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Family Cucurbitaceae
Ampalayang-ligaw

Momordica charantia L. var. abbreviate Seringe
WILD BITTER MELON

Scientific names Common names
Momordica charantia Linn. var abbreviata Ser. Ampalayang-ligaw (Tag.)
  Wild bitter melon (Engl.)
Momordica charantia L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
TAIWAN: Shan ku gua.

Botany
Ampalayang-ligaw is a climbing vine with tendrils up to 10 centimeters long. Leaves heart-shaped, 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter, cut into 5 to 6 lobes. Flowers are yellow, about 10 millimeters long. Fruits are ovoid, about 2 to 4 centimeters long, fleshy green, ribbed, with pointed ends.

Distribution
- Grows wild year-round in open fields, thickets, and waste places, at low and medium altitudes.

Constituents
- Wild bitter gourd (WBG) is known to yield alkaloids, steroidal glucosides, phenolics, lysophosphatidyl-cholines, conjugated linolenic acid isomers, and cucurbitane-type triterpenoids.
- Water extract of wild bitter gourd fruit yielded phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. There was an absence of saponin, alkaloids, and steroids. Triterpenoid compounds in the water extract of fruits were momordicoside L, momordicoside K, compound 3ß, ß7, 25-trihydroxycucurbita-5.23(E)-diena-19-al:R1=H, R2=H and momordicine 1. (8)

Properties
- Wild bitter gourd (WBG) shares with bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) many or most of its properties. Some studies have shown WBG has more potent anti-inflammatory activities.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, anti-tumor, antimelanogenic properties.


Parts utilized
Leaves, fruit, roots, stems.

Uses
Edibility
- Both wild and cultivated forms are edible.
- Fruit of wild form usually roasted over fire and eaten with salt or "heko."
- Young leaves and fruit are edible. The young leaves are preferred to the cultivated variety for use in soups and other culinary inclusions.
Folkloric
- Juice of young leaves used for infants and adults as mucolytic in tight and poorly productive coughs.
- Wild variety shares in the folkloric medicinal uses of the cultivated variety. (Ampalaya)

Toxicity
- None known.

Studies
Comparative Study / Hypoglycemic and Hypolipidemic Activities / Wild and Hybrid Varieties:
Study evaluated the hypoglycemic and hypoliipidemic effect of Momordica charantia (wild and hybrid variety) powder on alloxan induced T2DM in Long-Evans rats. The wild variety showed more significant (p<0.05, 0.01, 0.001) effect on blood glucose level compared with the hybrid variety and standard drug (glibenclamide, 5 mg/kg). The wild variety also showed more significant increase in serum insulin level (p<0.05, 0.01, 0.001) than glibenclamide and control hybrid group. Results prove the wild variety of M. charantia fruit have potent antidiabetic and antilipidemic property. (1)
Antioxidant / Cytoprotective / Anti-melanogenic / Leaves:
Study investigated methanolic leaf extracts of a wild variety and two cultivars of wild bitter melon (WBM) developed in Taiwan. All extracts showed potent nitric oxide and hydroxyl radical scavenging capacities, reduced the production of ROS and prevented cell death in UVB-irradiated HaCaT keratinocytes. Also, all extracts significantly suppressed tyrosinase activity and melanin levels in B16-F10 melanocytes. Results showed antioxidant, cyto-protective and anti-melanogenic activities suggesting potential for preventing photo-oxidative damage and melanogenesis of skin. (2)
Anti-Inflammatory / Hypolipidemic: Study investigated the influence of adding wild bitter gourd to diets on inflammation responses in mice with sepsis induced by intraperitoneal injection of LPS. Results showed wild bitter gourd in diets promoted lipid metabolism, reduced fat accumulation, and improved low blood glucose in sepsis. The addition of wild bitter gourd can reduce inflammation biochemical markers of indicators and pro-inflammatory cytokines, hence improving inflammatory responses in mice with sepsis. (3)
Triterpenoid / Inhibits Breast Cancer Cells: Study investigated the antitumor activity of 3β,7β,25-trihydroxycucurbita-5,23(E)-dien-19-al (TCD), a triterpenoid isolated from wild bitter gourd, in breast cancer cells. TCD suppressed the proliferation of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells with IC50 at 72 hours of 19 and 23 µM, respectively, via a PPARy-independent manner. TCD also induced cell apoptosis along with pleiotrophic biological modulations. Findings suggest the translational value of TCD and WBG as an antitumor agent in patients with breast cancer. (4)
Anti-Inflammatory: Study on anti-inflammatory effect of WBG on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages showed WBG is beneficial for reducing LPS-induced inflammatory responses by modulating NF-kB activation. Extracts of normal bitter gourd showed lesser inhibition on LPS-induced events. The phenolic compound elements paralleled its anti-inflammatory ability. (5) (6)
Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of aqueous and ethanol extracts of wild variety of BM using DPPH, metal chelation, cytochrome C and xanthine oxidase inhibition (XO) assays among others. The BM extracts showed potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities. (7)
Cerasee, Wild Variety / Hypoglycemic: Study evaluated cerasee, a wild variety of M. charantia in the West Indies and Central America. Results showed hypoglycemic effect without significantly altering plasma insulin concentrations, suggesting cerasee may exert an extrapancreatic effect to promote glucose disposal. (9)
Anti-Inflammatory Response in Mice with Sepsis: Study evaluated the influence of eating wild bitter gourd on inflammation response in mice with sepsis. Wild bitter gourd in diets promoted lipid metabolism, improved low blood glucose in sepsis, and attenuated inflammatory stress. Secretion of spleen pro-inflammatory cytokines were significantly lower. Expression of proteins NF-kB, iNOS, and COX-2 were significantly inhibited. Results suggest potential medical benefits for use of the plant food by certain persons. (10)
Improves Metabolic Syndrome / Preliminary Dietary Supplementation Trial: Wild bitter gourd (WBG) has ameliorated metabolic syndrome (MetS) in animal models. Study evaluated the effect of WBG supplementation on MetS in Taiwanese adults. Results demonstrated the beneficial effects of WBG on metabolic syndrome in humans. A daily dose of 4.8 g lyophilized WBG powder significantly decreased the MetS incidence rate after three months of supplementation. Waist circumference also significantly decreased after WBG supplementation. No adverse effects were observed. (11)
Benefits of Roasting Bitter Gourd / Increased Antioxidant Activity: Study evaluated the effect of roasting bitter melon fruits, leaves, stems, and roots on antioxidant activity using DPPH, ABTS, reducing power, and FRAP assays. The roasted bitter melon exhibited significantly higher antioxidant activity than unroasted BM in the test methods used. Roasted roots showed higher antioxidant activity than other extracts. Antioxidant compounds including flavan-3-ols and phenolic acids increased, while flavanols decreased following the roast processing. (12)

