. This is the reason why most of us avoid it from our meals. However, there are lots of health benefits and uses of bitter gourd (karela).

This light to the dark green color oval-shaped pod is grown mostly in tropical regions. The flesh inside is white and consists of rough-edged seeds. Bitter gourd comes packed with plenty of nutritional benefits which are vital to maintaining your overall health.

Nutritional Facts of Bitter Gourd   

  • Bitter gourd is the member of the gourd (Cucurbitaceae) family and consists of phytonutrients like dietary fiber, several vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. It is extremely low in calories, consisting of only 17 calories per 100 g.
  • Bitter gourd consists of phytonutrients like polypeptide – P which is plant insulin that brings down blood sugar level.
  • A 100 gm of bitter gourd contains 72 pg folates. Bitter gourd being a rich source of folates enables to reduce the neutral tube defects incidence in the fetus. Therefore, it can be consumed by mothers during the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Fresh bitter gourd also consists of large amount of vitamin C (100 g of bitter gourd provides 84 mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is the potent antioxidant which assists to remove harmful free radicals from the human body.
  • Bitter gourd is also a good source of dietary fiber. 100 g of bitter gourd contains 2.8g of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • In addition, bitter gourd has moderate amounts of various B-complex vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, manganese and potassium.

Health Benefits and uses of Bitter Gourd

Want to know the best part of this article? You can get in-depth information about how to use the bitter gourd to treat various medical conditions. Just have a look at some of the methods which are given below.

1. Bitter Gourd for Respiratory Disorders

Bitter gourd is a rich source of Vitamin C.  High vitamin C intake helps to bring down the risk of respiratory infections.

Bitter Gourd Juice with Honey

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd (medium size) – 2
  • Water – 1 glass
  • Honey – 3 tbsp
  • Knife – 1
  • Spoon – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Take 2 medium sized bitter gourds and cut them from a center by using a sharp knife.
  2. Remove the seeds and white flesh with the help of a spoon.
  3. Next slice the green part of bitter gourds in small pieces.
  4. Put the pieces in the glass of water and blend properly.
  5. Let it soak for around 5 minutes and then strain it to get rid of solid pieces.
  6. Your bitter gourd juice is now ready.
  7. Now add 3 tbsp of honey to this juice.
  8. Drink regularly to get complete relief from asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.

2. Bitter Gourd to Control Diabetes

Bitter gourd is extremely effective for both Type 1 as well as Type 2 diabetics. Bitter gourd helps to combat diabetics because its lowers sugar levels in both blood and urine. It consists of vicine, charantin, & polypeptide-p which have anti-diabetic properties.

Bitter Gourd Salad

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd (medium sized) – 2
  • Red onion (medium sized) – 1
  • Tomatoes (ripe) – 2
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Knife – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Take 2 medium sized bitter gourds and cut them crosswise by using a knife and remove its seeds.
  2. Also, cut 1 medium sized red onion into thin slices along with 2 ripe tomatoes.
  3. Now add these sliced onions and tomatoes to the bitter gourd slices.
  4. Sprinkle around ½ tsp of salt for taste on the salad.
  5. Eat this healthy bitter gourd salad daily to control diabetes.

Note:  You can also drink ½ cup of bitter gourd juice every morning on an empty stomach to combat diabetes.

3. Bitter Gourd to Cure Blood Disorders

Bitter gourd consists of blood purifying properties which make it an excellent remedy for curing blood disorders like itching and blood boils. Bitter gourd enables to detoxify the impurities present in the blood.

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd juice – 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 2 tbsp

What you need to do:

  1. Mix 4 tbsp of bitter gourd juice with 2 tbsp of lemon juice.
  2. Drink it on an empty stomach regularly for around 4 to 6 months and experience improvement in your condition.
  3. This remedy is an efficient treatment for blood disorders.

4. Bitter Gourd Tea for a Healthy Immune System

The healthy immune system is important to combat various infections and diseases. Regular consumption of bitter gourd assists to boost immunity. The antioxidant property present in bitter gourd acts as a strong defense mechanism against different ailments.

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd – 1
  • Water (hot) – 1 cup
  • Knife – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Take a bitter gourd and cut it into 4 to 5 small pieces.
  2. Remove the seeds and steep the pieces in a cup filled with hot water for around 5 minutes.
  3. Your bitter gourd tea is now ready.
  4. Drink a cup of bitter gourd tea daily to strengthen your immune system.

5. Bitter Gourd Liver Tonic

Out of the several health benefits and uses of bitter gourd (karela), its benefits for liver health cannot be underestimated. Bitter gourd contains hepatic properties which promote your liver’s filtering functions thereby removing dangerous toxins from the liver.

