Antioxidant and Anti-diabetic Properties of Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia) Fruit

  • Ee Shian Tan Centre of Biotechnology and Functional Food, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia
  • Aminah Abdullah Centre of Biotechnology and Functional Food, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia
  • Nur Kartinee Kassim Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia
Keywords: Momordica charantia, antioxidant, glucose uptake, acarbose, insulin


This study aimed to determine the therapeutic values of local bitter gourd relative to the conventional drugs, especially in managing oxidative stress and blood glucose. The therapeutic values of bitter gourd fruit were evaluated using three antioxidant assays (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging system [DPPH], the ability of ferric ion reduction in plasma [FRAP], total phenolic content [TPC]) and three hyperglycemic assays (inhibition of α-amylase and α-glucosidase and glucose uptake by human carcinoma liver cell [HepG2]). The result showed that bitter gourd fruit is not only a powerful secondary antioxidant but also a potent anti-diabetic food, which supported the use of bitter gourd fruit in suppressing high blood sugar in traditional medicine.


S. Saravanan S. & Parimelazhagan T. “In vitro antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-diabetic properties of polyphenols of Passiflora ligularis Juss. fruit pulp.” Food Science and Human Wellness, 2014, 3(2): 56- 64.

U. P. Singh, S. Maurya, A. Singh, A. and M. Singh. “Phenolic acids in some Indian cultivars of Momordica charantia and their theraputic properties.” Journal of Medicinal Plant Research, 2011, 5, 3558-3560.

A. Kochhar, M. Nagi & R. Sachdeva. “Proximate composition, available carbohydrates, dietary fibre and anti nutritional factors of selected traditional medicinal plants.” Journal of Human Ecology, 2006, 19(3): 195-199.

C. Myojin, N. Enami, A. Nagata, T. Yamaguchi, H. Takamura & T. Matoba. “Changes in the radical-scavenging activity of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.) during freezing and frozen storage with or without blanching.” Journal of Food Science, 2008, 73(7): C546-C550.

R. Horax, N. Hettiarachchy, A. Kannan & P. Chen. “Proximate composition and amino acid and mineral contents of Momordica charantia L. pericarp and seeds at different maturity stages.” Food Chemistry, 2010, 122: 1111-1115.

B. Joseph & D. Jini. “Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medical potency.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 2013, 3(2): 93-102.

K. Prasad, J. Singh & D. Chandra. “Quantification of antioxidant phytochemicals in fresh vegetables using high performance liquid chromatography.” Research Journal of Phytochemistry, 2014, 8(4): 162-167.

M. K. Saeed, I. Shahzadi, I. Ahmad, R. Ahmad & K. Shahzad. “Nutritional analysis and antioxidant activity of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) from Pakistan.” Pharmacology Online, 2010, 1, 252-260.

N. G. Goreja. Bitter melon: nature’s anti diabetic. New York: Amazing Herb Press, 2003.

K. H. Musa, A. Abdullah, K. Jusoh & V. Subramaniam. “Antioxidant activity of pink-flesh guava (Psidium guajava L.): effect of extraction techniques and solvents.” Food Analytical Methods, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s12161-010-9139-3 on 9/1/2015.

C. Jain, A. Singh, P. Kumar & K. Gautam. “Anti-diabetic potential of flavonoids and other crude extracts of stem bark of Mangifera indica Linn: A comparative study.” Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research, 2014, 3(1): 21-27.

R. Ramu, P. S. Shirahatti, F. Zameer, L. V. Ranganatha & M. N. N. Prasad. “Inhibitory effect of banana (Musa sp. Var. Nanjangud rasa bale) flower extract and its constituents Umbelliferone and Lupel on αglucosidase, aldose reductase and glycation at multiple stages.” South African Journal of Botany, 2014, 95: 54-63.

R. Nurliyana, I. Syed Zahir, K. Mustapha Suleiman, M. R. Aisyah & K. Kamarul Rahim. “Antioxidant study of pulps and peels of dragon fruits: a comparative study.” International Food Research Journal, 2010, 17: 367-375.

T. Ee Shian, A. Aminah, M. Khalid Hamid, M. Mohammad Yusof & A. G. Maaruf. “Antioxidant properties of three banana cultivars (Musa acuminata ‘Berangan’, ‘Mas’ and ‘Raja’) extracts.” Sains Malaysiana, 2012, 41(3); 319-324.

T. Ee Shian, A. Aminah & M. Y. Maskat. “Effect of drying methods on total antioxidant capacity of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) fruit.” AIP Conference Proceedings, 2013, 1571: 710-716.

S. J. Wu & L. T. Ng. “Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of wild bitter melon (Momordica charantia Linn. var. abbreviate Ser.) in Taiwan.” Swiss Society of Food Science and Technology, 2008, 41: 323-330.

