Bitter Melon, Diabetes

Bitter melon

I spent the last three weeks writing about low-carb eating. But at least one fruit, called bitter melon, seems to be a powerful treatment for diabetes, even if you do eat a lot of carbs.


In reply to my column on reversing Type 2 diabetes, Debbie commented,

My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 four months ago… he had a blood glucose reading of 370. [The] doctor put him on metformin — 1,000 mg a day, which brought his blood glucose down to the low 200’s. So the doctor upped his meds to 2,000 mg a day.

Then someone told her about bitter melon tea, and she bought some at a local Asian grocery. He started drinking one cup of tea in the morning and one in the evening. The very next day, his fasting glucose dropped to around 80. He stopped his metformin and his fasting glucose levels have been under 100 ever since.

His A1C dropped from 13.5 to 6.3. Since he has only been on the tea for a few weeks, his A1C will probably drop further at the next test. This is a man who is heavy, eats lots of pasta and rice, and whose exercise is “walking the dog twice a week.” Nothing else in his lifestyle has changed.

Debbie is sure it’s the bitter melon tea that’s controlling the blood glucose. But one person’s experience is not enough. It’s “anecdotal evidence.” Is there any scientific backup for his story? Not much, but some.

A study by researchers in Australia, China, and Germany found that four compounds in bitter melon that “activate an enzyme that is responsible for… transporting glucose from the blood into the cells.” The enzyme is called AMPK, the same one activated by exercise.

According to the article, published in March 2008 in the journal Chemistry & Biology, AMPK moves glucose transporter molecules to the surface of cells. There they help bring glucose from the blood into the cells. Science Daily reported, “This is a major reason that exercise is recommended as part of the normal treatment program for someone with Type 2 diabetes.”

Nearly all scientific work on bitter melon comes from China, Japan, India, and other Asian countries, and most studies have been in rats and mice. You can see a list here.

But when it comes to research on people, one review done in Malaysia found only two good studies, and the results were inconclusive. “More research is needed,” the authors conclude.

What is bitter melon?
According to Wikipedia, bitter melon is a fruit, but not one you are likely to eat raw. It looks like a pockmarked cucumber, and the taste is described as “chalky” and “unpleasant” on various Web sites like this Chinese cooking site.

Bitter melon’s scientific name is Momordica charantia. In English, it is called bitter melon, bitter gourd, or bitter squash. It has long been used in Chinese recipes, often in soups. But the effort in cooking and not-so-great taste has kept many people from eating it regularly.

In the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, studies of bitter melon in Asia found a chemical called charantin, which reduced blood glucose in rabbits. According to, other “insulin-like compounds” in bitter melon include vicine and polypeptide-P.

So it may be that bitter melon reduces insulin resistance, or it may be that bitter melon acts as a substitute for insulin, at least when it comes to getting glucose into cells.

In a 2007 study, the Philippine Department of Health determined that 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of bitter melon each day reduces glucose as much as 2.5 mg/kg of glyburide, a sulfonylurea drug, taken twice per day. Tablets of bitter melon extract are now sold in the Philippines as a food supplement and exported to many countries.

Side effects and costs
According to Livestrong, there is a risk of hypoglycemia if you take too much bitter melon, especially if you are taking insulin or a sulfonylurea or thiazolidinedione drug. Drinking bitter melon juice is sometimes associated with stomach pain or diarrhea.

But according to users, bitter melon tea is a whole different story. Most say it tastes good, “better than green tea,” one commented. It’s also easy to prepare and easy to buy, either at an Asian grocery or online. A month’s supply costs about $5 at a store, maybe $12 online. Bitter melon capsules are more expensive.

Some people will probably not see the same astounding benefits as Debbie’s husband. In addition to normalizing glucose, his triglyceride levels have returned to normal or near-normal after years of being dangerously high.

It might be that Asian people will tend to improve more on bitter melon tea than non-Asian people. It might also take longer than the one day Debbie’s husband needed to see results. She wrote that a friend with diabetes didn’t see results for two weeks, but then his glucose levels came down to the normal range and stayed there.

But we won’t know until we try. A good dose would probably be one cup of bitter melon tea with breakfast and one with dinner. If you eat carbs at lunch, perhaps drink another cup then. I wouldn’t take it without eating, to avoid lows. It should probably be avoided if you are pregnant, and should not be given to children because of lows.

You can certainly also try cooked bitter melon or bitter melon capsules, but if the tea works for you, that seems easiest and tastiest, and cheaper than the capsules.

I hope some readers will try bitter melon and let us know your results. Or maybe you have already tried it. We’d like to know. Although it probably won’t work for everyone, bitter melon might be a good or better than vinegar or prescription medicines for many people. Of course, healthy eating and some physical activity are still important.