So want to try a liver tonic made using bitter gourd, apple, cucumber & other ingredients? Just have a look at the recipe given below.

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd – 1
  • Apples – 2
  • Celery stalks – 2
  • Cucumber – 1
  • Lemon – 1
  • Knife (sharp) – 1
  • Spoon – 1
  • Juicer – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Take a sharp knife and cut the bitter gourd in half
  2. Next, remove its seeds and white flesh by using a spoon.
  3. Chop the remaining ingredients.
  4. Take the outer green part of bitter gourd along with other chopped ingredients and process them in a juicer.
  5. Stir for some time.
  6. Drink this liver tonic daily to cure your liver problems.

6. Bitter Melon to Combat Cancer

Bitter melon or bitter gourd due to its anti-cancer properties is an effective home remedy for cancer. The antioxidants present in bitter melon help to ward off free-radical damage that can lead to different types of cancer. Bitter melon can assist to bring down the risk of prostate, cervical & breast cancers.

Bitter melon juice – Banana Pulp – Crushed Ice Combo

What you need:

  • Bitter melons (de-seeded & skinned) – 2
  • Banana – 1
  • Crushed Ice – 1 cup
  • Blender – 1
  • Mint leaves – 4 to 5
  • Glass (empty) – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Peel the banana and mash it gently with your hand to create a pulp.
  2. Next, take a green portion of 2 bitter melons, a cup of crushed ice, and a banana pulp & put them in a blender.
  3. Switch on the blender and let the ingredients process in it for few seconds.
  4. Pour the mixture into a glass and decorate the top with 4 to 5 mint leaves.
  5. Consume this mixture every alternate day to fight off cancer-causing enzymes.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can cause you severe pain especially in the back and abdomen area. Bitter gourd enables to remove the kidney stones from your system by breaking them down naturally. It also reduces high acid that leads to the production of kidney stones in your body.

What you need:

  • Bitter melon juice – ½ glass
  • Water – ½ glass
  • Spoon – 1

What you need to do

  1. Pour a ½ glass of bitter melon juice in a glass half filled with water.
  2. Mix it well by using a spoon.
  3. Drink this juice daily to get rid of kidney stones naturally from your system.

7. Bitter Gourd Treatment for Intestinal Worms

Bitter gourd is a useful remedy for expelling intestinal worms from your system. Bitter gourd consists of anthelmintic compounds that help to destroy intestinal worms in your body.

What you need:

  • Bitter melon seeds (dried & crushed) – 8 to 10
  • Clarified butter – ½ tsp

What you need to do:

  1. Take 8 to 10 dried and crushed bitter melon seeds.
  2. Fry them in a ½ tsp of clarified butter
  3. Consume it 2 times a day for a week to remove parasites from your body.

8. Bitter Gourd Treatment for Weight Loss

Is extra flab on your body worrying you lately? Now, stop worrying because one of the best parts of the bitter gourd is that it is low in calories and extremely feeling. Bitter gourd comes packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants which aid weight loss. This green vegetable is also high in dietary fiber.

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd (de-seeded & skinned) –2
  • Water – 1 glass
  • Pot – 1
  • Salt – ½ tsp

What you need to do:

  1. Take 2 de-seeded and skinned bitter gourds.
  2. Pour water in a pot, add bitter gourds in it & put it to boil
  3. Let it boil for around 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Now sprinkle ½ tsp of salt over these boiled bitter gourds.
  5. Eat this boiled ‘karela’ at least 3 to 4 times a week for a fit body.

9. Bitter Gourd for Skin Care

Bitter gourd is a natural blood purifier and, therefore, is an effective remedy for skin care. The insulin-like compound present in bitter gourd lowers the blood-sugar levels. Lots of skin problems like aging and formation of wrinkles are associated with high blood sugar levels.

Applying bitter gourd topically or consuming it regularly will help you to solve various skin problems like boils, fungal infections, skin pigmentation, skin infections etc.

Bitter Gourd Benefits for Skin

  • Have bitter gourd juice daily for a glowing and blemish-free skin.
  • Bitter gourd with its skin purifying properties will also help to prevent acne.
  • Daily consumption of bitter gourd will assist to combat skin and fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
  • Having bitter gourd daily will provide your body ample amount of B vitamins. These vitamins play a vital role in repairing and rebuilding the skin tissues.  
  • Bitter gourd comes packed with minerals like manganese, magnesium, potassium and zinc. These minerals are extremely vital for a healthy and glowing skin.

