Gurmar, Jamun, Bitter Melon, and Fenugreek

Image Credit: jetalone / Flickr

What about gurmar, jamun, bitter melon, and fenugreek?

What is your take on the following substances? Gurmar…jamun… bitter melon…[and] fenugreek?   Lastly, Dr. Greger what do you think of Citruline and L Argenine in their role as helping out in repairing the endothelium cells ( Citruline ) and the later helping in promoting Nitrous Oxide formation if one used the drug versions instead of Citruline absorbed thru Watermelon rind where a large portion of citulline is usually discarded?

Data / Originally posted in A Harmless Artificial Sweetener

Answer:

I’ve often wondered about bitter melon myself (Momordica charantia, also known as karela, or bitter gourd). I’ve seen it at the Indian spice stores I frequent (looks kind of like a ridged warty cucumber), but never tried it. I hear it lives up to its name, though. In fact the more ripe it gets, the more inedibly bitter it evidently becomes! But with enough heavy spicing I guess anything can be made palatable (the best way to mask the taste appears to be tomato-based sauces).

study published just a few days ago found that an extract of the fruit appeared to slow the growth of a rare cancer in a petri dish (adrenocortical carcinoma, an aggressive 1-in-a-million cancer of the adrenal gland), something that extracts of blueberries, zucchini, and acorn squash couldn’t do. Similar findings were reported in 2011 with prostate cancer cells and in 2010 with breast cancer cells. Traditionally, bitter melon has been used to lower blood sugars in diabetics, though most of the studies to support this use have been small and methodologically weak. There was a randomized controlled study published in 2007 that found no significant improvement in long-term blood sugar control in diabetics, but there have also been case reports of children having hypoglycemic seizures (and one even sinking into a coma) after drinking bitter melon tea, so presumably there is some blood-sugar-lowering effect there somewhere. If you are going to try it, I would recommend eating the fruit itself, not some extract. For example, there is a published report of a man who started throwing up blood after chugging two cups of bitter melon juice, which apparently ate through the wall of his stomach.

I’ll have to look into gurmar and jamun. As for citrulline and watermelon, I cover that in my video Watermelon as Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. I’ve also got upcoming videos on fenugreek (from my volume 11 Latest in Nutrition DVD), so I leave you in suspense (*spoiler alert*: fenugreek seeds appear to have both muscle-building and anti-cancer properties, but do have an unusual side effect: they may make your armpits smell like maple syrup!).

Image thanks to jetalone / Flickr

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Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


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