A member of the Cucurbitaceae family

Ampalaya is dark green and looks a bit like a cucumber or zucchini with warts. A member of the family Cucurbitaceae, momordicus is the Latin word for bitter.

Charantia species is the Greek word for “flower is beautiful”. Technically, this is a vegetable, but some scholars call is as a fruit. Although it is mainly cultivated for medicinal and culinary uses, it can also grow in the wild, like the Gulf Coast of the United States. Scientific studies have shown that dried fruits, leaves and seeds of ampalaya was used in the formulation of nutritional supplements, herbal teas and capsules to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Momordicines, responsible for its bitter taste

The presence of momordicines in Ampalaya, which is responsible for its bitter taste, can enhance the flavor of other ingredients. It is usually eaten fresh, but is also available as pickles or canned in brine. Young shoots and leaves are used in various recipes and fruits are usually salted before cooking.

Ampalaya is a monoecious crop, which means it produces male and female flowers. Yellow Bowers examined individually in the axils of the leaves into 2-10cm mesh pendant stems often when he is grown. The fruit ripens ten to fourteen days after flowering and the plant grows to about eighty to ninety days after sowing. Although it is mainly cultivated for medicinal and culinary uses, it can also grow in the wild, example like the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Nutrients in Ampalaya

An Ampalaya fruit which contains about 43% moisture is made up of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Minerals
  • Calcium (3.2 percent by weight)
  • Iron (approximately 0.9 mg)
  • Phosphorus (3.2 percent by weight)
Vitamins
  • Vitamin A (335 mg)
  • Vitamin B1 (0.06 mg)
  • Vitamin B2 (0.03 mg)
  • Vitamin B3 (0.3 mg)
  • Vitamin C (55 mg)

There are a series of studies to illustrate the chemical components in ampalaya and some of them have been isolated, including: alkanoids (momordicin), amino acids, aromatic oils, lectins (momordin), momorcharins, polypeptides (p-insulin), cytokinins, fatty acids, fixed oils, sterol glucosides (charantin), triterpene glycosides (momordicoside), vicine.