Topical Application

10. Bitter Gourd Juice to Eradicate Pigmentation & Brown Spots

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd juice – ½ glass
  • Tomato juice – 4 tbsp
  • Lime juice – 4 tbsp
  • Bowl – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Take ½ a glass of bitter gourd juice and add 4 tbsp of tomato juice and an equal quantity of lime juice in it.
  2. Wash your face and neck & apply the mixture on it.
  3. Keep it on for the whole night and in the morning rinse it off using warm water.
  4. Do this every alternate day to get rid of brown spots and pigmentation on the skin.

11. Bitter Gourd Anti-Ageing Face Mask

What you need:  

  • Bitter gourd juice – ½ glass
  • Yogurt – 4 tbsp
  • Egg yolk – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Mix ½ glass of bitter gourd juice with 4 tbsp of yogurt.
  2. Smash an egg yolk and add it to the mixture.
  3. Apply this mask evenly on your face and neck.
  4. Allow it to stay for around 20 to 25 minutes and then remove it by rubbing in circular movements.
  5. Wash the residue using warm water.
  6. Use this anti-aging mask 2 times a week to slow down the aging process.

12. Bitter Gourd for Hair Care

Bitter gourd is an excellent natural remedy to cure various hair problems like hair loss, split ends, dandruff, itchy scalp, and so on. This is because bitter gourd contains rich proteins that are vital for strong and healthy hair. Now, let’s see how we can use the bitter gourd to treat various hair issues.

13. Bitter Gourd for Dandruff

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd juice – 4 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds paste – 2 tbsp

What you need to do:

  1. Take 4 tbsp of bitter gourd juice and add it to 2 tbsp of cumin seeds paste.
  2. Your hair pack is now ready.
  3. Spread the hair pack on your hair.
  4. Let it dry for some time and then wash using lukewarm water.
  5. Follow this process 3 to 4 times a week for dandruff control.   

14. Bitter Gourd for Split Ends

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd juice (raw) – ¼ glass
  • Comb – 1

What you need to do:

  1. Take a ¼ glass of raw bitter gourd juice.
  2. Apply it on your split ends.
  3. Now comb your hair gently.
  4. Do this 2 times a week to combat the problem of split ends.

15. Bitter Gourd Treats Hair Loss

What you need:

  • Bitter gourd juice – 4 tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp

What you need to do:

  1. Prepare a paste by mixing 4 tbsp of bitter gourd juice with 1 tsp of sugar.
  2. Spread this paste evenly on your scalp.
  3. Allow it to stay for around 5 minutes till it becomes dry.
  4. Rinse off using water or a mild shampoo.
  5. Follow this process every alternate day to cure the hair loss issue.     

 Other Health Benefits

Controls Cholesterol:  Bitter gourd consists of antioxidants and phytonutrients which assist in improving your high-density lipoproteins level i.e. good cholesterol. This, in turn, lowers your low-density lipoproteins level also known as bad cholesterol. Add bitter gourd to your diet to keep cholesterol level in check.

Constipation:  Bitter gourd consists of cellulose which is a type of fiber that acts as an excellent digestive agent. Therefore, consume bitter gourd daily for easy digestion and keep your constipation problem at bay.

Healthy Eyes:  Have a glass of bitter gourd juice every day to improve your eyesight. Bitter gourd is a rich source of beta-carotene which makes it one of the best home remedy for eye health.

Cures Hangover: Hangover after a heavy drinking session can be extremely frustrating. Want to know the best part of the bitter gourd? Just drink ½ a glass of bitter gourd juice after heavy drinking to get rid of a hangover. This is because bitter gourd contains potent alcohol anti-intoxication properties.

 Important Tips

  • Buy tender, fresh and dark-green bitter gourds which are not having any cuts on their surfaces.
  • It is advisable to choose tender and fresh bitter gourds as they are less bitter. As bitter gourds mature they taste bitterer.
  • Do not buy bitter gourds which have become orange or yellow.
  • Store bitter gourd pods in a vegetable bin or in a plastic zip pouch and keep it in the refrigerator at a proper temperature. They can stay fresh for a week when refrigerated.
  • Do not keep bitter melon at room temperature or with other vegetable and fruits. This will make them more bitter.
  • Wash the bitter gourd under cold running water before you use it for cooking or juicing purpose.
  • Immerse the bitter gourd pieces in salt water for around 10 minutes to reduce its bitterness.
  • Bitter gourd juice tastes better when honey or apple juice is added to it.
  • Do not eat more than 2 bitter gourds in a day. This is because; over consumption can lead to diarrhea or mild abdominal pain.
  • Pregnant women should consume a small amount of bitter gourd as excessive intake can cause preterm labor.

The above article provides in-depth details about health benefits and uses of bitter gourd (Karela). So, make bitter gourd a part of your daily diet and reap its numerous health benefits. In case you have any more information about this wonder food please let us know.