Bitter gourd is one of the nature’s most bountiful gifts and is one of the discarded vegetable by people, just because of its bitter taste as it contains a bitter compound called momordicin.
Momordica charantia, commonly known as bitter gourd belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae. It has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat diabetes and its complications. Several medicinal properties of the bitter gourd have been studied such as anti-diabetic, anti-ulcerogenic, anti-mutagenic, antioxidant, anti-tumour, anti-viral, hypoglycemic and immunomodulatory.
1. Hypoglycemic Activity: Bitter gourd contains bitter chemicals like charantin, which are hypoglycemic in action and improve blood sugar levels by increasing glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in the liver, muscles and fat cells.
2. Antioxidant Activity: The antioxidant properties of carotenoids protect humans from carcinogens and mitigate free radical effects associated with heart disease.
3. Antimicrobial Activity: The leaf extracts of bitter gourd possess antimicrobial activity principally against E- coli, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus.
4. Respiratory Problems: The paste of the leaves of the bitter gourd is mixed with equal amounts of the paste of tulsi leaves and honey can have as a treatment and prevention for respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and common cold.
5 Skin Infections: In case of ringworm one cup of bitter gourd juice must be consume for each morning on an empty stomach. This juice has potent against the skin infection.
Soil with sandy loam texture rich in organic matter with good drainage and pH range of 6.5-7.5 is suited for bitter gourd cultivation. This crop requires a moderate warm temperature.
Planting is done on July and January.
Seeds and Sowing
seeds are usally of bold nature with rough surface, while sowing the seeds depth of 3cm and dibbling (placing the seeds with hand inside the soil) method is preferable as it leads to a quick germination of the seeds. The gourd has profuse rooting habit because of this nature, spacing of 35x40cm is generally recommended.
Irrigate the basins before dibbling the seeds and thereafter once a week.
Application of fertilizers
Apply thin layer of vermicompost at 30 days after sowing. Apply 5-6 gram of multinuteint at the 45 days after sowing. Apply 5-6 gram of Pottassium which improves quality, taste, color and also helps the plants to improve immunity system.
Generally the fruit comes for the harvest after 90s days from the planting.
Bitter gourd pest and diseases There are many pest and disease that can distract the healthy growth of the gourd, among those the major one’s are;
Fruit fly: the fly usually attack the fruit, and use to deposit the eggs inside the fruits through their ovipositor, the hatched maggots start to feed the fruit and ooze out the excreta, resulting in necrotic spot on fruit.
|Control measure: monitor the area regularly, bag the fruit using the paper bag as it avoid the laying of the eggs inside the fruits. Added to this pheromone trap can also be used as mechanical method which help in attracting fruit fly through a lure. |
Powdery mildew: rainy season of cool and moist environment favour the powdery growth on leaves, where the corresponding lower surface turns to yellow spot. In severe stage the plant shows the mosaic symptom which give great hit on photosynthesis, leads to plant die.
Control measure: assure the bright sunlight and good aeration to the plant, avoid the close spacing. Give the sulphur based fungicide spray like Pow-mel ( 1g of pow-mel in 1lt of water) to the whole plant.
Key words: bitter gourd, health, anti-cancer, pest, disease, fruit-fly, soil, bagging, pow-mel, seeds, medicine.
WRITE UP BY:
REKHA M (M.Sc AGRICULTURE)