  • Cs Prakash

    A week ago there was a scientific paper from USA claiming that pancreatic cancer cells were killed by bitter melon extracts. There is surely something happening from the use of this plant. But as the name says, it is darned too bitter for me.

  • emedoutlet

    It seems that this Melon Tea is a magic. Someone, some big herbal company or manufacturer should research on this melon tea. It can be a huge benefit to the society.

  • Dorothy Shanstrom

    Do you drink a cup of tea before or after meals with carbs?

  • David Spero RN

    Hi Dorothy,

    The timing of the tea isn’t well explored. Most people I’ve talked to drink it after meals. I think different times might work better for different people.

  • Jackie

    I am fascinated by the news of this tea! As a type 2 diabetic whose blood sugars are higher than I’d like them to be, I’d like to try the tea. I had a kidney transplant 3 years ago, does anyone know of possible side affects to kidneys with this tea?

  • David Spero RN

    The only reported side effect is low blood sugars. Of course, it hasn’t been widely studied.

  • Joe

    This is interesting. I’m always willing to investigate alternative medicines. I’ve tried working with herbals and supplements like cinnamon, chromium and magnesium with limited success. No matter what I do, exercise seems to have the greatest affect. Since this seems simple and cheap, I’d like to give it a try. If it helps, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

  • Mike

    I prepared bitter melon once. It required quite an effort.

  • Tommy

    WOW! WOW! WOW! I read your blog yesterday, did some more reading about it and though, what the heck? I went and brought the tea and had a cup last night around 7, while eating dinner. I had some gin afterwards and ate a sandwich before bed. I checked my sugar this morning and it was 98! I ate breakfast, drank another cup of the tea and I didn’t take my normal medication. AND just to check to see if it was a fluke, I drank a soda, not diet, and checked my sugar 10 mins later and it was 193. I checked 3 hours later and its 94! This tea works!!! I am going to monitor it for the next 7 days before I tell my friend who’s also has diabetes. David, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • Onoosh

    Has anyone with Type 1 or LADA tried this? If so, what were the results?

  • David Spero RN

    Onoosh, I haven’t found any references on the Web to people with Type 1 or LADA using bitter melon. It is thought, though, that the melon contains insulin-like compounds, which perhaps take the place of insulin. So it certainly seems worth a try. Let us know how it goes.

  • Kobe’s Mom

    I tried the bitter melon capsules and it did work for about 2 weeks with tremendous results. Brought down my sugars in the 200’s to 110 and sometimes lower. Then, seems like it stopped working as well as in the beginning, should I drink the tea instead of the capsules? Has anyone had this kind of results?

  • David S.

    My severely insulin dependent mother has been asking me to look for bitter melon in the supermarket. I keep asking why. Now I know. I am on the hunt for this now – either in tea or fruit form.
    Where are people finding this?


  • David Spero RN

    Kobe’s Mom,

    I hadn’t heard of bitter melon’s benefits wearing off as they seem to for you. Has anything else changed in your health, diet, medicines, stress or anything that could account for it? Tea is worth a try. I also wonder if you got a bad batch of capsules.

    David S, best places to buy are at Asian markets or online. Not hard to find. The fruit is available at farmers’ markets and Asian stores, but you really need to know how to cook it. Capsules and teas are easier.

  • Bubbles Walsan

    In India, bitter melon is known as ‘KARELA’, and is a very popular vegetable regularly prepared in most kitchens, particularly during the warmer summer months when the price is more affordable.

    People with Diabetes have a few tablespoonsful of the fresh juice with their breakfast. This is easily made: Thoroughly wash one or two bitter melons. (the size varies from four to eight inches long), and grate it either by hand or in a mixie. Squeeze out the juice, and have it fresh! Results are best this way. Do not throw away the squeeezed fruit. Soak it in some clean drinking water and let it rest for a few hours. Squeeze it out and drink it during the rest of the day as well.

    Try this out and post the results on this site. They are guaranteed to be good.

    Bubbles Walsan

  • Kemi

    I ll be trying this bitter melon idea out tonight, I let u know.

  • Kemi

    I tried the fresh bitter melon as promised in the evening and the following morning being a type II diabetic, my fasting result was still high but the rest of the day was fine but knowing the quantity required was a task in the fresh. I got the tea and I ve started on it last night i ll keep my fingers crossed i hope it work for me too.

  • owen

    how do you make the tea? Or is it store bought?

    thanks owen

  • David Spero RN

    Owen, you can buy bitter melon tea bags on line or in an Asian food market or perhaps Whole Foods.

