seeds of Momordica charantia, bitter melone / bitter cucumber.
Momordica charantia seeds
Momordica charantia belongs to the family of the Curcurbitaceae. It is also known under several other names like bitter melone or bitter cucumber.
M. charantia is distributed in all tropic and subtropic areas around the world. It is a very popular plant for food and medical use.
M. charantia is a climbing plant that can reach a height of 2 to 5 m.
The leaves are relatively big, 10 cm long and 12 cm wide. They are lobate. The leaves can be eaten fresh just like a vegetable or dried for tea. The leaves do not include as many bitterns as the fruit.
The flowers are yellow, actinomorphic and stand in the leaf axilla. There are female and male flowers.
The fruit looks like a cucumber with nubs and gets 5 cm long. When the fruit is unripe it is green but can already be eaten. The ripe fruit is yellow. The seeds are now surrounded by a red pulp. The cup is now very bitter and does not taste that good any more. In contrast the pulp is very sweet. The native use the fruits to aromatize their soups.
The fruit bursts at the tree when it is not harvested and releases the seeds that are surrounded by the sticky, red pulp.
Some studies showed that M. charantia has a sugar- lowering effect. The fruit activates the cells to take up more glucose and promotes the release of insulin. Furthermore M. charantia can lower the cholesterol level. Because of that there is some ongoing research about the several chemical substances in M. charantia.
Cultivation from seeds:
The seeds of M. charantia should be put into warm water for a few hours before planting. After that they can be planted 1 cm deep into the substrate. If the substrate is kept moist at a temperature of about 23°C, germination occurs after 2 to 4 weeks.
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