In the tropical region of Okinawa, the strange bumpy green fruit of bitter melon is considered a local delicacy. Known by the name goya, it is a staple of the traditional Okinawan diet, and is one of several foods attributed to the Okinawan’s exceptionally long lifespan. While this may seem far-fetched upon first hearing it, bitter melon does in fact offer several beneficial qualities that may add some credence to the claim. While bitter melon may be difficult to locate outside its native growing areas in Asia and the Caribbean, people around the world can make use of its many benefits through bitter melon tea, and can experience for themselves how it improves digestion, immunity, liver health and much more.
Due to its famously bitter taste, bitter melon tea proves to be an effective way to stimulate healthy digestion. When ingested, the bitter agents of bitter melon stimulate the production of digestive juices, priming the stomach to better break food down. It also helps to encourage nutrient absorption, and its anti-inflammatory effects may ease digestive issues in the stomach and bowel.
Bitter melon tea has also been used by those needing to moderate the level of sugar in their blood. Studies have shown that bitter foods reduce sugar cravings, thus lowering the intake of sugar. Bitter melon in particular also helps to facilitate the removal of blood sugar by improving the manufacture of insulin, as well as insulin sensitivity in the cells. Bitter melon may also reduce the absorption of glucose in the gut.
Another of bitter melon tea’s positive effects is its ability to combat a herpes infection. While it cannot cure such an infection, it may be able to help moderate the symptoms of herpes. Studies are still trying to determine its long-term effectiveness, but thus far it has proven most useful against a type 1 complex infection.
Bitter melon tea can provide strong support to the immune system. With its high vitamin C content, bitter melon boosts immune activity to help fight against infection. It also offers several potent antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals that would interfere with the immune system.
Studies have shown that bitter melon tea may be used against parasites. It has been tested against several parasites, particularly roundworm, against which it was found very effective. Its otherwise mild nature makes it a useful natural remedy for this purpose.
Bitter melon tea has also shown hepatic properties. It may be beneficial for promoting the liver’s filtering functions, helping to cleanse the blood of impurities, and may also help with the removal of toxins from the liver. In some countries, bitter melon tea is used to help ease the effects of a hangover.
Bitter melon tea contains mild anti-inflammatory compounds. This may be highly beneficial for easing inflammation in the digestive and cardiovascular system, as well as easing joint and muscle ache. This may also be beneficial for tempering the body’s immune response.