Recently we picked a large bundle of Cerasee to dry; Cerasee (Momordica Charantia) is known to some persons as Bitter Melon.Cerasee is a bitter herb whose leaves and vines are used to make a tea to treat parasitic worms, liver problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, bellyaches and menstrual cramps. This herb also has detoxifying properties and is used as a blood and body cleanser or as a ‘wash out’ to purge the body. Cerasee is also used as a tonic. Children can be given this tea to relieve colds, fevers and constipation.
Cerasee is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotene, calcium, iron, phosphorous, and alkaloids … which makes it effective in treating many ailments, including cancer. Cerasee cleanses the body of harmful toxins thereby increasing energy, vitality and stamina.
Because Cerasee is natural, the vitamins and minerals contained are easily absorbed by the digestive system thereby allowing for greater absorption and efficacy. Cerasee is recommended for sufferers of ulcers (stomach and duodenum), bile and digestive disorders.
When using Cerasee to cure abdominal pains, a small bundle of the leaves with vines and some ginger, boiled to make a tea with a little sugar or honey added is very effective.
Not many persons have acquired the taste for this bitter remedy and have avoided it. However, Cerasee can also be steamed like a vegetable if it is too difficult for you to consume it as a tea.
As children, when our father insisted that we drink Cerasee tea on the weekends, we tried sweetening it with sugar and even with condensed milk; but it could not be sweetened. Alas, we held our noses and swallowed it down.
The only part of the Cerasee vine that we liked was the ripened fruit. It wasn’t really wonderful to the taste buds, but we would suck on the red seeds since we heard it was good for us. I understand that the Jamaicans who eat the reddish-orange fruit and its seeds are known for their iron-hard bones and incredible health.
I also read that regular exercise and regular intake of Cerasee will help build bone mass. Women who are at risk of contacting osteoporosis, in particular after menopause when estrogen levels drop, are advised to take Cerasee regularly.
Cerasee leaves crushed and rubbed (to get the juice extracted) in a bath with water is used to treat skin ailments such as rashes, atopic dermatitis (eczema), skin ulcers, sores and all skin problems including chicken pox. It is also good for itching and other skin diseases, including liver spots. If in case you do not want to have the bath, rub the vine in the palm of the hand to extract the juice and use it on the skin. The juice will give your skin a cleaner more refined look.
The tea is also used as Cerasee bath which is good for all joint ailments. It is good for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, and other similar ailments. As with all herbal baths, the Cerasee bath is known to settle the nerves and alleviate pains, as well as fatigue.
Because Cerasee grows wild where we live, we’ve always had enough of this herb to dry and send abroad to family and friends who request it.When drying Cerasee, keep the vine in the shade and not in direct sunlight as sun-drying can destroy the nutritional/medicinal properties of the herb.
At home, we use either the fresh green Cerasee leaves and vine, or the grounded dried Cerasee to make our teas. Cerasee tea is now sold in supermarkets in the form of teabags.
*** PLEASE NOTE ***
- You should consume this plant for nine days and then break for a week or more before further use. If you are pregnant or nursing always consult your doctor before using this plant.
- Excessive use of Cerasee may cause liver ailments, so USE WITH CARE. For safety, have your liver enzymes checked routinely while taking Cerase (Bitter Melon) and do not take it if you have liver disease, cirrhosis or a history of hepatitis or HIV/AIDS.
- It has been reported that Cerasee herb may hide the true sugar content in both blood and urine. So it would be wise to consult your doctor before using this plant.
- Taking Cerasee with other glucose-lowering medications or taking it when your blood sugar is already low can produce the opposite effect of decreasing your blood sugar too much.
- Cerasee can interact with diabetes medications, including insulin, chlorpropamine, phenformin and glyburide, causing severe hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood sugar levels. If not treated immediately, severe hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death. Take bitter melon only as directed by your health care provider.