Scientific Name: Momordica charantia
Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is a climbing vegetable that grows in the tropics and subtropics and belongs to the squash family. Bitter melon is widely used in Vietnam and other Asian countries as a medicinal food. Bitter melon is also known as balsam pear, bitter apple, bitter gourd, and bitter squash. The uncooked fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C (93% daily value [DV]).
On average, every 100 g of bitter melon contains 84 mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important nutrient involved in maintaining the immune system and wound healing. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that helps quench free radicals and reduces inflammation. It is also necessary for making collagen.
Bitter melon provides many other important nutrients. It also contains folate (18% DV), which is essential for growth and development of fetuses. Bitter melon can be dried and prepared as a tea. The tea has mild bitter flavor. Dishes made from bitter melon such as bitter melon fried with eggs and bitter melon stuffed with meat not only have an acquired taste, but also bring a variety of health benefits.