  • Ayesha

    I was diagnosed with diebates . I had to control with my diet and I did not want to go on medication so one day I tried the bitter melon fresh washed and put it in a pot half filled with water and let it boil for 1/2 hour and with it became cold I filled it in a bottled and put it in the fridge. I drink it every morning before breakfast. And thank Allah my sugar is normal. I do this everyday.

  • Dee

    How interesting. Do you drink the juice of one bitter melon a day? Do you need to boil it and if so why? I have a juicer and wondered whether one bitter melon juiced per day would be ok without boiling?

  • David Spero RN


    You can try juicing the melon, as Ayesha did in the comment before yours, but most people find the taste very hard to swallow. Most people try the tea or the capsules.

  • Goldie P

    My husband made a good tasting tea by boiling a bunch of leaves of bitter melon & then blended the boiled leaves, extracted the juice Iin a strainer & mixed it with the tea! Cooled in a fridge & I take 2 shots every nite before bed. It helps lower my glucose reading in the morning as I’m a Type 2 . I refused to take any medication so doing alternative medicine.

  • Boyd

    there is a Phillipine recipe (unsure of the name) but consists of finely sliced (washed) bitter melon soaked for an hour in a strong brine, then drained and fried with scrambled egg. It has a better taste than most recipes. The tea is good though (almost no taste) I prefer that to normal black tea.

  • Ave

    Does Bitter Gourd help to reduce weight? I blend half melon with water and take it first thing in the morning. Will it help???

  • David Spero RN

    Ave, there doesn’t seem much evidence on bitter melon for weight loss. It’s more for reducing blood sugars.


  • Robin

    I am going to try this. I just found out that I’m now either going to have to take insulin shots or take two different types medication. One called Glipizide and the other Metformin. I hate the idea of taking medication if I don’t have to.

    I’m going to try Bitter Mellon Tea. If that does the trick I’m going to be every so grateful. If not, I’ll go on the meds.

    I’ll repost to let you know what my results are. As it stands right now, my A1C test was 11.2 a week ago. I was hospitalized last week for other issues and that’s when they found my blood sugars completely out of control.

    So… hopefully I’ll be able to get some type help with this tea. I’m crossing my fingers. I don’t like the side effects of most medications.

    • anita

      Did the bitter gourd work?

  • gary

    I went to the doctor and found out my reading was 270 .but I had cereal that morning before I reach the doctor .she put me on 500mg metformin two times a day. I was afraid to take it.I cut out the sugar and lower my carbs morning after fasting my reading was 153.after 2 hrs of eating breakfast it was 180. Then later that evening I tried the bitter.after fasting next morning was 130.2 hrs after eating with the bitter melon it was 134.I had the bitter melon with dinner.7pm.but did not text until was 121.still have not taken my meds yet.(metformin).seems to only concern ,can it be taken safely for along period of time.

    • Walt Tjong

      I only started taking melon raw yesterday and don’t know yet what’s my level now. Look like you have similar numbers that I had before. My doctor also gave me metformin 500mg but had problem with diarrhea as side effect. I normally bring it down by heavy exercise before I know this melon. I think this melon is okay since my mother and grandmother used to cook dishes from it. It’s just another kind of melon and should be safe if you take it for a long time.

  • gary

    I just check my after fasting sugar level after this morning using the bitter melon with 7pm came back at 121 .looks like it works.

  • tom

    Bittermelon is a staple veggie in the phils.
    If you’re interested in cooking it as a dish, sautee some minced onions, garlic, tomato slices, add half a cup of water, then the 1/2″ slices of bittermelon. Season with salt, oyster sauce, and pepper. Let simmer. Then add a freshly cracked egg.

  • Tonya

    I used the tea about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I found out I had a mass on my adrenal gland that was thought to be a pheochromocytoma. I have strong family history of cancer so this was very concerning. I started using the tea 2 times a day for about 2 months. When I went for my recheck the mass was gone and my tumor marker level had decreased by half. It has been about a year and a half and still not sign of the mass. I recommend it to anyone with cancer.

  • Patricia

    I’ve been experimenting with bitter melon and have found it is an acquired taste that you come to crave. My favorite way to eat it is raw and cold. Slice it down the middle, scoop out the seeds and filling. Cut it like pieces of celery. Now salt it to release some fluid that I drink. Try some vinegar and lemon on it. I have also added onion and tomato. It’s a great salad!

  • sridhar

    Why take the trouble of tea, juice and other process?
    Just wash teh melon., cut a few slices and have them. i am finding extrremely encouraging. further it adds to fibre also. please do not take trouble of juicing., making tea etc. you are not reaping full benefits of the gourd. regards.

  • Kas

    I have pre diabetes – A1C around 6.3.

