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Bitter Melon & High Blood Pressure

author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.
Bitter Melon & High Blood Pressure
Bitter melon looks like a bumpy cucumber.

Bitter melon is best known as an alternative medicine for diabetes, but it also is a folk remedy for treating high blood pressure. You will find this fruit or its juice in Asian grocery stores and on the Internet. While it’s relatively easy to obtain, as of 2010, bitter melon was not proven scientifically sound for any use, note the experts at If, however, you are considering trying bitter melon, consult a doctor in advance.

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Expert Insight

Scientific evidence is scant about bitter melon’s effectiveness or safety for hypertension or high blood pressure, or other conditions that this fruit is used to treat based on tradition or scientific theory, according to Aetna Intelihealth. Other conditions treated traditionally by bitter melon include high blood-lipid levels, skin infections, tumors, gastrointestinal issues, sinusitis, herpes, high cholesterol and respiratory infections. Bitter melon does have blood sugar-lowering properties, but research on its effectiveness as a diabetes treatment is lacking, according to


Because no standard doses have been established, It’s difficult to know the accurate amount of bitter melon for high blood pressure -- or any other condition. Also, many different dosages are used in tradition medicine, according to Aetna. As a diabetes treatment, a typical dose is 50 to 100 mL, but as of 2010, no clinical trial had been conducted to substantiate such a dose, notes


If you decide to try bitter melon as a method of lowering blood pressure, you need to do so under a doctor’s guidance and be aware of the side effects. Bitter melon can trigger hypoglycemia, the condition in which blood sugar that falls too low. It also can lead to vomiting, nausea and anorexia, meaning lack of appetite, according to “The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide,” by George T. Grossberg and Barry Fox. It also poses a risk for spontaneous abortion and birth defects if used during pregnancy, according to Aetna.


Bitter melon interacts with many medicines, according to Grossberg and Fox. It can cause or increase liver damage when taken with certain medicines, including naproxen, acarbose, meloxicam and tramadol. It increases the risk of hypoglycemia when taken with many medications as well. These include insulin, acarbose, glipizide and tolazamide.

Other Names

You may see bitter melon under the guise of other names as a high blood pressure or diabetes remedy. These include bitter cucumber, cerasee, balsam pear, balsam apple, bitter apple, carilla gourd or carilla cundeamor.

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