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The phytochemical study revealed that this herbage has a lot under its belt. That hugely includes tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, aglycone, sterol and phenol.
Tannins are responsible for the growth development of the plants. It acts as pesticide that naturally acts as a repellant to its predators. Tannic acid is also an antioxidant that inhibits cell damage due to oxidation thereby having anticarcinogenic property as well.
Flavonoids are responsible for the color of the fruit. Particularly, they increase the potency of the very powerful antioxidant called glutathione. Another benefit of flavonoids is that it increases the effectiveness of vitamin C. In the same way, ascorbic acid needs this compound to be more efficient as well. Moreover, this help inhibits inflammation from going overboard when cell damage occurs. Flavonoids may be in the form of beta-carotene, zeaxanthins and the luteins. This property acts as cleanser to reactive oxygen species (ROS) that is a product of ionizing radiation. ROS in turn will damage the cell they are part of that will in the long run contribute to aging and some cancer-forming cells.
Glycosides like quinine is also present in bitter gourd. Medically, this has anti-malaria property. To add, quinines is naturally has anti-inflammatory capacity as well. Meanwhile, bitter melon has alkaloid as well. This substance together with charantin and polypeptide P give the hypoglycemic effects. Quinine is also responsible for the violently bitter taste of the flesh that is only intense when the fruit is still young. Eventually, the flavor will become milder as it ages.
It is noted to be rich in potassium, beta-carotene and iron. Moreover, a research showed that this plant has insulin that triggers the production of beta cells in the pancreas that could therefore lead to development of insulin. That said inulin is known as polypeptide-P. Together with another agent called charantin that enhances the blood glucose uptake, both are beneficial in lowering high sugar level in the body thereby making it a good agent in managing type diabetes mellitus. There was even a research proving that charantin has even more efficacy compared to the hypoglycemic drug named Tolbutamide. With such distinction, bitter gourd was even recognized in the Philippines as one of the eleven recommended herbal plants.
Fresh bitter gourd has more beta-carotene than broccoli. It has even more calcium than broccoli. More potassium than banana and has more crude protein content than cucumber and tomatoes. The vegetable is also good source of the Vitamin complex group and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
Early laboratory tests suggest that compounds in bitter melon might be effective for treating HIV infection. According to Dr. Raina Ray of the Department of Pathology in St Louis University, balsam pear inhibits the growth and division of cancer cells therefore preventing cancer cells from forming. To add, this wonder fruit has a substance called Alpha and beta momorcharin that increases the production of interferons, one of the powerful members of the immune system. Moreover, momorcharin promotes the natural killer cell activity .
On the other hand, this wild cucumber has another property called MAP 30 that is known for repression of the viral DNA. It specifically blocks the pathway of the guanylate cyclase. What is even more fortunate is that it aids in the remedy for HIV.
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