Miss Efficient

Miss Efficient / Momordica charantia / Bitter melon

Bitter melon is known as Miss Efficient in Nigeria for its certainty as an abortifacient. In Cameroon the seeds are used as a pessary. In Nigeria a decoction of the leaves and salt is taken as a ‘morning-after’ remedy after ‘meeting a man’. In India it is taken monthly as a male or female contraceptive. There is reason to believe that it was introduced into Brazil by enslaved women coming from West Africa

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notebook Morris
notebook Morris
Miss Efficient / 2019 / photo Wendy Morris & TimTheo Deceuninck

International Common Names

  • English: balsam apple; balsam pear; bitter balsam apple; bitter cucumber; bitter melon; carilla gourd; paria; wild balsam-apple
  • Spanish: achochilla; archicha; balsamina; carilla; cundeamor; estropajo; pepinillo
  • French: margose; margose a piquant; momordique a feuilles de vigne; pomme de merveille
  • Portuguese: melao de Sao Caetano

Local Common Names

  • Angola: mimbuzu
  • Bangladesh: korolla
  • Barbados: carilla; cerassea; cerassee; miraculous bush
  • Bolivia: balsamina
  • Brazil: erva de lavaderia; fruto de cobra; malao de Sao Ceatano; melao de Sao Tana; melao de Sao Vincent; melaozinho
  • Cambodia: moreas
  • Caribbean: squirting cucumber
  • China: ku gua
  • Colombia: archucha; balsamina
  • Ecuador: achochilla
  • El Salvador: balsamito; balsamo
  • Fiji: bitter gourd; kerla
  • Germany: Balsambirne; Bitter balsamkuerbis; Bittere springgurke; Rebensblattriger balsamapfel
  • Ghana: kakle; nya nya; nyinya
  • Guam: alamgosa; wild bitter melon
  • Guatemala: paroka
  • Guyana: coryla vine
  • Honduras: calaica
  • India: kakara; karakara-chettu; karela; kuraila; pagel; pava kai; sushavi
  • Indonesia: pare; paria; pepare; peria
  • Iraq: a’jayib al-maasi; gul khandan; kuraila
  • Italy: pomo balsamo
  • Jamaica: cerasea
  • Liberia: ga ge su lu
  • Madagascar: morogozy
  • Malaysia: kyet-hin-ga; peria laut
  • Mali: lumba-lumba; manamat
  • Mexico: cunde amor; cunde amor grande; pepino
  • Micronesia, Federated states of: selwahkatik suwed (Pohnpei)
  • Netherlands: springkomkommer; wijngaardbladlig springkruid
  • Nigeria: akban ndene; daddagu; ejirin; garafuni; lele duji
  • Panama: balsamino
  • Paraguay: andai mi; andai nu; ani mi; calabacaita
  • Peru: balsamina; papayilla
  • Philippines: amargosa; ampalaya; ampalia; palia; paria
  • Senegal: barbouf; beurhoh; liane mereveille; yombebute; zara
  • Sri Lanka: pahal-kai
  • Sudan: abu eloffein
  • Suriname: wild soproro
  • Thailand: ma hai; ma roi ruu; mara pah; phak hai; phak hoei
  • Trinidad and Tobago: carailee; carilla; cerasee bush
  • USA/Hawaii: peria
  • Venezuela: maravilla
  • Vietnam: cay muop mu; muop dang hona; muop dong