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10 Dec 2018, Edition - 1245, Monday

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Health Matters

Bitter Gourd Tea: How To Make This Herbal Tea To Manage Diabetes And Fight Cholesterol


Bitter gourd or bitter melon, commonly known as karela in Hindi, is probably not among one of our most favoured vegetables, but most of us are aware of the fact that it’s incredibly beneficial for our health. The bitter green vegetable is one that our mothers have been trying to get us to eat for years, albeit very unsuccessfully. No matter how creatively it’s cooked or how many spices are used to mask the bitter flavour of this vegetable, a mention of it on the dinner table is very likely to elicit a few scrunched noses and disapproving looks from all around.

However, Indians have managed to somehow make it palatable by adding souring agents and flavourful spices while cooking it. Karela or bitter gourd, despite its infamous taste, is still regarded quite highly by health freaks, for its bounty of beneficial nutrients, which are essential for our overall well-being.

Bitter gourd is added to smoothies and green juices, to enhance their nutritional profile. One of the main benefits of bitter gourd juice or karela juice is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Another one of its wondrous benefits is cleansing the liver naturally. It also aids weight loss. However, there is another way to load up on the benefits of bitter gourd and that is through bitter gourd tea. It’s not a very popular beverage (for obvious reasons!) but has a number of health benefits.

Health Benefits Of Bitter Gourd Tea

Bitter gourd tea is a herbal drink made by infusing dried slices of bitter gourd or bitter melon in water and is sold as a medicinal tea. Bitter gourd tea is available as a powder or an extract. It is also known as the gohyah tea and can be easily prepared at home. Unlike bitter gourd juice, bitter gourd tea can be made by using its leaves, fruit and seeds, all at the same time.

1. Helps in regulation of blood sugar: Bitter gourd has traditionally been considered a natural food to regulate blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. Bitter gourd tea may also help diabetics.

2. Helps reduce cholesterol in blood: Bitter gourd tea may also help cholesterol patients reduce levels of cholesterol in their blood, due to anti-inflammatory properties of bitter gourd.

3. Cleanses the liver: Bitter gourd tea may help you detox your liver and also cleanse your bowels. It also keeps indigestion at bay.

4. Boosts Immune system: The presence of vitamin C in bitter gourd or karela means that the tea may also help you fight infections and gives a boost to your immune system.

5. Improves eyesight: Bitter melon tea or karela tea may also improve your eyesight, due to the presence of vitamin A in the vegetable. Vitamin A is a precursor for beta-carotene, which is important for eye health.

How To Make Bitter Gourd Tea

You can easily make bitter gourd or bitter melon tea at home. All you need for the herbal concoction is some dried or fresh slices of bitter gourd, some water and optionally, any natural sweetener like honey or agave syrup. The tea may also be made from dried leaves of bitter gourd, but you may use the gourd itself as it’s more easily available. All you need to do to make this tea is bring the water to a boil in a pot and add the dried or dehydrated karela slices to it. Let the water boil for 10 minutes on medium heat so that all the nutrients of the bitter gourd are seeped into it. Remove the water from flame and let the slices steep in it for some more time. Filter the contents of the pot out into a teapot or individual cups. Add some honey or other sweetener to it, to give the tea some taste and voila! However, it’s best to avoid the sweeteners, if the tea is being consumed primarily to regulate blood sugar levels.

Bitter gourd may have some side effects for, say, people suffering from hypoglycaemia. This is why it is recommended that you consult a physician before adding this tea to your diet.