Bitter Melons Leaves And Some Facts About Them

Bitter melon Leaves is lighting up as an interesting ingredient for cooking with its different tastes and benefits. However, do you know that bitter melon leaves are also edible? Long Produce can point out some aspects of bitter melon leaves. 

1. General View

Botanically, bitter melon leaves are called Momordica charantia that belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. In addition, they are called Karela. Both fruit and leaves of bitter melon have good impacts on health, therefore, they are popularly used for medicines. On the other hand, they are also consumed as a natural nutrient source.

2. History and Cultivation

The origins of the bitter melon plant started in India. There is no clear record about time and how it was grown, people still believe that India is the first country that domesticate this kind of vegetable. Until the beginning of the 1400s years, this vegetable arrived in China. After that, the Chinese have developed bitter melons with new characteristics different from the Indian ones. Hence, two common kinds of bitter melon all over the world right now are Chinese bitter melon and Indian bitter melon. Then, bitter melon finally appeared in Brazil and the Amazon. The plant strongly develops as well as is a significant commercial product in tropical regions such as Asia, Southeast Asia, the Americas, East Africa, and the Caribbean.

3. Description and Taste

Bitter melon leaves are medium-size leaves with a width of about 1 to 5 inches when mature. The young leaves are small, thin, and usually light green in color. The color changes during the development from light to dark. The texture regularly includes 3-6 veined lobes with jagged borders. When touching, these leaves are usually tender and thin with the plain surface above and rough feeling below. The leaves are grown on the herbaceous plants as well as are commonly stuck with thin and long stems. Similar to the fruit, the bitter melon leaves get the main bitter taste.

3. Nutrition Values of Bitter Melons

Bitter Melon Leaves

Below are some stats about what 100 grams of bitter melon leaves include:

  • Calories: 19
  • Carbohydrates: 4.32 grams
  • Sugar: 1.95 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 0.84 grams
  • Fat: 0.18 grams

Percents of vitamins (based on US recommendation for adults)

  • Vitamin A: 1%
  • Vitamin B1: 4%
  • Vitamin B2: 4%
  • Vitamin B3: 2%
  • Vitamin B5: 4%
  • Vitamin B6: 3%
  • Vitamin B9: 13%
  • Vitamin C: 40%
  • Vitamin E: 1%
  • Vitamin K: 5%

Percents of minerals (based on US recommendation for adults)

  • Calcium: 1%
  • Iron: 3%
  • Magnesium: 5%
  • Manganese: 4%
  • Phosphorus: 5%
  • Potassium: 7%
  • Zinc: 8%

In addition, bitter melon leaves contain other nutrients such as beta-carotene as well as high content of water.

>>> READ MORE: Vietnamese Spinach and The Secrets Behind It

3. Application of Bitter Melon Leaves

Bitter Melon Leaves


Actually, the leaves are not proved clearly for any treatment, they are still widely used in numerous locals. For example, in the Amazon, these leaves are used thanks to their treatment features. While in Nicaragua, they are applied to lower the issues linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Another usage of bitter melon leaves in Peru is to prevent measles and malaria. 

Modern research also points out that bitter melon leaves have impacts on the fight against cancer since they include various antioxidants which are great for cancer patients. Beta-carotene as well as vitamin A, C present in bitter melon leaves plays a significant role in promoting the immune system and eyesight.

Although bitter melon leaves are commonly used as supportive treatment, they are needed more research to point out the real benefits of these fresh leaves in medicine. 


In Southeast Asia countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, the leaves are commonly used as a vegetable for stirring or soup. Below are some easy steps to make soup with bitter melon leaves and minced pork.

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 2 cups of minced pork (about 200 grams)
  • 1 pound of bitter melon leaves
  • Minced garlic
  • A little oil
  • Salt, pepper, and fish sauce to taste


  • Season the minced pork with a little salt and pepper.
  • Cut bitter melon leaves into 1- to 2-inch pieces after picking young leaves and washing them.
  • Add minced garlic into the hot pot with oil, stir until they are lightly golden, and put the pork into the pan and stir for about 2 minutes.
  • Pour water into the pot and add leaves. Bring it to boil then season and serve.


In spite of including numerous nutrients, bitter melon leaves are not recommended for some situations. For example, pregnant and lactating women should consume bitter melon leaves since they can cause contractions, miscarriage, and bleeding. Digestive as well as low-blood-pressure patients, else, should not try bitter melon.

Bitter melon leaves are a new ingredient that you should bring to your kitchen because of their nutrients and fresh flavor. However, remember to use them with a reasonable amount to keep your body always healthy and “beautiful”.

>> Grab it today: Bitter melon leaves


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