Karela juice: benefits and contraindications

The Momordica charantia, Karela or bitter melon is a climbing plant that can reach 5 meters in length. Cultivated in the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, it stands out for its rough-skinned fruit, white pulp and the drink that can be made with it: Karela juice.

This juice, as the name of the plant suggests, has a bitter taste that can be unpleasant. Despite this, it is very popular as it is believed to help lower blood sugar levels, improve skin health, and stimulate weight loss.

We show you in detail how Karela juice is prepared, what are its benefits and whether or not they have scientific endorsement, and what side effects it can generate.

Karela juice benefits

Karela juice would help you lose weight and also improve blood sugar levels.

The two varieties of bitter melon, native to China and India, are used to prepare Karela juice. Discover the benefits you can get from consuming this drink.

May lower blood sugar levels

Karela juice contains p-polypeptide, charantine and vicin, three chemical compounds that are known for their hypoglycemic effects. According to a study published in Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, the p-polypeptide can act like insulin; In other words, it regulates blood sugar by improving its absorption in cells and tissues.

Similarly, an investigation published in The Open Medicinal Chemistry Journal found that the charantine and vicin can lower glucose levels. However, it is not yet clear how they can do it.

For its part, There are other active ingredients in Karela juice capable of protecting and regenerating the cells of the pancreas, the organ that is responsible for releasing insulin in response to the presence of sugar in the blood.

Now, an investigation published in Journal of Medicinal Food found that consuming 2 grams of bitter melon extract every day for 90 days may decrease levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a heteroprotein that allows us to know the levels of sugar in the blood in the last 3 months.

This is especially helpful as there is scientific evidence that having low HbA1c levels is linked to better glucose control and a lower risk of diabetes.

Of course, it is necessary to bear in mind that although the studies are promising, more extensive and conclusive research is still required to consider Karela juice as a treatment for controlling blood sugar levels.

Also read: 7 ways to control blood sugar level

May improve skin health

Folk medicine has used Karela juice for cosmetic purposes. There are even those who believe that this could be effective to illuminate the skin.

A study published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that due to its vitamin C and provitamin A content, This juice has antioxidant properties essential for the health of the skin and the healing process.

Another investigation, this time in rodents with diabetes, showed that using bitter melon extract topically accelerates wound healing.

Similarly, a study published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that Karela juice is able to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis, eczema and ulcers. However, more human studies are needed.

Contribute to weight loss

An investigation published in the journal Indian Journal of Medical Research showed that participants who took 4.8 grams of bitter melon extract daily managed to lose significant amounts of abdominal fat. After seven weeks, they even showed an average 1.3 cm waist loss.

Now, although the cause of the weight loss is not known, Karela juice can be beneficial for these purposes. There are those who think that this could be due to its high fiber content, few calories and hydrating effect, since these are factors that create a greater feeling of satiety and avoid eating foods with many calories.

Improve cholesterol levels

According to a study published in Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Karela juice can increase "good" cholesterol (HDL) levels and lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.

Contraindications and possible side effects of Karela juice

Currently, there is no 100% reliable data on its security. Check with your doctor before drinking it.

One of the main disadvantages of this juice is that its bitter taste may be too unpleasant for some. However, if you can ignore this fact, you may not have to drink a lot either. Consuming too much of this juice can cause stomach pain and diarrhea, but how much is safe has not yet been determined.

In the same way, it is necessary to consider that, due to its impact on blood sugar levels, diabetic and medicated patients should consult with their doctor before starting to take this juice as an alternative treatment.

Likewise, bitter melon extract can damage the endocrine system, responsible for hormones and reproduction, so pregnant and lactating women should see a specialist before adding this juice to their diet.

How is Karela juice prepared?

Besides being nutritious, Karela juice is very easy to prepare. When buying fruits, it is recommended to choose the largest ones that are not too ripe, since in this state their bitter taste is usually stronger.

It is also advised, if you want to soften the flavor, soak the pulp in water with lemon juice for at least 30 minutes.


  • 1 bitter melon.
  • Water or other juice
  • Lemon juice, salt, or honey (optional).

Step by Step

  1. Wash the fruit in cold water.
  2. Place it on a cutting board and cut the ends without peeling it.
  3. Cut the fruit lengthwise and widthwise so that you get four pieces.
  4. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard them.
  5. Take each of the pieces and proceed to cut them into medium pieces.
  6. Add water to the blender. To do this, keep in mind that two parts of bitter melon require one part of water. You can also adjust it to your liking and even replace the water with another juice.
  7. Add the melon chunks to the blender. You can add a few drops of lemon, 1/2 teaspoon of honey or salt.
  8. Proceed to blend until it acquires a smooth texture.
  9. Pour the mixture into a wire mesh strainer and press down with a wooden spoon over the solids to get the most juice.
  10. Finally, serve hot or let it cool before drinking.

Discover: Bitter Melon Tea to Help Control Diabetes

What to remember about Karela juice?

Karela juice is prepared from the fruits of the plant of the same name, also known as Momordica charantia and bitter melon. This plant that belongs to the climbing family can measure up to 5 meters and is native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

Despite the bitter taste of this juice, has a great popularity that is mainly due to its health benefits. Research has shown that bitter melon juice may lower glucose levels, improve skin health, and facilitate weight loss.

However, since it is unknown how much of this juice is considered safe, it is recommended to drink little because it can also trigger adverse effects such as an upset stomach and diarrhea.

It is also not recommended for diabetic, medicated, pregnant and lactating people.. All these cases, you should consult with a doctor before adding it to your diet.