Pharmaceutical potential

Antidiabetes properties: In regard to the antidiabetes properties of Momordica charantia L., a number of experiments conducted in vivo tend to demonstrate that intake of the fruits improves glucose tolerance. An extract of the fruit given for ten weeks lowers glycaemia in streptozocin-induced type I diabetic rats (Ahmed I et al., 2001). The juice expressed from the fruit improves significantly the glucose tolerance of diabetic patients (Welihinda J etal., 1986). The precise mechanism of action involved here is unknown but one could set the

Uses: In China, the fruits of Momordica charantia L. are eaten to reduce body temperature, invigorate health, relieve the bowels of costiveness and stop flatulence. In Cambodia, the leaves are used to combat fever and delirium. In Indonesia, a decoction of the leaves is drunk to relieve the bowels of costiveness, treat liver diseases and expel intestinal worms. In India, the fruits are eaten to relieve the bowels of costiveness and expel intestinal worms. In Malaysia, the fruits are used to treat diabetes, and a poultice of the powdered leaves is applied to burns. A decoction of Momordica charantia L. is drunk to abort a pregnancy. In the Philippines, the juice expressed from the green fruit is drunk to treat chronic colitis and dysentery In Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the cooked fruit is used to stop catarrh, flux and cough.

Khmer Herbal Medicine
Fig. 115. Momordica charantia L. From: Delhi University Herbarium 004378. Field collector: PS Sabharwal, 8 Sep 1957. Altitude 500 ft. Geographical localization: Najafgarh, Delhi. Botanical identification: de Wilde 1996.

hypothesis that the hypoglycaemic property would not result from an insulinmediated mechanism (Sarkar S et al., 1996; Madsuda H et al., 1997), but from a glucocorticoid-mediated by oleanolic acid saponins. Being structurally close to glucocorticoids, the triterpenes of Momordica charantia L. have the tendency to occupy glucocorticoid receptors and act thereby as glucocorticoid antagonist in two instances, hypoglycaemia and abortion. An example of glucocorticoid antagonist used in therapeutic is RU486 which causes abortion and eliminates carbohydrate intolerance in many subjects (Mantero F etal., 1989). Another hypothesis is that, given peros, the triterpenes of Momordica charantia L. suppress the transfer of glucose from the stomach to the small intestine by inhibiting glucose transport at the brush border of the small intestine, as demonstrated with momordin Ic (Matsuda H etal., 1998a).

Other steroidal properties: Oleanolic acid 3-O-monodesmoside characterized from Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng. exhibits antipruritic properties in mice (Matsuda H et al., 1998). Petroleum ether, benzenic and alcohol extracts of the seeds of Momordica charantia L. given to rats at a dose of 25 mg/100 g/day for 35 days, reduce the number of spermatocytes, spermatids and spermatozoa. The alcohol extract is more potent in its anti-spermatogen, antisteroidogen and androgen properties (Naseem MZ et a/., 1998).

Cytotoxic properties: Momordica charantia L. has attracted a great deal of interest on account of a series of oleanolic acid saponins known as momordin. Momordin are anticarcinogenic in rodents through the enzymes of biotransformation and detoxification (Ganguly C etal., 2000). Oleanolic acid momordin I, Id and le reduce in vitro the Jun/Fos-DNA interaction which is a crucial factor in transmitting tumor-promoting signals from the extracellular environment to nuclear transmission machinery (Lee DK et a/., 1998). Topical application of an extract of peels of the fruits of Momordica charantia L. (100 ^g/animal/day) reduces the proliferation of 7, 12-dimethylbenz-[a]-anthracene-induced skin papilloma in mice (Singh A et a/., 1998). Antimutagen principles characterized from the green fruit are identified as 3-O-[6-O-palmitoyl-^-D-glucosyl-stigmasta-5,25(27)-dien and its stearyl derivative. At a dosage range of 50.5 ^g extract/g-12.5 ^g extract/g in mice, the mixture reduces by about 80% the number of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes caused by mitomycin C. Structure-activity correlation studies suggest that the antimutagen property may reside in the peculiar lipid-like structure of the acylglucosylsterols. Ingestion of these compounds may result in their absorption in the plasma membrane lipid bilayer which would adversely affect the membrane permeability towards mitomycin C and disrupt the cellular property of the latter (Guevara AP et a/., 1990).

Antimicrobial properties: An extract of Momordica charantia L. inhibits the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis cultured in vitro (France AP eta/., 1998). The fruit of Momordica charantia L. contains a protein which inhibits, the enzymatic activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase in vitro (Jiratchariyakul W et a/., 2001).

Momordin I

Continue reading here: References

Was this article helpful?

0 0