Recent Advances in Momordica charantia: Functional Components and Biological Activities
State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330047, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(12), 2555; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18122555
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 3-ISPMF, 3rd International Symposium on Phytochemicals in Medicine and Food (Kunming, 2018))
Momordica charantia L. (M. charantia), a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, is widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of diabetes mellitus, and its fruit has been used as a vegetable for thousands of years. Phytochemicals including proteins, polysaccharides, flavonoids, triterpenes, saponins, ascorbic acid and steroids have been found in this plant. Various biological activities of M. charantia have been reported, such as antihyperglycemic, antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, immunomodulation, antioxidant, antidiabetic, anthelmintic, antimutagenic, antiulcer, antilipolytic, antifertility, hepatoprotective, anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities. However, both in vitro and in vivo studies have also demonstrated that M. charantia may also exert toxic or adverse effects under different conditions. This review addresses the chemical constituents of M. charantia and discusses their pharmacological activities as well as their adverse effects, aimed at providing a comprehensive overview of the phytochemistry and biological activities of M. charantia.