Several constituents found In bitter melon (e.g. alpha- and beta-momorcharln, lectin and MAP 30) have demonstrated In vitro antiviral activity against Epstein-Barr, HSV-1, HIV, coxsackievirus B3 and polio viruses (Beloin et al 2005, Bourinbaiar & Lee-Huang 1998, Foa-Tomasi et al 1982, Grover &Yadav 2004, Sun et al 2001).

A study using a lyophilised extract of Momordica charantia against HSV-1 suggests that the presence of light may be important for antiviral activity (Beloin et al 2005). The active antiviral constituents are not the main bitter principles momordicins I and II, as these have not shown activity against HSV-1 (Beloin et al 2005). One constituent referred to as MAP30 has received special attention as it exhibits potent inhibition of HIV-1 and HSV (Schreiber et al 1999).

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