M. Hamissou, A. C. Smith, R. E. Carter Jr & J. K. Triplett II. “Antioxidative properties of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) and zucchini (Cucurbita pepo).” Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, 2013, 25(9): 641-647.

G. Leelaprakash, J. C. Rose, B. M. Gowtham, P. K. Javvaji & S. A. Prasad. “In vitro antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of Momordica charantia leaves.” Pharmacophore, 2011, 2(4): 244-252.

Z. Ahmad, K. F. Zamhuri, A. Yaacob, C. H. Siong, M. Selvarajah, A. Ismail & M. N. Hakim. “In vitro anti-diabetic activities and chemical analysis of polypeptide-k and oil isolated froom seeds of Momordica charantia (bitter gourd).” Molecules, 2012, 17: 9631- 9640.

P. Wongsa, J. Chaiwarit & A. Zamaludien. “In vitro screening of phenolic compounds, potential inhbition against α-amylase and α-glucosidase of culinary herbs in Thailand.” Food Chemistry, 2012, 131: 964-971.

G. Nagarani, A. Abirami & P. Siddhuraju. “A comparatice study on antioxidant potentials, inhibitory activities against key enzymes related to metabolic syndrome, and anti-inflammatory activity of leaf extract from different Momordica species.” Food Science and Human Wellness, 2014, 3: 36-46.

Q. Zhu, Y. Tong, T. Wu, J. Li & N. Tong. “Comparison of the hypoglycemic effect of acarbose monotherapy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus consuming an Eastern or Western diet: a systematic meta-analysis.” Clinical Theraputics, 2013, 35(6): 880-899.

K. Hanhineva, R. Törrönen, I. Bondia-Pons, J. Pekkinen, M. Kolehmainen, H. Mykkänen & K. Poutanen. “Impact of dietary polyphenols on carbohydrate metabolism.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2010, 11: 1365-1402.

L. Zhang, J. Hu & G. Du. “Establishment of a cell-based assay to screen insulin-like hypoglycemic drugs.” Drug Discovery & Therapeutics, 2008, 2(4): 229-233.

L. Wang, M. L. Xu, S. K. Rasmussen & M. Wang. “Vomifoliol 9-O-α-arabinofuranosyl (1→6)-β-D-glucopyranoside from the leaves of Diospyros Kaki stimulates the glucose uptake in HepG2 and 3T3-l1 cells.” Carbohydrate Research, 2011, 346: 1212-1216.

D. T. Ha, T. N. Trung, T. T. Hien, T. T. Dao, N. Yim, T. M. Ngoc, W. K. Oh & K. Bae. “Selected compounds derived from Mouton Cortex stimulated glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis via AMPK activation in human HepG2 cells.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2010, 131: 417-424.

H. Takanaga, B. Chandhuri & W. B. Frommer. “GLUT1 and GLUT9 as major contributors to glucose influx in HepG2 cells identified by a high sensitivity intramolecular FRET glucose sensor.” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2008, 1778: 1091-1099.

L. Szablewski. “Glucose homeostasis.” In. Szablewski, L. (ed.), Glucose Homeostatis and Insulin Resistance. Poland: Bentham Science, 2008.

T. McKee & J. R. McKee. Biochemistry: the molecular basis of life, Vol. 5. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

E. Newsholme & A. Leech. “Enzymes: activities, properties, regulation and physiology.” In. Newsholme, E. & Leech, A. (eds.), Functional Biochemical in Health and Disease. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2010.

M. A. Hossain, M. Mostafa, M. A. Awal, E. H. Chosdhury & M. H. Sikder. “Histomorphological and morphometric studies of pancreatic islets cells of diabetic rats treated with aqueous extracts of Momordica charantia (karela) fruits.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 2014, 4(Supplement 2): S608-S704.

A. Saifi, K. P. Namdeo, R. Chauhan & J. Dwivedi. “Evaluation of pharmacognistical, phytochemical and antidiabetic activity of fruits of Momordica charantia Linn.” Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, 2014, 7(3): 152-156.

H. Cheng, H. Huang, C. Chang, C. Tsai & C. Chou. “A cell-based screening identifies compounds from the stem of Momordica charantia that overcome insulin resistance and activate AMP-activated protein kinase.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2008, 56(16): 6835-6843.

M. A. Z. Chowdhury, M. I. Hossain, M. S. Hossain, S. Ahmed, T. Afrin & N. Karim. “Antidiabetoc effects of Momordica charantia (karela) in male long Evans rat.” Journal of Advamced Laboratory Research in Biology, 2012, 3(3): 175-180.

How to Cite
Tan, E. S., Abdullah, A., & Kassim, N. K. (2019). Antioxidant and Anti-diabetic Properties of Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia) Fruit. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR), 48(5), 76-85. Retrieved from