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Karela: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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By NS Desk 17-Dec-2020

Karela

Karela, which is also known as bitter gourd, holds many medicinal values and is a vegetable. Filled with vitamin A and Vitamin C, many nutrients give Karela nutritional properties. It increases the blood purification level and naturally helps in getting glowing skin. This is done due to the removal of toxins in the body by the consumption of Karela juice.
 
Karela is also helpful for increasing the appetite and hence improves the digestion process. A glass of Karela juice taken empty stomach daily can work wonders for health. It acts as a shield against skin infections and prevents the damage of cell tissues. The antioxidant properties of Karela also prevent free radical formation in the body.
 
For managing the blood sugar level too, Karela is proved to be beneficial as it increases insulin secretion.
 
The application of Karela paste or powder with coconut oil on the hair scalp helps to remove dandruff from the hair. It is done due to the antiviral and antibacterial properties of Karela.
 
The Ayurvedic study claims that Karela paste due to Ropan property is also beneficial for minimizing piles issue in the body.
 
Excessive consumption of Karela juice reduces the blood sugar level rapidly. Hence, avoid excessive consumption of Karela juice, especially when you are consuming any blood glucose-lowering medication.
 
What are the other names for Karela?
Karela is known by different names in different parts of the world. Momordica charantiais its most commonly used and scientific name. Apart from these, it is also known as, Bitter gourd, Karavella, Varivalli, Karavalli, Paharkai, Kaakara, Kaaya, Kathilla, Kakiral, Kakral, Karolla, Hagalakai, Kaippa, Pavackkai, Karla, Kalara, Salara, 
 
Treating diseases/health problems using Karela
Below are some scientific and Ayurveda claims about the use of Karela in curing and treating health problems:
 
• Diabetes Mellitus (Type I and Type II)

Science

Ayurveda

As per modern science, Karela reduces the blood sugar level and enhances insulin production. Due to this, it manages diabetes well in heavy or obese individuals. Moreover, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hypoglycaemic properties in Karela act as a shield from cell damage. It also helps in forming new beta cells in the pancreas. 

Vata Dosha is responsible for diabetes in humans. The improper digestion system and increased level of toxins or Ama cause the improper secretion of insulin. Moreover, the pancreatic cells are also affected due to enhanced Vata Dosha. Deepan or appetizing and Pachan or digestive properties of Karela helps in reducing the toxin level. The insulin secretion normalizes, and the digestion system is also improved with the consumption of Karela. Apart from this, Karela also has a bitter taste, which maintains the blood sugar level, helping in the ailment of diabetes.

 

Tips:-

  • Mix 1-2 teaspoon of Karela juice with water.
  • Consume it daily for at least 1-2 months for curing the disease.
 
 Liver Damage

Science

Ayurveda

Karela's antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties manage liver health and act as a shield against any major liver disease.

Liver disease is caused by the fluctuations in pachak agni or digestive fire. Karela regulates the pachak agni and helps in the instant digestion of the food. Deepan or appetizing and Pachan or digestive properties of karela also clears the digestive tract and excrete out the liver toxins. Hence, it combats liver diseases in the best manner.

 
 Psoriasis

Science

Ayurveda

Karela can cure psoriasis and inflammation on the skin because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-psoriatic properties. As per the scientific studies, inflammation and dryness also reduce substantially by applying Karela paste on the skin.

 

Ayurveda suggests that Karela cures skin problems like itching irritation, infection, or inflammation due to its Ropan (healing), Kashaya(Astringent), and Pitta- Kapha balancing properties.

Tips

 

  •             Mix ½ or 1 teaspoon of Karela powder with rose water
  • Apply the paste on the affected area, face, or neck
  • Leave the pack for 5-7 minutes.
  • Dry the face and use a moisturizer
 
 Skin Infections

Science

Ayurveda

Karela is extremely beneficial for the skin. It purifies the blood and manages the blood boils, scabies, ringworm, itching, and even fungal infections. Antioxidant-rich Karela fights against skin problems and reduces skin damage.

Tips

Drink a cup of Karela juice mixed with lime juice daily to get glowing skin.

Karela is extremely useful for glowing skin as per Ayurveda. Consumption of Karela, either in the form of juice or any other form. The removal of toxins and blood purification properties with Tikta or Karela's bitter quality helps in achieving glowing skin.

