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Heterosis in Bittergourd

Bittergourd, Momordica charantia, is an important curcurbits fruit vegetable grown in tropics. The crop is of Asiatic origin and the probable place of origin is either China or India. It is cultivated in Malaysia, China, The Philippines, tropical Africa, and North and South America. Immature fruit is a good source of vitamin C, and also contains vitamin A, phosphorus, and iron. The tender vine tips are an excellent source of vitamin A, and a fair source of protein, thia-

min, and vitamin C. The leaves and fruits are excellent sources of vitamin B, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It has twice the amount of beta-carotene than in broccoli and twice the calcium content of spinach. Leaf juice is used for curing cough, as a purgative and antihclminthic to expel intestinal parasites and for healing wounds. Studies have suggested that bittergourd contains a hypo­ glycemic polypeptide, plant insulin responsible for blood sugar lowering ef­ fect.