    Tried a small amount of bitter melon – boiled it to make it less bitter- then cut it into small slices and added it to my baked chicken and vegetables. Only ate a few of my small strips, and blood sugar went from 6.3 to 4.9 and then later, after a large lunch, down to 4.6. No exercise during the past few weeks due to sciatica. I am going to continue with a small amount of this vegetable twice a day and see if this trend continues. If it does, well, it will be bitter melon for me for life! Sure beats pharmaceuticals and, it is also used to prevent cancers in the Asian countries. What have we all got to lose?!

    • Walt Tjong

      How long it took to bring down to 4.9 from 6.3? I had been told as a child that it is also good to prevent allergic reactions and improve skin conditions.

  • reddy

    A simple Indian dish with karela.

    6 medium size bitter gourds are needed for this recepie.
    Non stick pan is recommended for those who are trying Indian dishes.

    Add 2 table spoons of oil.Add peanuts(optional), onion pieces, minced ginger, minced garlic. Saute for 1-2 min on medium flame. Now add bittergourd pieces (thinly sliced or small cubes). Add some salt, turmeric(optional) and mix. Close the lid. Cook on medium. For every 5 min mix in between. Cook for 15min. Reduce the flame to low and cook for 10-15 min.The pieces become soft and the color changes a bit. Now add salt upto your taste, add chilli powder, grafted coconut (fresh or dry), coriander powder (optional). Mix all the ingredients once, and cook for 1-2 min on low. Put flame of ( add 1 tea spoon sugar or jaggary which is optional along with salt, this reduces bitter taste)

    If any one wants to try the recipes try karela curry, karela fry, karela Indian recipes on google.

  • joanne

    can you take bittermelon if your not diabetic, and a little bit hypoglycemic

    • Sam Lin


    • Walt Tjong

      It is our traditional dish from hakka (in China) mixed with pork or beef and eat regularly. No harm done if you don’t have high sugar level in the blood. It’s not poisonous and it is just a different kind of mellon that’s all.



  • Alice

    Joanne – If you are hypoglycemic and not diabetic, I strongly recommend against bitter melon. It sounds like it would make it worse.

  • Casey Rogers

    This sounds interesting, but I personally find tea from beneficial to me. I’ve been using it for about a month now and my Blood sugar levels are stabler than I can ever remember.

  • Marisol

    Can I take bitter melon and metformin together, also how much extract do I have to consume?

    • sidney

      yes,I am taking metformin1/2 tabs and bitter melon tea and my blood suger is normal now.

      • Takoma DC


        Can you give us the name/brand of bitter melon tea you use?


  • cece

    I bought bitter gourd tea (same thing) with a picture of bitter melons on the front. It tadtes like regular black tea. I drink one bag at night, so since I like two or more cups in the evening, I add a green tea bag or another black tea bag. Tastes good.

  • Julie

    There are many interesting bitter melon recepies on internet, for example, google “bitter melon and beef” you will find many entries, such as this one

  • rich21

    I just started Eating bitter melon today. I am not jucing buut eating it. Does anyone know if this is just as effective?

    • Sam Lin

      yes it does…

    • Walt Tjong

      My grandmother used to cook it (without seeds) with pork meat and had never had allergy problems. It’s also good to cure swollen skin from insect bites better than synthetic drugs.

  • Glynis

    Hello, I did not see an answer if you can take the bitter melon and metformin together?

    • dan

      well, blood sugar seems to be reduced after taking either bitter melon or metformin. so, taking a combination of these two is probably redundant. but, you need to ask your doctor for confirmation..

    • sidney

      yes I am drinking bitter melon tea and taking 1/2 tablet of metformin ,so my blood suger is normal.

    • I took bitter melon capsules, metformin, and glibenclamide (a sulfonylurea) all together. I didn’t really notice if I had sugar lows. Maybe it was because I was eating too much. xD Just monitor your blood sugar, then. 😀

  • Rhonda

    I have been taking Bitter Melon Capsules for approx. 1 year and I find it works really well. I have type 2 diabetes and I am also on Diabex medication – 1 tablet a day. When my vision blurs, I take a Bitter Melon capsule and it clears, my liver was “slightly inflamed” and the bitter melon has improved it to where the Doc said it is now normal.

    • Takoma DC

      That’s great to hear! What brand capsules do you take? Thank you.

  • dan

    I used to take bitter melon tablets (manufactured by Himalayas USA (or something like that)), it worked for a while (a few months. thank god). then it stopped working, in fact, it increased my blood sugar. then i stopped taking them.

    after that, not wanting to give up on bitter melon, i bought raw bitter melons, cut off the ends, sliced it in half, removed the seeds, sliced it into smaller bits, and ate it raw. it seemed to work and has been working ever since. thank god again. but i don’t know how long it will keep working. 😀

    • Hmm. Maybe the manufacturers replaced the active ingredient with just starch/fillers?