 
 
 Indigestion

Science

Ayurveda

Stomach and intestinal issues are managed with the help of Karela. The presence of Momordicin in Karela enhances the appetite and improves the digestion process. H. pyroli bacterial growth is inhibited with Karela extract preventing the formation of an ulcer.

The consumption of Karela achieves the increased secretion of digestive juices. Tikta or bitter, Deepan, or appetizing and Pachan or Karela's digestive properties increase the digestive process.

 
 Kidney Stone

Science

Ayurveda

Karela can be proved beneficial for managing kidney stones.

Eliminating kidney stones naturally can be done by Karela. Tikta or bitter property of Karela chops the kidney stone in small pieces and removes it from the body.

 
Forms of Karela in Ayurveda with Recommended Dosage
 
Karela in the Ayurvedic treatment is used in juice, tablets, capsules, and powder form. Each of these forms of Karela can be used to create different types of herbal tonics or can be applied externally on the affected area to treat the disorder or disease. 
If you have not consulted with your doctor regarding the dosage amount for each Karela form, you can then follow these dosage recommendations:
 
For Internal Consumption
• Karela Churna or powder: ¼ - ½ teaspoon of Karela powder should be consumed either with milk or honey after lunch and dinner. 
• KarelaTablet: Swallow 1-2 tablets of Karela with water after the meal, twice daily. 
• Karela Capsules: - Ingest 1-2 capsules either once a day or twice a day as a cure to different diseases ad health problems. 
• Karelajuice: - Karela can be converted to the juice form. Drinking the juice with honey or water can cure skin rashes and irritation. 
In case you have consulted with a doctor, then it is advised to stick to their recommended prescriptions.
 
External Application
• Karela powder: - Mix ¼ - 1 teaspoon of Karela powder with rose water to make a paste. Apply the same on the affected area for 2-4 hours for quick healing of inflammation, burn, or acne.   
• Karela paste: - ½ - 1 teaspoon Karela paste with rose water, and honey can be used on the face, neck, and forehead 2-3 times a day. 
 
Side effects of Karela
While Karela is magically infused with healing properties, it is also found to have certain side effects if over consumed, especially in people suffering from low blood sugar levels. Both science and Ayurvedic experts recommend consulting a doctor before taking Karela. Moreover, Karela can cause miscarriage or newborn problems if consumed during pregnancy. 
 
Types of Ayurvedic Care with Karela
 
• Karela Powder
Karelais also available in powder form made by grinding the dried Karela, which helps treat skin problems and diabetes.
Tips:
As prescribed by your doctor, you can mix the Karela powder in milk, water, honey, or rosewater for consumption. You can use the Karela powder to make any other dish.
 
• Karela Ladoo
Karela taken as a sweet will not only be an interesting alternative to raw form but will also help as effectively as any other form. 
Tips:
-Take Karela powder or whole Karela and mix them in roasted atta. 
-You can add salt, black pepper, or any other additive for an enhanced taste.
-Knead the mixture well to form a soft dough-like consistency. 
-In a circular motion, give a 'ladoo' shape to the small dough balls.
-Store up to 10-12 days or consume them at once.
 
• Karela capsules
Karela capsules are used as alternative raw Karela. It is recommended to swallow 1-2 Karela capsules with warm water as a medicine for various health problems and diseases. 
 
• Karela tablets
Karela tablets are also available for consumption about treating the health conditions mentioned above. 
Tips:
Take one tablet of Karelamixed with warm water or honey after lunch and dinner, twice a day, or as prescribed by your doctor. 
 
• Karela juice
Karela can be consumed in the form of juice too. Take a few Karelaslices and grind it to mix with water and for juice. Karela juice can also be taken directly. Add 1-2 teaspoon of Karela juice in water and drink it every day empty stomach to aid weight loss. 
 
For external Application
Karela is applied externally, either in paste or powder, to cure many skin problems and enhance skin health.  
 
