The Common Cold Remedies Bitter Gourd Root

Bitter gourd root has been used in alternative cold remedies in both Indian and Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. The efficiency of bitter gourd root has not been proven scientifically, but its long-standing use as a cold remedy suggests that bitter gourd root may help relieve common cold symptoms.

The Origins of Bitter Gourd Root

Bitter gourd root is a vine that grows in most tropic areas, including the Caribbean, South America, East Africa and Asia. The scientific name for bitter gourd root is monordica charantia. Bitter gourd root is also known as:

  • balsam melon
  • bitter cucumber
  • bitter pear.

The fruit of bitter gourd root is a between four and eight inches long and is green with a warty surface.

Benefits of Bitter Gourd Root

Bitter gourd root has a number of attributes that may make it an effective remedy for the common cold. Vitamins and minerals found in bitter gourd root include:

  • beta carotene
  • calcium
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B complex
  • vitamin C.

Vitamin C is found in many alternative cold remedies, and many alternative health practitioners recommend increasing levels of vitamin C to reduce the symptoms of the common cold.

Bitter gourd root is also thought to have antiviral properties and therefore provides a natural defense against common cold viruses. Due to its potential as an antiviral agent, bitter gourd root has been experimented with as an HIV/AIDS treatment.

Bitter gourd root is said to reduce inflammation, which would relieve swollen nasal passages. The root also has the potential to lower blood sugar levels, leading some researchers to theorize bitter gourd root could one day be used in diabetes treatment.

When Not to Use Bitter Gourd Root

Although generally safe, there are circumstances when bitter gourd root should not be used, either as a home remedy or a food. Bitter gourd root has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage during pregnancy, so pregnant women looking for alternative cold remedies should consider other remedies, such as lady’s fingers.

Consuming excessive amounts of bitter gourd root can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea, so avoid excess when using a bitter gourd cold remedy. People with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should not take bitter gourd root, as substances in the plant may lower blood sugar.

Bitter Gourd Root: Common Cold Home Remedy

One of the most common ways to use bitter gourd root as a common cold remedy is to grind the root into a paste. Take 1 teaspoon of the bitter gourd root paste and mix it with equal amounts of honey and basil leaf juice. Take once a night.

Traditionally, this cold remedy was used to treat a variety of respiratory illnesses in addition to the common cold, including:

  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • pharyngitis
  • rhinitis.

Given the potentially negative effects of bitter gourd root, it’s recommended you discuss any alternative cold remedies that contain bitter gourd root with your doctor before treating yourself.

Resources

Ayurvedic Cure (n.d.). Karela (Bitter Melon) Supplements. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from the Ayuvedic Cure Web site: www.ayurvediccure.com/bittergourd.htm.

Best Home Remedies (n.d.). Bitter Gourd: Natural Benefits and Curative Properties. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from the Best Home Remedies Web site: www.best-home-remedies.com/herbal_medicine/vegetables/bitter-gourd.htm.

Cancer Web (9 October 1997). Bitter Melon. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from the Cancer Web Web site: cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/omd?bitter melon.

Home Remedies for You (n.d.). Common cold. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from the Home Remedies for You Web site: www.home-remedies-for-you.com/remedy/Common-Cold.html.

National Bitter Melon Council (n.d.). Better Living through Bitter Melon. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from the National Bitter Melon Council Web site: www.bittermelon.org/pages/heal/health_bebefits.html.

Taylor, L. (2005). Bitter Melon. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from the Rain Tree Nutrition Web site: www.rain-tree.com/bitmelon.htm.