10 Side Effects of Bitter Melon Most People Yet to Know

Momordica charantia or commonly known as bitter melon or bitter gourd is a tropical plant with edible fruits, varies in shape and bitterness. It is a type of vegetable consumed as sautéed or simply steamed food. Nowadays, there are so many different ways developed about how to consume this vegetable, such as salad mix, hot sauce, or juice.

That phenomenon shows a relatively high enthusiasm of this vegetable. Bitter melon even if it’s bitter turns out to be quite popular, especially after people find out various benefits that bitter melon gives.

This plant is also able to be consumed as medicine for several types of diseases, such as impotence, stroke, tumors, and diabetes. What makes it an effective curer of those diseases is the low calorie contained in it (17cal/100g), vitamins, and other active ingredients such as:

  • Folate, bitter melon is a source of folate for pregnant women during early pregnancy. 72mg of folate in 100 grams of bitter melon is considered high (18% of RDA). Folate can help minimizing the risk of nerve defect in newborns.
  • Flavonoid, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxantine are good ingredients for our health. These compounds can help ward of free radicals that can cause cancer and premature aging.
  • Phytonutrients, especially Polypeptide-P found in bitter melon are insulin which helps in maintaining normal level of blood glucose to avoid Type 2 Diabetes.
  • B-complex, such as niacin, iron, calcium, and manganese, has good effects on body health.
  • Vitamin C, in 100 grams of fresh bitter melon, you can get 84mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that can counteract free radicals.

Consuming bitter melon in a proper amount is the key to get optimum benefit from this vegetable. Though, it is recommended to mix it with other vegetables such as spinach or raw papaya in one pan, because it potentially poisonous and affect gastric health. Consuming bitter melon for two months straight is also not recommended due to some side effects that might occur. Some of the side effects of bitter melon are as follows:

  1. Miscarriage

For pregnant women it is highly not recommended to consume large quantity of bitter melon. As previously explained, bitter melon contains folate which is beneficial for fetal growth. However, it is important know the proper amount that is safe to consume from a doctor. Bitter melon also contains momorcharins which stimulate the uterus, but this compound is feared to bring out signs of miscarriage of the fetus.

  1. Dramatic Drop of Blood Glucose Level

The decreasing blood glucose level by consuming bitter melon are actually good for diabetics. However, excessive consumption of bitter melon will eventually cause dramatic drop of blood glucose level. Keep in mind that blood glucose level does not always have to be reduced, but it must be maintained. When blood glucose level is high, we ought to normalize it, but if the blood glucose level is normal to begin with, then it is best for you not to consume large amount of bitter melon so your blood glucose level do not get any lower. Also, learn more about Side Effects of Avocado Leaves

  1. Stomachache

Excessive consumption of bitter melon can cause a burning sensation to the stomach, which will lead to stomachache. Stomachache should be treated immediately, or it will be very disturbing. It can interfere with your activity because sometimes it causes a person to have difficulty moving. How to treat it is to drink warm water, and compressing your belly with warm towel to make the pain gradually disappear.

  1. Diarrhea

Diarrhea caused by bitter melon poisoning can be observed through feces defecated. The feces will be blackish green in color, and this condition should be treated medically because if it’s left untreated it will weaken the sufferer. First aid that can be given is oral re-hydration salts (ORS), but if no change happens for more than 24 hours, things could be worse and fatal. Seek for immediate medical treatment. Also, learn more about Side Effects of Java Tea Leaves for Health


  1. Infertility

The momorcharins contained in bitter melon can cause infertility in men. This due to momorcharins which able to attack sperm quality produced by testicles.

  1. Impotence

Bitter melon is potential to disturb testicles function and could lead to premature ejaculation for some men, especially for those who also suffering obesity. Therefore, it is advised for men to consume bitter melon two times lesser than women.

  1. Liver Malfunction

Bitter melon plant’s sap if not cooked properly will cause liver malfunction. High level of momorcharins will push liver to work harder and eventually malfunctioned if it’s not being balanced with consumption of vegetables or fruits with high level of antioxidants. Also, learn more about Side Effects of Mahogany Seeds

  1. Surgery Failure

Consuming bitter melon is not recommended for people who currently undergo chemotherapy, or certain medications, and people in post-surgery period. The content of momorcharins in bitter melon which influence blood glucose level will make the condition of patient’s blood glucose level unstable.

If you consume bitter melon when you’re about to undergo surgery, it is possible for surgery failure to occur and diseases that should have been able to overcome will actually be worse. That is why it is necessary to pay attention to when is the right time to consume bitter melon, and not to be careless knowing that the vegetable is classified as herbal. 


  1. Hormonal Changes

Some studies stated that consuming bitter vegetables will affect hormones. Bitter melon is one of those vegetable which taste bitter. The content of cucurbitacins which caused bitterness will affect hormones that will lead to feeling emotional, forgetful, and difficulty concentrating. This is feared to be more severe and affect body’s metabolic processes which indeed depend on stabilize hormone level.

  1. Migraine

Some fans of bitter melon mention another side effect of this vegetable, that is migraine. Migraines can occur after consuming bitter melon continuously for one whole month. Although originally intended to cure diseases, long term continuous consumption of bitter melon is not advised.

Therefore, consuming bitter melon as an herbal medicine should be first consulted with a doctor. This is to avoid the potential occurrence of side effects after a long term consumption of bitter melon.

Briefly, bitter melon is a plant with so many benefits for our health, but it should be noted that consuming any type of food excessively is unhealthy. What was intended to cure can turn out causing any further complaints for us. By paying close attention to bitter melon consumption, we can get optimum benefits of the vegetable without experiencing its side effects as mentioned above.

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