While I lived in Thailand one of my favourite Thai soups had as its solid ingredient bitter melon often stuffed with a meat such as pork. Bitter melon is now readily available in most Australian fruit markets – particularly those with Asian customers. I have read that it has been suggested as a cure for HIV and other ailments. I have also read that the group of Japanese people who live on Okinawa – the longest lived people on earth overall – eat a lot of the melon.
Now I learn this morning that it helps people deal with the chronic disease Type 2 diabetes by helping the disposal of glucose in the bloodstream. It also apparently helps deal with obesity.
Bitter melon extract can be purchased as a supplement though I have no knowledge of this.
The melon itself is an unusual tasting food – it is indeed bitter – but it might have a ‘no regrets’ medical potential. I wonder whether you can get seeds or seedlings and grow it yourself?
Update: Reader Lee pointed me to this informative discussion of bitter melon on last night's 7.30 Report. Reader Slim pointed to this source for seeds which I will follow up. Finally this source gives details for growing in Australia - in my home town of Melbourne only in the summer months with planting in late October. Mainly a tropical sort of vegetable.