Bitter melon ( Momordica charantia
) grows in tropical areas including
parts of the Amazon, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. It has an array of biologically active plant
chemicals including triterpenes, proteins and steroids.
The aim is to evaluate the effect of methanolic seed extract of M. charantia
(MC) on ova
count, implantation and the fetus of Sprague–Dawley rats.
Thirty adult cyclic female Sprague–Dawley (S–D) rats divided into three groups
(A, B and C) of 10 rats/group were used for the study. The female rats in Groups B and C were made
pregnant by cohabiting with male S–D rats. In all the groups, MC extract was administered in the
morning (9.00 a.m.) at a dose of 25 mg/100 g b.w./oral. In Group A, rats (in proestrous phase) were
treated with a single dose and sacrificed the following day (estrous phase). Rats in Group B were fed
once daily from day 1 to 10 of gestation and sacrificed on the 12th day. Rats in Group C were fed
once daily from day 6 to 19 of gestation and sacrificed on the 20th day of gestation. The following were assessed: ova count, anti–implantation, early abortifacient properties and possible
The extract completely suppressed the release of ova and exhibited highly significant
anti-implantation activity. Significant (p< 0.05) changes were seen in the mean body weight, mean
crown rump length and mean tail length of the fetuses.
In conclusion, MC (25 mg/100 g b.w.) exhibited anti-ovulatory and anti–implantation
(early abortifacient) properties. These are certainly desirable anti–fertility actions. It also resulted
in prenatal growth deficiencies.