  • sharon

    Am from the island of Trinidad and Tobago and we have this fruit but we called it Kariali not sure if I spelt it correctly… But anyhow it’s something that most off us has growing in our yard! We eat it raw! We drink d water as a body detox, but most of all we fry it nd eat it with our meals! We also use different leaves to take a

  • Adeto

    hi, please i would really like to know if the capsule form is also effective. thanks

    • David Spero RN

      The capsules are also supposed to work well. There’s not much data, but you could certainly try them safely. Please let us know your results. David

  • humphries

    I too use better melon. it is a great way to control diabetics. this plant is a part of a normal diet for Asian and African people. that why diabetics is getting worse in America. Don’t eat any preservatives or bleach starch. Stay out of the center of the grocery store only get the food on the edges. bread. meats , fruits and some spices.

  • Walt Tjong

    I am also type 2 and I am just wondering about this tea. Where to get some of this tea? And do they come in pills also? Thanks for the advise in advance.

    • As the article said, you can buy at Asian groceries or online. Capsules work fine and are available online. I don’t know if it comes in tablets.

      • trish Ypoo

        It does come in tablets

      • Angiem

        Can you give me the name of the website where you order the capsule form?

  • zenfan

    How many mg.’s are the caps you take?

  • Adams Nate

    So are you still on insulin?

  • Adams Nate

    I have been diabetic for 10 years, and it sounds as if some of you are posting this cucumber like it is a miracle cure; no offense intended, I just don’t embrace false hopes.

    • trish Ypoo

      It works. I use it for type 2 and not only reduces bg, but also has helped me lose weight

    • dee

      I Use to think the same now after trying it I think different,n believe me my bs used to be over 400 n 500 now it don’t go no more the. 200,n I been a diabetic for 11yrs ,u should take a try

  • dee

    I highly recommend this product,I’m diabetic type 1 and I’m currently taking the capsules and they have show alot improvement in my glucose,I used to have my blood sugar over 400s n some times 500 daily and now my sugar doesn’t go no more then 200,I’m highly satisfied with this product I’m so glad that I chose to try it ,now that I’m using this product idont use insulin as much I used to before ,now I only used it once or twice a day when before I use to used four times a day and sometimes even more due to I used to have very high blood sugar.

  • nabil latreche

    It is okay to add sweetness?

  • cornelius

    My dad is type 2 and really wanna try this stuff any body ow where I can get the pills

    • shanjes

      I know you can find it at some health food stores. I called one looking for Jerusalem Artichoke but they didn’t have that and recommended Bitter Melon which they did carry in capsule form.

  • Unamed Unamed

    My husband is diabetic and takes this.He buys the bitter melon itself ,cuts it in small pieces put it in water and drinks it.His blood sugar is normal and he takes no medication.

    • Paul Hoffman

      never tried it that way . Kinda like lemon water but with the bitter melon . Will try it !

  • ismail mete

    hi darlene . im type 2 and around 3oo every day coud you please send me brand youre using and where to get it thx.

  • Paul Hoffman

    My wife prepares Bitter melon for me about 3 times a week . Keeps my BG in check

    • Angie M

      My question is while on the bitter melon have you stopped taking medications prescribed by your M.D.? Or have you stopped taking medications for your diabetes, whether it is Metformin, Janumet or insulin?

  • Arleen

    My dad is a type 2. My mom started having him drink half a cup of fresh bitter melon juice 3x/day. His blood sugar has been normal. I am a type 2 myself. I will start tonight. I was told it is very bitter but drinking water soon after takes away the taste completely.

  • Charli

    My mother was recently diagnosed with diabetes (runs in the family on her side) and has been eating bitter melon with great results. You can probably pick up some bitter melons at a Chinese grocery store. There are some nice recipes, like cooking it with pork and Chinese black bean sauce. Growing up, it was actually one of my dad’s favorite veggie dishes, so we had it often for dinner. It is quite bitter, so some people don’t like it, but once you aquire a taste for it, it’s nice. It also pairs well with caramelized onions, or you can slice it really thin and have it raw on a salad in place of arugula or another bitter green.

  • Hey, thank you for this post. :) I’ve been getting kidney pains from dehydration+metformin use lately, and I’ve been considering switching to fresh bitter melon completely. xD Your blog confirmed the direction I was going to take with my self-management. xD Though now I’m just wishing I did this last year yet. xD

    Thanks much! 😀

    • Takoma DC


      I hope you’re feeling better! Did you hapoen to try fresh bitter melon? Or bitter melon tea or supplements?