Also read studies on Ampalaya

Availability
- Wild-crafted.

Last Updated October 2016

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Comparative study between the effect of Momordica charantia (wild and hybrid variety) on hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic activity of alloxan induced type 2 diabetic long-evans rats / Subbroto Kumar Saha, Md. Ezazul Haque, Dipa Islam, Md. Matiar Rahman, Md. Rezuanul Islam, Anzana Parvin, Shahedur Rahman / JDM, Vol.2 No.1, February 2012 / DOI: 10.4236/jdm.2012.21022

(2)
Antioxidant, cell-protective, and anti-melanogenic activities of leaf extracts from wild bitter melon (Momordica charantia Linn. var. abbreviata Ser.) cultivars / Tsung-Hsien Tsai, Ching-Jang Huang, Wen-Huey Wu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Jong-Ho Chyuan and Po-Jung Tsai / Botanical Studies: An International Journal (2014) 55:78 / DOI: 10.1186/s40529-014-0078-y
(3)
Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Momordica Charantia in Sepsis Mice / Che-Yi Chao, Ping-Jyun Sung, Wei-Hsien Wang, and Yueh-Hsiung Kuo /
Molecules 2014, 19, 12777-12788 / doi:10.3390/molecules190812777
(4)
A triterpenoid from wild bitter gourd inhibits breast cancer cells / Li-Yuan Bai, Chang-Fang Chiu, Po-Chen Chu, Wei-Yu Lin, Shih-Jiuan Chiu & Jing-Ru Weng / Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 22419 (2016) /
doi:10.1038/srep22419
(5)
Nutritional, pharmacological and medicinal properties of Momordica charantia / Kandangath Raghavan Anilakumar, Garlapati Phani Kumar, Nallamuthu Ilaiyaraja / International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, 2015; 4(1): 75-83 / doi: 10.11648/j.ijnfs.20150401.21
(6)
Suppressiveeffectsof wild bitter gourd (Momordica charantia Linn. Var. abbreviate ser.) fruit extracts on inflammatory responses in RAW 264.7 macrophages / Lii CK, Chen HW, Yun WT & Liu KL / Journal of Ethnopharmacol. 2009; 122: 227-233.
(7)
Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of wild bitter melon (Momordica charantia Linn. var. abbreviata Ser.) in Taiwan / Shu-Jing Wu, Lean-Teik Ng / LWT- Food Science and Technology 41(2):323-330 · March 2008 / DOI: 10.1016/j.lwt.2007.03.003
(8)
Composition of Water Extract from Wild Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia L.) Fruit for application as Antifeedant and Mortality Test on Armyworm Larcae (Spodoptera litura Fab.)
/ Tri Wardhani, Abdul Latief Abadi, toto Himawan, Aulanni'am / Journal of Biology and Life Science (2015), Vol 6, No 2
(9)
Cerasee, a traditional treatment for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. / Bailey CJ , Day C , Turner SL , Leatherdale BA / Diabetes Research (Edinburgh, Scotland) [1985, 2(2):81-84
(10)
Effect of wild bitter gourd treatment on inflammatory responses in BALB/c mice with sepsis / Shin-You Ciou, Cheng-Chin Hsu, Yueh-Hsiung Kuo, and Che-Yi / Biomedicine (Taipei). 2014 Sep; 4(3): 17. doi: 10.7603/s40681-014-0017-y
(11)
Wild bitter gourd improves metabolic syndrome: A preliminary dietary supplementation trial / Chung-Huang Tsai, Emily Chin-Fun Chen, Hsin-Sheng Tsay and Ching-jang Huang / Nutrition Journal (2012) 11:4
/ DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-4
(12)
Roasting enhances antioxidant effect of bitter melon (Momordica charantia L.) increasing in flavan-3-ol and phenolic acid contents / Jine Shang Choi, Hyun Young Kim, Weon Taek Seo, Jin Hwan Lee, Kye Man Cho / Food Science and Biotechnology, February 2012, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 19-26

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