pruritus (itch)

Momordica charantia

(In territories with significant traditional TRAMIL use)

  • Antigua : maiden blush
  • Barbados : cerasee
  • Costa Rica : sorosí
  • Dominica : kokouli
  • Dominican Republic : cundeamor
  • Guatemala : sorosí
  • Honduras : calaica
  • Haiti : asorosi
  • Puerto Rico : cundeamor
  • Tobago : corailee
  • Tobago : sorrow seed
  • Tobago : popololo
  • Venezuela : cundeamor

Significant uses found by the TRAMIL surveys

aerial parts, crushed and/ or in aqueous maceration, bath, friction, and local application1-9, 51

Preparation and posology

According to published and other information:

Use for furuncles and common cold is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies and available published scientific information.

Use for dry skin conditions, itching, lice (pediculosis) and burns is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use (OMS/WHO)4 documented in the TRAMIL surveys.

For topical application, strict hygienic measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should furuncles last more than 5 days, seek medical attention.

Do not take orally during pregnancy due to risk of abortion.

Not for use during lactation or by children under 3 years old.

For skin conditions:

Wash the aerial parts of the plant thoroughly and crush them.  Apply 30 grams (a handful) of vegetal material on the affected area of skin 3 times a day.

For common cold:

There is no available information establishing a means of preparation and dosage other than that referred to by traditional use.

1 CHARLES C, 1988 TRAMIL survey. Movement for Cultural Awareness MCA, Roseau, Dominica.

2 WENIGER B, ROUZIER M, 1986 Enquête TRAMIL. Service Oecuménique d'Entraide SOE, Port au Prince, Haïti.

3 LAGOS-WITTE S, 1988-1995 Encuestas TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Histología Vegetal y Etnobotánica, Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras UNAH, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

4 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

5 WENIGER B, 1987-88 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

6 Castillo D, Rodriguez S, de los Santos C, Belen A, 2003 Encuesta TRAMIL (Zambrana, Cotuí). Dep. de Botánica, Jardín BotánicoNacional, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana.

7 Castillo D, Rodriguez S, de los Santos C, Belen A, 2003 Encuesta TRAMIL (region Este). Dep. de Botánica, Jardín BotánicoNacional, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana.

8 DELENS M, 1990 Encuesta TRAMIL en Barlovento, Edo. Miranda de Venezuela. Centro al Servicio de la Acción Popular CESAP, Caracas, Venezuela.

9 GIRON L, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica). Centro Mesoamericano de Tecnología CEMAT, Guatemala.

10 O'REILLY A, 1992 TRAMIL survey. Chemistry & Food Technology Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Dunbars, Antigua & Barbuda.

11 OCAMPO R, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica), Instituto de Desarrollo Agrario, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.


13 BENEDETTI MD, 1994 Encuesta TRAMIL. Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

14 WHO, 1991 Pautas para la evaluación de medicamentos herbarios WHO/TRM/91.4 (original inglés). Programa de Medicina Tradicional, OMS, Ginebra, Suiza.

15 WENIGER B, SAVARY H, DAGUIHL R, 1984 Tri phytochimique de plantes de la liste TRAMIL. Laboratoire de chimie des substances naturelles, Faculté de médecine et de pharmacie, Université d'Etat d'Haïti, Port au Prince, Haïti.

16 HERRERA J, 1990 Determinación de actividades biológicas de vegetales utilizados en medicina tradicional. Informe TRAMIL. Dep. de Farmacología, Facultad de Salud, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

17 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. p110.

18 YASUDA M, IWAMOTO M, OKABE H, YAMAUCHI T, 1984 Structures of momordicines I, II and III, the bitter principles in the leaves and vines of Momordica charantia. Chem Pharm Bull 32(5):2044-2047.

19 DHALLA NS, GUPTA KC, SASTRY MS, MALHOTRA CL, 1961 Chemical composition of the fruit of Momordica charantia. Indian J Pharmacy 23:128-130.

20 KANNA B, 1976 Insulin from Momordica charantia. Patent-Japan Kokai.

21 NG TB, YEUNG HW, 1984 Bioactive constituents of Cucurbitaceae plants with special emphasis on Momordica charantia and Trichosanthes kirilowii. Seoul, Korea: Proc. 5th. Symposium Medicinal Plants and Spices.

22 KHANNA P, MOHAN S, 1973 Isolation and identification of diosgenin and sterols from fruits and in vitro cultures ofMomordica charantia. Indian J Exp Biol11:58-60.

23 OKABE H, MIYAHARA K, YAMAGUCHI T, MIYAHARA K, KAWASAKI T, 1980 Studies on the constituents ofMomordica charantia L. I: Isolation and characterization of momordicosides A and B, glycosides of a pentahydroxy-cucurbitane triterpene. Chem Pharm Bull28(9):2753-2762.

24 RODRIGUEZ DB, RAYMUNDO LC, TUNG-CHING LEE, SIMPSON KL, CHICHESTER CO, 1976 Carotenoid pigment changes in ripening Momordica charantia fruits. Ann Bot (London)40:615-624.

25 LIN JY, HOU MJ, CHEN YC, 1978 Isolation of toxic and non-toxic lectins from the bitter pear melon (Momordica charantia). Toxicon16:653.

