AMPALAYA, also known as Bitter Melon, is a crawling vine that grows well in tropical countries, particularly in the Philippines. The term Ampalaya refers to both the plant and its fruit, which is elongated, green and has a rough and rumpled skin. Known for its bitter taste, the Ampalaya is at once a staple ingredient in Filipino and Asian cuisine and a reliable home remedy for various illnesses, particularly diabetes.
Ampalaya has long been a popular part of many Asian vegetable dishes. Though notorious for its bitter taste, Ampalaya is rich in iron, potassium, beta-carotene and other nutrients. But aside from its role as a healthy food, Ampalaya is especially valued by diabetics for its known anti-diabetes properties. The traditional remedy is made by pounding the raw fruits of Ampalaya into a bitter liquid, or by boiling the leaves and fruits for a few minutes, the resulting water then drank as a herbal tea.