Jamaican Cerasee Leaf Tea Benefits

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Since I grew up in the Caribbean, I would often wake up to the smell of my mom brewing Cerasee tea for us every now and then.

As a child, I would loathe having to drink this tea because of its bitter taste; but what could I have done, my mom and grandma were adamant that we had to drink it, as they shared a verbal list of the many health benefits that we derive each time we consume Cerasee tea.

Drinking Cerasee tea is not only linked to the Caribbean; Cerasee tea has been popularized in many other sections of the work, including the United States.

This plant is hailed as a natural remedy for several illnesses and medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

But one still has to wonder, does Cerasee tea really have health benefits?

So, in this article, we will explore the Cerasee plant and its tea to answer that and other questions.

 

What is Cerasee?

Cerasee, which is scientifically categorized as part of the Momordica Charantia family and sometimes called the bitter melon plant, is a form of bush.

Bitter melon is also a part of the Cucurbitaceae family.

This bush has been deemed as very medically beneficial, and as such, it is commonly used in the form of a tea.

Cerasee has a number of benefits and is packed with potent nutrients that can aid with your overall health and wellness.

The Cerasee bush grows on a vine and is green but can be stored and once dried, it will begin to look brown.

The Cerasee plant also bears an oblong, which is green when it’s young. The oblong turns yellow or orange when it ripens and the small red seeds inside of it can be eaten.

These Cerasee seeds also possess medicinal properties.

Making Cerasee Tea

To make Cerasee tea, you need to wash the bush and place it into a pot of boiling water.

You can use fresh leaves or dried ones. You can also use tea bags and these can be found at many Caribbean grocery stores, Walmart, or online platforms, like Amazon.

To use the Cerasee tea bags, place the tea bag into a cup of hot water and steep for about two minutes. You can always add sugar or honey to taste.

If this is your first time having bitter melon tea, prepare yourself for a bitter taste even if you have added some sweetener. In fact, Cerasee may be in the top five most bitter herbs in the world.

The ideal environment for growing Cerasee

Bitter melon thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. This very popular herb is primarily found in areas of the world that are humid or hot.

Jamaica, Haiti, and other Caribbean islands, Asia, Africa grow cerasee in abundance.

If you plan to grow bitter melons while living in a cold area, it’s better to try doing so indoors because it certainly will not last in the cold weather.

The warmer states in the US like Florida are also ideal for growing bitter melon.

Does Cerasee Have Health Benefits?

Cerasee tea

The good thing about the bitter melon plant is that it can be used in its entirety and all of its parts (fruit, seeds, leaves, roots, and vines) have medicinal compounds.

It is filled with numerous nutrients and compounds that help to combat illnesses and maintain health and wellness.

Don’t be fooled by its off-putting taste, this bush tea is very powerful and contains saponins, which are plant compounds.

As outlined by a study published in 2019 by The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, these saponins carry a range of benefits, including having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.

Here are some of the nutrients and compounds that you can get when you consume cerasee tea:
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B (1,2,3 and 9)
  • vitamin C
  • folate
  • potassium
  • fiber
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • zinc
  • iron
  • phosphorous
  • alkaloids
  • antioxidants (catechin and gallic acid primarily, phenols, flavonoids, and more).

The Actual Health Benefits of The Bitter Melon

1) Antioxidant catechin

The National Library of Medicine published a 2008 study in which the researchers found massive antioxidant potential in the leaves of the bitter melon plant.

Its antioxidant properties may help protect against cellular damage.

2) Antimicrobial and antiviral properties

Cerasee was also seen by researchers who published their study in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy, to prevent the growth of viruses and bacteria.

This confirms suggestions that the plant has powerful antimicrobial and antiviral properties in its leaves.

3) Cancer

Though there is not much evidence to support these claims, the cerasee bush has been labeled as a cancer-fighting herb. It is believed that extracts from bitter melon leaves could provide anti-cancer properties.

Bitter melon may combat:

  • prostate cancer
  • lung cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • skin cancer.

This theory has not been tested on humans and so we cannot definitively say it is true; however, there have been tests on rodents and test-tube studies have been conducted.

4) Diabetes

Cerasee may cause an obvious decrease in both fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels.

Several parts of the bitter melon plant, including its steam, leaves, and seeds have been shown to be efficient at lowering blood sugar levels.

To experience this benefit, you can consume the plant in tea format or create juice from the leaves and fruit.

Even without knowing about the scientific studies that have confirmed this health benefit, many people throughout the Caribbean use cerasee tea to control diabetes.

This has been a practice for centuries, particularly with the Jamaican cerasee.

The magnesium and gallic acid primarily aid with this reduction and control of hyperglycemia through a hypoglycaemic effect.

5) High blood pressure

High blood pressure is such a common condition but thankfully, cerasee has the potential to aid with its regulation.

The gallic acid, which acts as an antioxidant, and the potassium, which regulates heart muscle function are instrumental components of bitter melon and help to manage blood pressure.

6) Skin health

Research has shown that cerasee can treat and aid with improving the condition of several skin problems, including skin rash, eczema, acne, skin ulcer, wounds, and sores.

To get the benefit, it is best to brew the cerasee for a cerasee tea bush bath or wash.

To create this bath, simply boil the bitter melon’s vine, stems, and leaves as you would normally do for a cup of tea.

However, use a much bigger container. Allow the tea to cool then you can use it to soak and bathe the skin several times per week.

Here are some other ailments that cerasee may be able to manage and remedy:

  • aids arthritis and rheumatism management
  • can lower cholesterol
  • could reduce inflammation
  • may detoxify the blood and the body and purifies the blood
  • can relieve constipation
  • may treat abdominal pain
  • may relieve menstrual pain
  • can combat parasitic worms, dysentery, indigestion, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems
  • may prevent anemia due to the iron present in the bitter melon plant
  • may prevent depression
  • can encourage weight loss
  • can help to repair organs after childbirth.

Cerasee Tea Side Effects

Although there are so many health benefits to derive from consuming cerasee, you have to be careful with this very potent plant.

It is a good source of many essential nutrients but can have ill effects, particularly when too much is consumed.

For women, it can cause vaginal bleeding, contractions during pregnancy, and abortion.

Liver damage, headache, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, extreme hypoglycemia, favism, and coma induction are also possible side effects of consuming too much bitter melon.

Final Thoughts

Bitter melon tea is quite potent with numerous compounds and nutrients and commonly used.

In the Caribbean, it is used as a remedy for several ailments and research has backed many of the medicinal benefits ascribed to this plant.

The entire plant is edible and can even be used in a bath formulation on the skin.

Bitter melon teas can also act as a blood purifier and reduce high blood pressure, control diabetes, remedy stomach problems, and relieve arthritic symptoms.

Making the tea is quite simple but brace yourself for a strong, bitter taste.

Unfortunately, better melon tea cannot and should not be consumed too frequently, as it may cause serious side effects, including bleeding and abortion for women.

It can even reduce your blood sugar to dangerously low levels.

Cerasee tea is no doubt a powerful concoction that can aid with your daily medical issues; however, exercise much caution with its use.