  • Maria Lucio

    Hi everyone! I started drinking bitter melon tea last Friday. And I have seen results in my blood sugars. I used to get 175-299 on a daily basis. But with the bitter melon I am now between 106-156. Mind you it has been less than a week. So I am very happy with this product. I have been struggling with my diabetes for a long time. So I would recommend you try it and see for yourself.

    • Takoma DC

      Hi, Your results are wonderful. Can you share the brand of bitter melon tea you drink?

  • Robert Fabro

    what is the brand name you are taking and where can i get it?

  • Major kangaroo

    Just drank a weak juicing 10 oz second wash (rejuiced grounds) down 50 points 164 down to 114 after an hour . 2 hours down to 79 . Found fresh melons 1.99 lb Im sold .

  • christy

    Hi my boyfriend was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and instead of expensive insulin he has been on vitacost brand bittermelon pills 3x a day. His blood sugar is 150- 200 it has worked here and there he has an episode he eats a snickers and hes fine.This week he started having symptoms of hypoglycemia really bad symptoms and he lately has been forgetting to take his bittermelon pills seems bittermelon is quite the miracle cause i thought type 1 peps need insulin and this has kept him alive and his diabetes under control.

  • Sham Khuŋkhuŋ

    Go to Indian Grocery Store or Chinese Veg store. But Indian Bitter Guards are better than Chinese. Look at the pictures in google.

  • Roben

    I would like to try bitter melon tea at night for my husband who is pre diabetic with a fasting glucose of around 115. Three weeks ago he was placed on metformin 500 mg in the morning and midday he is now taking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I have read that bitter melon is contraindicated in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. How do I know if my husband has this deficiency? Is this something he needs to be tested for before trying the tea?

  • Roben

    Hi Everyone. I had my husband try bitter melon tea and he couldn’t get past the smell. I didn’t think it smelled bad at all but everyone is different. He also didn’t like the taste even though I combined it with his Green Tea. I just ordered the bitter melon capsules 500 mg #60 from Swansons Vitamins for $2.19. He has agreed (for now) to try one capsule with dinner and see how that works for him. At least that way he wouldn’t have to deal with the smell or taste. As with many agents that reduce blood sugar, there are a few GI side effects with bitter melon that I suspect go away after being on it for awhile.

  • Takoma DC

    Today is my first day drinking Bitter Melon Tea. I just wanted to share some product info because some have said it has a terrible taste/smell or have wondered if the tea is expensive.

    I purchased a box of individually wrapped tea bags of 100% dried and ground Bitter Melon. It has a very mild flavor and very slight aroma. I can only describe it as “green” but not as in Green Tea but as in having an extremely slight herbacious taste and scent.

    The brand is Kim Fung Brand. The tea is called ‘Gohyah Tea.’ The box is pale green with a small oval photo of 2 bitter melons. They look like wrinkled cucumbers. The cost for the tea was $2.39. It was purchased at a small Chinese owned market in Rockville, MD (Meixin Chinese Market). In addition to Meixin, I went to a much larger Chinese owned market, also in Rockville (Great Wall) but they did not have it.

    I was planning to consume fresh bitter melon (I’ve had it before in Chinese soups and liked it). But neither market had any. Tomorrow I’m going to try to find the fruit at a different Asian Market.

    Over the weekend I’ll post my results.

  • Roben

    My husband is pre diabetic and started on the following regime: Metformin 500 mg before breakfast 12 weeks ago, 1 T of apple cider vinegar 10 weeks ago before lunch and 500 mg bitter melon capsule with dinner 5 weeks ago (I incorporated different things as I learned about them from David, thanks David!). Here are his results: Fasting Sugar 117 to 114, Total Cholesterol 216 to 182, Triglycerides 199 to 141, LDL Chol 136 to 113. A1c was 5.7 but I have nothing to compare that to. His kidney function improved as well, GFR increased from 85 to 93. This regime seemed to have a much more dramatic effect on his lipid panel than on his glucose. In any case, all of his numbers improved. I believe his A1c will be even lower next time since he will have been on the bitter melon for at least 3 months.

  • Takoma DC

    Wow. I can’t eat it raw. I was eating Chinese Bitter Melon for dinner sauteed 4x/week and drinking bitter melon tea 1-2x/day for over 2 weeks and it did not lower my blood glucose levels. I’m very careful with carb consumption, no sugar/honey, very little fruit and absolutely no juice or soda. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well and thar Bitter Melon works for you. I’m starting tomorrow with apple cider vinegar. Allegedly it lowers bgl. I wish you continued success.

    • Takoma, I’m disappointed and surprised bitter melon isn’t working for you. Keep us posted on the vinegar. Your posts are appreciated.

  • fish4man61

    Yes but what if you have diabetes and hypoglycemia? Constantly fluctuating between the two. Would it not be bad for the low blood sugar?

