Ampalaya or Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon

Our Ampalaya plants have started bearing fruits. This rainy season's really wonderful for the veggies. The type that we have are the small ones commonly used for Ilocano type dishes like Pinakbet.

Ampalaya has been touted as medicine for diabetes. Here's an entry from wikipedia:

Folk wisdom has it that ampalaya (Momordica charantia Linn.) helps to prevent or counteract type-II diabetes. A recent scientific study at JIPMER, India has proved that ampalaya increases insulin sensitivity. Also, in 2007, the Philippine Department of Health issued a circular stating that Ampalaya as a scientifically validated herbal medicinal plant, can lower elevated blood sugar levels. It is sold in the Philippines as a food supplement and marketed under the trade name Ampalaya Plus and the like. The study revealed that a 100 milligram per kilo dose per day is comparable to 2.5 milligrams of the anti-diabetes drug Glibenclamide taken twice per day.

Bitter Melon contains four very promising bioactive compounds. These compounds activate a protein called AMPK, which is well known for regulating fuel metabolism and enabling glucose uptake, processes which are impaired in diabetics. "We can now understand at a molecular level why bitter melon works as a treatment for diabetes," said David James, director of the diabetes and obesity program at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. "By isolating the compounds we believe to be therapeutic, we can investigate how they work together in our cells."

Bitter melon contains a lectin that has insulin-like activity. The insulin-like bioactivity of this lectin is due to its linking together 2 insulin receptors. This lectin lowers blood glucose concentrations by acting on peripheral tissues and, similar to insulin's effects in the brain, suppressing appetite. This lectin is likely a major contributor to the hypoglycemic effect that develops after eating bitter melon and why it may be a way of managing adult-onset diabetes. Lectin binding is non-protein specific, and this is likely why bitter melon has been credited with immunostimulatory activity - by linking receptors that modulate the immune system, thereby stimulating said receptors.

The flowers are interesting too. Notice the telephone cord-like tendril that attached to the trellis I assembled. It's easy to make these vine supports with a diy project. Here's how.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

Corrine said...

My ampalaya hasn't borne any flower yet. I wonder how much horse manure do I have to put in my veggies to make them bear flowers? My lettuce seedlings which have grown to about 1/2 inch, were really nice and strong, until this morning when I found them almost melted. What could have happened. My heart sank a bit and I thought of how badly farmers felt when typhoons or pests hit their produce. It's very disheartening for them. :(

Blackdove said...

No need to rush with horse poop. Just be patient. If the ampalaya vines are tall enough, be sure they get plenty of sunshine.

Lettuce seedlings that small can only withstand brief morning sunlight. And don't over water them, just a bit moist is enough. Keep them away from strong winds also.