MANILA, Philippines - Q: Is ampalaya really effective in treating diabetes? What are its other medicinal properties? Lyn_l@yahoo.com
A: Yes, ampalaya or bitter melon (Mormodica charantia) has been proven to be effective in lowering the blood sugar of people with non-insulin dependent or type 2 diabetes, the type of diabetes that afflicts 90 to 95 percent of all diabetics.
A substantial number of scientific studies on the effect of ampalaya on blood glucose levels have already been undertaken. The most compelling of these is a 10-year trial, which was conducted by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) that compared ampalaya leaves with the anti-diabetes drug glibenclamide. The results of the trial showed that the blood sugar lowering effect of a 100 milligram per kilo dose per day of ampalaya is comparable to 2.5 milligrams of the anti-diabetes drug Glibenclamide taken twice a day.
The sugar lowering effect of ampalaya applies to the leaves of the plant whether eaten as food or taken in the form of tablets, capsules and teas. There are no conclusive studies on the effect of the fruits and roots yet.
Ampalaya tablets, capsules and teas abound in supermarkets and drugstores, but diabetics who wish to benefit from ampalaya need not buy these products. They can cultivate the plant or buy it fresh and make their own preparation.
To prepare ampalaya extract, the Department of Health (DOH) suggests the following steps:
* Wash and finely chop ampalaya leaves
* Add six tablespoons of the chopped leaves in two glasses of water
* Boil the mixture for 15 minutes in an uncovered pot
* Cool down and strain
* Drink 1/3 cup of the solution three times a day.
Alternately, ampalaya tops can be steamed and eaten (1/2 cup twice a day). …