    • There is nothing in the literature about bitter melon causing hypos. I haven’t heard from readers about problems with lows. It could still happen, though. It will be up to you to self-monitor to keep yourself safe.

      • precious45

        hello. i’m new to all this. what i want to know is where can i buy this bitter melon tea and what brand do you recommend, my a1c was 6.8 on 5/3/16 and i am not and have never been on any medication.

        • Capsules with good customer reviews include Himalaya, Nutrigold, and Swanson. If you search for “customer reviews bitter melon,” you can find highly rated ones online. Otherwise, go to a health-food store you trust or an Asian market.

  • precious45

    my a1c was 6.8 and i am not on medication. where can i buy this tea?

    • Takoma DC

      You should be able to find the tea at almost any Asian grocery market. Or purchase online.

  • The Boylans

    My husband was in ICU with ketoacidosis, hypertryglyerides, and 15.8 AIC. left hospital on insulin with bg in the 300s . Two weeks on tsp bitter melon powder 3x day, 2000mg krill oil and a vegetarian diet with lo carbs brought it under 200 and got him off all insulin and meds. 90 days later his A1C is 5.7, tryglycerides 160 and blood sugars 90-120. The trick is getting the right brand of pills, powder or tea which is potent enough. We tried 4-5 brands. Get the right one and it will work!

    • What brands did you try and which one worked best for you?

  • The Boylans

    And yes…bitter melon can cause low blood sugar. His has dropped as low as 60-70 and give him the shakes if he gets too busy and forgets to eat every 4 hours and doesn’t eat a snack before bed.

  • Bree

    Hello my name is Brandi,im 26 and I’ve been a type 2 diabetic for about 5 years now and it has been a struggle.. I recently loss my mom to diabetes last year and the stress has took its toll on my sugar and has been over 4 and 500’s for the past 6 months.. I didn’t wanna go to the hospital and be admitted or put on more prescription so I started a journey of trying different things.. I recently ran across sugar balance bitter melon extract pills and it’s only been 3 days and already it has changed my life.. I recommend this because it really does work you guys.. My sugar was unreadable on May 29th of 2016 and as of right now on June 2nd my sugar is 288 point is that this melon is really working and if you are skeptical I hope this helps you try it at least

    • solomon

      Am in Nigeria. Where can I buy it please?

      • Mary

        If you re in Nigeria, get fresh utazi leaves and chew. It helps.

      • Deji

        You can buy from Spar Park n Shop Supermarkets.

    • V. K. Ginger

      Hi Bree, I’m glad that the pills worked for you. For me, I drink bitter melon tea instead. I feel that it’s more natural. And a good old habit to relax after meals as well. Normally, the bitter melon tea is, as the name implies, very bitter. But fortunately, my friend ordered this Panas Karantina for me from Amazon. They somehow mixed the bitter melon stems and leaves with stevia and peppermint, thus giving it a sweet taste and cool aroma. Now my whole family can enjoy tea with me. Just hope this info can help others with diabetes. Mother Nature is really wonderful. All the best.

  • Brandi, I’m glad bitter melon is helping you. Remember that 288 is still higher than you want, so keep working at it. Solomon, bitter melon grows in Nigeria, so you should be able to find some at local stores. It might be called geijerine or momordica or bitter gourd.

  • Takoma DC

    It didn’t work for me at all. I made a a follow up comment about my experience. Not sure what happened to it. I also had been consuming a lot of fresh bitter melon stir-fried with very little rice, sometimes no rice at all, usually chicken and celery (for some low carb sweetness). A few times stir-fried with diced up pork loin. It truly is an acquired taste. My latest experiment is drinking apple cider vinegar 15-30 minutes prior to meals. I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks and once again – no positive results. I’m going to try bitter melon pills or capsules. I wish I could say these all natural remedies are working for me but they are not. I take metformin (500 mg 2x/day). I’m fairly strict with my diet and count carbs. I also began working out more and being more active in general. I’ll post results from my ACV experience and also about adding more cardio to my work out and starting a walking program. Hopefully one or both of these approaches will yield positive results. Most of these remedies are inexpensive to try but I think for bitter melon the extract in pill form makes the most sense. As for the apple cider vinegar, I’m absolutely shocked that I’m not seeing any drop in my bcl. I cannot even test myself anymore it’s just too depressing.

    • Takoma, I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, and thank you for reporting it. Most people don’t bother to report negative results. Please don’t give up. More activity should help, there are other natural medicines such as mulberry, cinnamon, guava, and okra, and there are other prescription medicines.

