Herbal Cures For Diabetes

Scientists confirm efficacy of cashew, pumpkin, mango for diabetes

Plant-based drugs have been in use against various diseases since time immemorial. The nature has provided abundant plant wealth which possess medicinal virtues.

Despite considerable progresses in the management of Diabetes mellitus by conventional synthetic drugs, the search for natural antidiabetic plant products for controlling diabetes was on going.

As a result, evidences now abound on many plants that can be tapped into in the control of diabetes. For example, red hogweed, a perennial creeping herb is one. Apart from scientists confirming that red hogweed compared favourably with gliberclamide, a conventional drug for diabetes, the group of researchers including M. Amaranth Satheesh of the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty Science, Annamalai, University found it even more effective.

Cashew stem bark is another candidate Dr. Ojewole, a Nigerian researcher who is based in the Department of pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Durban – Westville, Durban, South Africa found useful.

Trying the cashew stem bark extract on normal and in streptozotocin – treated diabetic rats, he was able to come out to say that single doses of 800mg/kg of the stem bark can reduce the blood glucose concentrations in both the fasted normal and fasted diabetic rats.

In the journal, Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Ojewole said it is possible that the blood glucose lowering effect of the cashew bark extract may be due to its terpenoid and/or coumarin contents.

Though less potent than insulin as an antidiabetic agent, the results of the experimental animal study he said however lends credence to the folkloric use of the plant in the management and/or control of type 2 diabetes mellitus among Yoruba speaking people of Western Nigeria.

Similarly, the effect of the leaves of fluted pumpkin on blood glucose was studied in mice by Drs. Aderibigbe A.O., Lawal B.A. and Oluwagbemi J.O., all of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin,Ilorin. They found that it was not only able to reduce the blood glucose level, so corroborating its uses among the local people, but also that in comparison diabetes drugs such as chloroproamide, it had comparable effects. This ,they documented in the journal, African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences.

To many, the leaves of mango tree comes to play in the treatment of malaria fever.However,in the very rural communities, leaves of mango also find a use as an antidiabetic agent in Nigerian folk medicine.

This group of researchers at the University of Ilorin, also tried it out to on rats see if indeed their could be any scientific basis for its patronage in the treaatment of diabetes. Its water extract,the researchers found had ability to control blood sugar similar to conventional drugs for diabetes. Its effectiveness they said may be attributed to its ability to reduce the stomach’s absorption capacity for glucose, the simplest sugar food breaks down into.

The effects of garlic or onion juices for blood sugar control and consequently the amelioration of the impact of diabetes on body organs like the liver and kidney was also demonstrated by researchers in Food Chemical Toxicology journal.

EL-Demerdash FM, Yousef MI and EL-Naga NIT found both juices being helpful in controlling not only blood sugar but also urea and bilirubin levels. African potato was also proffered as a solution to diabetes. In a laboratory assessment by Mahomed I.M and Ojewole J.A using diabetic rats, African Potato at a dose of 800mg/kg of the extract caused 30.2 per cent and 48.54 per cent reduction in the blood glucose concentrations of both fasted normal and streptozotocin treated, diabetic rats.

The wonder plant Aloe vera is no exception either. The dried sap of the aloe plant is one of the several traditional remedies used for diabetes in the Arabian peninsula. Its ability to lower the blood glucose was even assessed in a study involving five patients with non insulin dependent diabetes and Swiss albino mice made diabetic using afloxan.

The five patients had half a teaspoon of aloe daily for four to 14 weeksat the end of which their fasting glucose level was found to have lowed. In diabetic mice, glucose level was significantly reduced by aloes after three days , a journal on hormone research said.

The claim by herbal medicine practitioners that the silk cotton tree bark extract has antidiabetic properties was also investigated by Drs Ladeji O, Omokarah I,and Solomon M, all from the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Jos. Diabetes was induced with streptozotocin and graded dose, of the bark water extract were then administered to the experimentally diabetic rats for 28 days.

Reporting in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the silk cotton tree extract caused a significant reduction in blood glucose level in the diabetic rats, so supporting the use of the plant extract in the local community for diabetes treatment.

By Sade Oguntola

Monday 20th Nov. 2006

5 thoughts on “Herbal Cures For Diabetes”

  1. Hi I think that Miracle Berry (Synsepalum dulcificum) is an good fruit for diabetics. The fruit changes sour and bitter foods to sweet, so take away the urge for sugar.

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