Momordica is a well-known food item in southeastern Asia, commonly called bitter melon. The taste is quite bitter and it is consumed by the native populations there mainly because it is said to have a therapeutic cooling action. Momordica has become of great interest to medical researchers primarily for two other actions: a protein fraction has been shown to have antiviral and anticancer potential and steroidal compounds are reported to have blood sugar regulating effects similar to that attained with insulin. While the protein fraction may not be effective when consumed orally, the blood sugar regulating effects appear to be attained by consuming the melon or its dried extracts. Therefore, this herb is a lead ingredient in most Ayurvedic remedies for the increasingly common problem of diabetes.
Formula for obesity and late onset diabetes
Karnim is a formula that was developed in India as a proprietary product of Universal Medicaments, an Ayurvedic company in Nagpur, India. It is their best selling formula in India and worldwide, used primarily for people with late-onset diabetes. It is named for two herbs that have noted antidiabetic properties: karela (Momordica charantia) and neem, also spelled nim (Azadirachta indica). Both herbs have been subjects of laboratory and clinical studies. These two herbs are combined in this formulation with four ingredients that regulate metabolism and help reduce accumulation of lipids in the blood; these are valuable for obesity associated with accumulation of ama. An initial study with momordica, neem, and basil showed that it regulated gluconeogenesis (production of sugar from other substances, such as proteins) and reduced glucose levels. Clinical trials with the complete Karnim formula have indicated that reduced symptoms of diabetes can usually be noted within one month of regular use. Of course, the herbs should be used in a program of exercise and dietary control.