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Pancreatic Cancer: How Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) and Thunder God Vine Can Help (Evidence Based)

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Bitter Melon Can Treat Pancreatic Cancer and Diabetes (According To A Research)

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers. It’s the fourth most common cancer in the US and has less than 5% 5-year survival rate when treated with conventional methods, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

In the East, this type of cancer has been managed in a completely different way – by using herbs. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has had success using a herb called lei gong teng or ‘thunder god vine’. Thunder god vine (Tirpterygium wilforii) is native to China, Japan and Korea. It’s been known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties. The active compound is called triptolide and has been used to eradicate tumors.

Researchers are now showing that this herb is in fact very efficient in treating pancreatic cancer, which gives the scientific backing to a natural medicine that dates back thousands of years.


Another plant that came to light in the case of pancreatic cancer is bitter melon (Momordica Charantia) also known as wild cucumber, bitter apple and bitter gourd. It grows in Asia, East Africa, South America and the Caribbean. It is consumed as food and also has many medicinal effects.

Science is now looking at bitter melon’s therapeutic effects, especially in relation to treating diabetes and some types of cancer. The findings are promising and suggest there might be yet another alternative for chronic conditions often considered incurable.

Thunder god vine And Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center isolated triptolide and studied its effect on cancer cells. Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of PhysiologyGastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.

The conclusions astonished the cancer research community and provided new hope for pancreatic cancer patients.

Triptolide suppresses GRP78, which is a protein that helps pancreatic cells survive and thrive. It is found in abundance in pancreatic cancer cells, which might explain why this type of cancer progresses so quickly.

For the body to use proteins, a process called protein folding must occur in the cells’ endoplasmic reticulum (ER). ER is a cell structure that works as a transport network. If proteins are not folded fast enough, cells get stressed and ER tries to compensate at first, but it cannot do that for a prolonged amount of time. The cells eventually start dying.

This is where the Chinese herb comes in. Scientists observed that human pancreatic cancer cells and tissues treated with triptolide exhibit a lot of ER stress, which leads to cell death. GRP78 gets inhibited and ER stress pathways are triggered, so the cancer stops spreading and starts dying.

According to the authors, their findings could lead the way to a novel approach to treating pancreatic cancer.


The study was first done on mice, and after positive results, the team moved on to humans. Scientists at John Hopkins School of Medicine also studied the benefits of Tirpterygium wilfordii. They discovered that the extract was effective in eliminating cancerous tumors or blocking their growth already when applied in small doses.

The question that remains is how these findings will be put to use. Some warn that they’ll be hijacked by the pharmaceutical industry and patented as an expensive drug. Anthony Gucciardi of Natural Society predicts that the companies will isolate the essential component, nutritionally ruin it, and then sell it for excessive amounts of cash.

To bypass the health money mongers and drug pushers, you simply need to get your hands on supplements made out of this plant (capsules or powder) which can be purchased on health shops or online. It’s the safest, cheapest and healthiest method. And it’s been done for thousands of years.

These finding give great hope to pancreatic cancer patients but these findings are only part of the big picture of cancer treatment and prevention. You also need to look at the other part of the picture which is cancer prevention: it has been proven scientifically that what we eat may cause us cancer.

The best American cancer researchers have determined which foods we need to be careful of, and which foods are effective in reducing your risk of getting the disease.  I’ve written an article about the top 14 foods that protect against cancer development and another article about the top 5 cancer causing foods to avoid. You should read these articles right now to reduce the risk of developing this disease.

You must also familiarize yourself with the 15 common cancer symptoms you shouldn’t ignore as early detection may save your life – when you neglect medical symptoms, especially those that foreshadow cancer, the repercussions can be serious.


Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) And Pancreatic Cancer

Bitter melon (Momordica Charantia) helps regulate insulin levels, and this is what might make it efficient in treating conditions related to pancreas where this hormone is produced.

In vitro and animal studies also showed antiviral and lipid (fat) lowering effect. Traditionally, this fruit, which is believed to be the most bitter among all fruits and vegetables, was used to treat colic, fever, pain, skin conditions and burns.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the fastest progressing cancers and doesn’t respond to conventional treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

A study performed at the Colorado University examined the effects of bitter melon on pancreatic cancer. The study was done in vitro on four different lines of pancreatic cancer cells, and on mice injected with pancreatic tumor cells.

The researchers observed that bitter melon juice stopped cancer cell proliferation and caused them to die. Tumor growth was reduced by 60% compared to the control group that received water. There were no signs of toxicity or side effects on the body.

Further studies are required to establish the effect of the plant on human patients.

Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) And Diabetes

Numerous clinical studies assessed bitter melon in relation to diabetes. Not all of these studies reached the same conclusion.


A study published in 2011 in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, showed that bitter melon significantly reduced blood glucose levels among patients with type 2 diabetes and had a modest hypoglycemic effect. However, an earlier study, published in Journal of Clinical Epidemiology in 2007, showed no benefits of bitter melon for type 2 diabetes.

The website Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center — reports that ‘bitter melon can lower blood glucose levels, but it is not known how it interacts with insulin or other medications’. Also, the correct dosage hasn’t been established yet, therefore bitter melon cannot be considered as a replacement therapy for insulin or hypoglycemic drugs.

There are 12 other foods that can help you to control type 2 diabetes and there are 7 effective steps to prevent type 2 diabetes.

How to Consume Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia)

Bitter melon can be eaten as a fruit, made into a drink, or the seeds can be added to food. Bitter melon extract is also available as a herbal supplement.

If eaten in excessive amounts, the plant can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea, so don’t consume more than two ounces (or two melons) per day

Bitter melon shouldn’t be eaten by pregnant women as it can cause a miscarriage and the seed coverings are supposed to be toxic in children.

If you are considering using bitter melon for a health condition, you should consult your doctor first, and check it doesn’t interact with any medications you are currently taking.

Here is a video about bitter melon for diabetes:

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