• Karela powder 
Karela powder is applied in the form of a paste with honey or rose water. Application of Karela face pack or skin pack helps in reducing the blemishes and makes skin healthier. 
Tips
- Mix ½ or 1 teaspoon of Karela powder with rose water
- Apply the paste on the affected area, face, or neck
- Leave the pack for 5-7 minutes.
- Dry the face and use a moisturizer
 
- Fresh Karela paste
Karela paste is used for external application on the affected area for curing any skin infections, acne, etc.  
Tips
Take raw Karela and crush them into a fine paste. 
Mix Karela leaves with honey, milk, rose water, etc.  
Apply the paste on the affected area for 10-15 minutes and repeat the process every week for the result. 
Moreover, Karela paste can directly be massaged on the joints for curing the fungal infections. 
 
Precautionary guide while using Karela?
Before consuming Karela, it is recommended to know the precautions taken for different ailments. Apart from consulting a doctor if using Karela juice, below are some specific precautions are taken: -  
 
• For Diabetic Patients
 
View of Ayurvedic experts
Karela is responsible for lowering the blood sugar level subsequently. Hence, it is highly advisable to update the blood sugar level if you are using Karela, that too, with an anti-diabetic drug.
 
View of Scientific experts
Karela lowers the blood sugar level, and hence consultation from the doctor is advisable before the consumption of Karela. 
 
• For Pregnant Women
 
View of Ayurvedic Experts
Pregnancy calls for extra care and precautions. Karela is high in Ushna or hot potency. Hence, it is advisable to consult the doctor before consuming Karela during pregnancy. 
 
View of Scientific Experts
According to scientific experts, Karela can damage the fetus. Hence, the consumption of Karela is not advisable for pregnant women. It is strongly advisable to consult the doctor before consuming Karela. 
 
• For Allergic patients or person with highly sensitive skin
 
View of Ayurvedic Experts
According to Ayurvedic experts, Karela is very hot in potency, which is also known as Ushna. A person with highly sensitive skin or skin prone to allergy should apply the Karela powder with milk or rose water. 
 
• Other precautions
- Avoid consumption of Karela if suffering from gastritis and hyperacidity. Consult your doctor in case of an emergency.
- Karela's red color seeds should not be given for consumption to children as that can create diarrhea and stomach problems in children.
 
FAQ's about Karela
 
1. What is the amount of Karela juice which is safe for consumption?
There is some lack of evidence to prove the amount or dosage required for Karela juice consumption. The consumption of Karela juice may lead to a decrease in blood glucose levels. Hence, avoid consumption of Karela juice in excess.
 
2. What is the recipe for Karela juice, which is beneficial for weight loss?
Below are the steps which need to be followed for making Karela juice-
- Take 2-4 Karela and peel off the external part. 
- Cut the Karela into small slices.
- Remove the seeds and white part of the Karela. 
- Chop it off in small pieces. 
- Wash it off with cold water for 15-20 minutes. 
- Grind it into the juicer. 
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt and lemon juice.
- Blend all the ingredients together. 
- Drink a glass of Karela juice daily empty stomach for managing weight issues. 
 
3. Can Karela be used to control the cholesterol level in the body?
Karela is beneficial for controlling the cholesterol level in the body. There is a presence of hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties in Karela, which helps in lipid peroxidation. The enhancement of HDL or high-density lipoprotein also manages the cholesterol level in the body. 
 
4. Is Karela beneficial for consumption during pregnancy? 
Karela should not be consumed during pregnancy and does not hold any benefits during that period. Moreover, it would be worse as it may lead to miscarriages or congenital disabilities if consumed during pregnancy.
 
5. Can Karela be proved helpful for glowing skin?
As per the scientific study
- Karela is extremely beneficial for the skin. It purifies the blood and manages the blood boils, scabies, ringworm, itching, and even fungal infections. Antioxidant-rich Karela fights against skin problems and reduces skin damage.
Tips
Drink a cup of Karela juice mixed with lime juice daily to get glowing skin. 
- As per an Ayurvedic study
- Karela is extremely useful for glowing skin as per Ayurveda. Consumption of Karela, either in the form of juice or any other form. The removal of toxins and blood purification properties with Tikta or Karela's bitter quality helps in achieving glowing skin.
 
6. Is Karela used to reduce hyperpigmentation?
As per the scientific study, Karela helps reduce hyperpigmentation. With antioxidant and anti melanogenic properties, the Karela acts as a shield against UV radiation. The inhibition of tyrosinase enzyme with the consumption of Karela also helps in reducing melanin production.
consult with ayurveda doctor.
Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.
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