      • Takoma DC

        Hi David, Thank you for the encouragement. I appreciate it. I am on Rx, Metformin, since February ’16. I’m increasing daily exercise. I tried cinnamon tea for 1 month and like eating/drinking Bitter Melon it had zero effect on my bgl. I plan to try Bitter Melon capsules. I’ll continue with the Apple Cider Vinegar. I’ve heard about mulberry leaves used as a tea being beneficial for weight loss, eyesight and lowering bgl. I’ve not heard about guava but will research it this weekend. Thanks again. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for all you do.

      • Ela Maier

        Takoma I found out my blood sugar is high ( 215) and I started drinking fresh juice in the morning on the empty stomach so after a week it was 175.My doctor gave me pills , but now I have to be careful not getting too low. So don’t give up on bitter melon .I strongly believe it is a miracle fruit(veggy) As a tip if you don’t like the bitter taste keep the melon in water with salt before cooking or juicing.

  • Renata

    Hello, I have been using the bitter melon (the fruit) for about 3 weeks. When I started using the fruit I put it in my Ninja, now I juice it and drink 2ounces twice a day and sometime I’ll throw a cup of the tea in the mix during a meal. I started out with my glucose being around 200 – 240ish every morning and 340 – 380 at the end of the evening while taking medication. In the middle of the second week I noticed that my numbers were starting to drop significantly. My numbers are now in normal range but along with the bitter melon I have been riding my bike and eating healthier, however still on medication. I have changed my eating habits in the past and have seen a drop in my levels but nothing like this. I am very excited and cannot wait until my doctor visit, hoping to come off of the meds. One thing that I would like to stress, if you are going to use the bitter melon, please check your numbers at least 2 times a day to be sure they don’t get too low. I am so excited about bitter melon until I am telling everybody that I know that can benefit from this fruit!!

    • Takoma DC

      That’s wonderful but unfortunately some of us have tried same/similar protocol with more exercise and Bitter Melon added to our diet without any positive results to our daily bcl or A1C. Sadly what works well for one person may not work at all for another. Best of luck to you.

  • Takoma DC

    That’s wonderful! I didn’t have any luck with fresh bitter melon, nor bittee melon tea. I have ordered capsules. What brand do you use? Thanks!

  • Ela Maier

    So Takoma I do every morning juice using a half of that bitter melon that has a lighter green color and looks more like a squash , or the other type of bitter melon that is a darker green color I use 2 small ones or one big one, and yes I put water in the blender ( around 5-6 spoons) I will also ordered from India ( on e-bay) pills and tea.I will try those as well…Good luck !!!

  • Dolores

    I’ve been looking to purchase the sour melon but haven’t been able to find it can you tell me where I can fin it

    • Ela Maier

      It’s called bitter melon and can be found fresh at asian grocery stores or indian grocery stores,Also you can find bitter melon tea at the same stores or pills on line ( e-bay , amazon etc)…

  • james

    i hope im not putting a damper on everyones enthuisasm but long term use of bitter melon may have unwanted effects on your liver,,,

    Phyllis A. Balch, author of “Prescription for Herbal Healing,” states although
    bitter melon doesn’t appear to damage liver tissue, long-term use of the
    herb can elevate liver enzymes, leading to atherosclerosis, or hardening
    of the arteries. For safety, have your liver enzymes checked routinely
    while taking bitter melon, and do not take it if you have liver disease,
    cirrhosis or a history of hepatitis or HIV/AIDS.

    • Kevin

      I had hep C about 15 years ago. Totally cured. Is it safe to drink bittermelon. Also I workout regularly and have a healthy diet. Lots of cardio, weights, swimming, and jogging

  • whitcheywoman13 .

    Hello, just found this site. My sister in-law is type 2. She used to use bitter melon almost daily. She takes the raw fruit, takes the seeds out and slices into about 1/2 pieces. Then she puts them in her pickle jar. Every morning she eats 1 piece before work and 1 piece when she comes home. She has now cut it down to 1 piece every month. My brother who has very high readings, last one was in the 600 range, hospital wanted to admit him and he said no way. But, he started on the capsules and within a week, fasting numbers went from over 200 down to normal range and after meals in the high 100. He has a bad candy habit and that was why his numbers were so high. My numbers have been rising because of weight gain. I have kept mine in check with my weight. Found out initially that I had it with my son (gestational diabetes) Docs said I would get it if I did not watch my weight. Since I’ve been dieting, and numbers are in 200 after meals, I’ll be heading to the Asian food market to get the fruit. To get rid of the bitterness, you need to remove the pulp and seeds in the middle. I will be adding mine to my Nutribullet, along with my green smoothies. I will also be buying the plant, which my sister in law has and growing my own. I have found that if you cook it, it takes away some of the properties. I will be trying to dehydrate it and make it into a power so I can have it long term.