Excuse me breaking into Turkish, but "her derde deva" sounds so much better than "universal cure". The village markets are full of jars and bottles which claim to be a panacea for every ill known to mankind and I used to be pretty sceptical, but the more research I do, the more faith I put in these local remedies. My poor daughter has been diagnosed with a thyroid problem which, indirectly, has caused her insulin levels to rise so she has been prescribed Metformin. This drug has horrible side effects and her suffering prompted me to comb the internet for alternatives and I found one that is on sale at almost every market in Bodrum. Bitter gourd or Küdret Narı has been proven to be almost as effective as Metformin at reversing insulin resistance and lowering blood sugars. Interestingly, when I bought some of the fruit this week, I was told it was good for heartburn, acid reflux, stomach ulcers and skin complaints. It is either sold macerated in olive oil or honey, so I was lucky to find the whole fruit. In the East, it is treated as a vegetable and picked green, when it is less bitter, and cooked in stews and stir fries, juiced or eaten raw.
Care should be taken in preparation as the red pulp covering the seeds is poisonous, but the rest of the fruit is edible and the leaves can be used for tea. It grows prodigiously and the vine can reach 5 meters in height. I've saved some seeds and will plant them next May and see if I can get my own vine growing. If you are diabetic or on insulin lowering medication only try this vegetable in consultation with your doctor, as you might find your sugar levels dipping too low.