26 IYER RI, NAGAR PK, SIRCAR PK, 1981 Endogenous cytokinins in seeds of bittergourd Momordica charantia. Indian J Exp Biol19:766-767.

27 WONG CM, YEUNG HW, NG TB, 1985 Screening of Trichosanthes kirilowii,Momordica charantia andCucurbita maxima (family Cucurbitaceae) for compounds with antilipolytic activity. J Ethnopharmacol 13(3):313-321.

28 YEUNG HW, LI WW, FENG Z, BARBIERI L, STIRPE F, 1988 Trichosanthin, alpha-momorcharin and beta-momorcharin: Identity of abortifacient and ribosome-inactivating protein. Int J Peptide Protein Res 31(3):265-268.

29 MIYAHARA Y, OKABE H, YAMAUCHI T, 1981 Studies on the constituents ofMomordica charantia L. II: Isolation and characterization of minor seed glycosides, momordicosides C, D and E. Chem Pharm Bull29(6):1561-1566.

30 SAUVAIN M, KODJOED JF, BERGRAVE SJ, BONNEVIE O, DEDET JP, 1986 Plantes fébrifuges en médecine traditionnelle en Haïti et en République Dominicaine et thérapie du paludisme. Rapport TRAMIL: ORSTOM, Cayenne, Guyane Française.

31 MORETTI C, 1989 Determinación de la actividad antimalárica de plantas utilizadas por la medicina tradicional (Momordica charantia). TRAMIL IV, Tela, Honduras, UNAH/enda-caribe.

32 CACERES A, JAUREGUI E, HERRERA D, LOGEMANN H, 1991 Plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of dermatomucosal infections. 1: Screening of 38 plant extracts for anticandidal activity. J Ethnopharmacol 33(3):277-283.

33 HEAL R, ROGERS E, WALLACE RT, STARNES O, 1950 A survey of plants for insecticidal activity. Lloydia13(2):89-162.

34 OGUNLANA EO, RAMSTAD E, 1975 Investigation into the antibacterial activities of local plants. Planta Med27(4):354-360.

35 HUSSAIN HSN, DEENI YY, 1991 Plants in Kano ethnomedicine; screening for antimicrobial activity and alkaloids. Int J Pharmacol29(1):51-56.

36 MANEELRT S, SATTHAMPONGSA A, 1978 Antimicrobial activity ofMomordica charantia. Undergraduate special project report. Bangkok, Thailand: Mahidol University. Faculty of Pharmacy.

37 LAL J, CHANDRA S, RAVIPRAKASH V, SABIR M, 1976 In vitro anthelmintic action of some indigenous medicinal plants on Ascardia galli worms. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol20(2):64-68.

38 BISWAS AR, RAMASWAMY S, BAPNA JS, 1991 Analgesic effect ofMomordica charantia seed extract in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol31(1):115-118.

39 MOKKHASMIT M, SAWASDIMONGKOL K, SATRAWAHA P, 1971 Study on toxicity of Thai medicinal plants. Bull Dept Med Sci 12(1/2):36-65.

40 GONZALEZ A, ALFONSO H, 1990 Evaluación de la toxicidad dérmica deMomordica charantia L.,Foeniculum vulgare Mill yCassia occidentalis L. en cobayos. Informe TRAMIL. Centro Nacional de Salud Animal, La Habana, Cuba.

41 GONZALEZ A, ALFONSO H, 1990 Evaluación de la toxicidad dérmica deMomordica charantia L. yCassia occidentalis L. en conejos. Informe TRAMIL. Centro Nacional de Salud Animal, La Habana, Cuba.

42 TABORA O, 1986 Estudio de toxicidad aguda en ratones de la fracción hipoglucemiante deMomordica charantia (Cucurbitaceae). Tegucigalpa, Honduras: IV Semana Científica Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras UNAH.

43 SAKSENA SK, 1971 Study of antifertility activity of the leaves ofMomordica (karela). Indian J Physiol Pharmacol15(2):79-80.

44 PRAKASH AO, MATHUR R, 1976 Screening of Indian plants for antifertility activity. Indian J Exp Biol14(5):623-626. 

45 SHARMA VN, SOGANI RK, ARORA RB, 1960 Some observations on hypoglycemic activity of Momordica charantia. Indian J Med Res48(4):471-477.

46 DIXIT VP, KHANNA P, BHARGAVA SK, 1978 Effects ofMomordica charantia fruit extract on the testicular function of dog. Planta Med34(3):280-286.

47 KOENTJORO-SOEHADI T, SANTA I, 1982 Perspectives of male contraception with regards to Indonesian traditional drugs. Bali, Indonesia: 2nd National Congress of Indonesian Society of Andrology.

48 KHAN AH, BURNEY A, 1962 A preliminary study of the hypoglycemic properties of indigenous plants. Pakistan J Med Res2:100-116.

49 WEST M, SIDRAK G, STREET S, 1971 The anti-growth properties of extracts from Momordica charantia. West Indian Med J20(1):25-34.

50 NG T, 1988 Effects of momorcharins on ovarian response to gonadotropin induced superovulation in mice. Int J Fertil33(2):123-128.

51 DELAIGUE J, 2005 TRAMIL survey. UAG & PRDI, Tobago House of Assembly, Scarborough, Tobago.