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Bittergourd have been used in various Asian traditional medicine systems for a long time. Like most bitter-tasting foods, bitter melon stimulates digestion. This can be helpful in people with sluggish digestion, dyspepsia, and constipation. The fact that bitter melon is also a demulcent and at least mild inflammation modulator, however, means that it rarely does have these negative effects, based on clinical experience and traditional reports.
It has been claimed that bitter melon’s bitterness comes from quinine. Bitter melon is traditionally regarded by Asians, as well as Panamanians and Colombians, as useful for preventing and treating malaria. Laboratory studies have confirmed that various species of bitter melon have anti-malarial activity, though human studies have not yet been published.
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