September 18 2021
Diabetes mellitus is an endocrine disorder that is a metabolic disease that refers to the inability of the body to produce adequate energy from the food that is ingested. Many of the drugs used in the treatment of diabetes are derivatives from medicinal plants. Diabetic medications such as metformin which is a scientifically established treatment are developed from the plant Galega officinalis.
All synthetically developed drugs are known to have certain side effects on prolonged use. Some of the adverse effects of the use of these oral antidiabetic agents include bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and abdominal distension. Other medications may sometimes cause dangerous toxic effects, for example, intake of thiazolidinedione in some individuals leads to liver toxicity, and sulfonylureas may cause hypoglycemia, worsening of heart disease, and weight gain. Thus many diabetics are now switching over to the use of natural remedies for their beneficial effects. Ancient literature shows the use of medicinal plant derivatives as potent anti-diabetic medications. Some of them are:
Also called allium cepa, onion is a vegetable that is cultivated extensively in the regions of India, China, America, Iran, Russia, Turkey, and Egypt. Studies show that onion is a potent anti-diabetic agent as it helps in decreasing the levels of fasting blood glucose levels in the body and also improves blood glucose tolerance. The other applications of the use of onion in the form of medicinal compounds include lowering the incidence of atherosclerosis, regulates the blood cholesterol levels, and prevents the occurrence of blood clots.
Known as Cuminum cyminum, cumin is predominantly found in abundance in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Mexico, and Chile. Research shows the anti-diabetic properties of the ingestion of cumin as it helps in reducing the levels of serum insulin, brings the fasting blood glucose levels within the normal range, regulates glycosylated hemoglobin readings, and also sets right the inflammatory indices. Other medicinal properties of cumin include its efficacy in reducing serum creatinine and urea nitrogen levels. These activities of cumin are attributed to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties.
Trigonella foenum - graecum or fenugreek is generally found in the regions of India, Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey. The antidiabetic activity of fenugreek lies in the fact that it plays a major role in the lowering of glucose and other types of carbohydrate absorption. Fenugreek also helps in enabling increased insulin secretion and promotes peripheral glucose uptake. Research shows the ability of fenugreek in other health disorders such as nourishment of the digestive tract and liver, enhances the functioning of the respiratory system, and helps in regulating the blood cholesterol levels.
Mainly grown in some parts of America, Mexico, India, Australia, and Africa, the aloe Vera leaf consists of 98% of water, and the rest 2% is constituted by medicinal healing components. The antidiabetic activity of aloe Vera is demonstrated by the fact that it improves the response of the body’s tissues towards insulin thus rendering insulin more effective causing the lowering of the blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. Other applications of aloe Vera in various health conditions include constipation, skin disorders, fungal infections, chronic or acute cases of colic, regulates blood pressure, and lowers blood cholesterol levels in the body.
Cinnamomum Verum or cinnamon is majorly cultivated in the regions of Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Vietnam, and China. By improving the insulin signaling pathway, cinnamon exhibits its anti-diabetic activity. The intake of cinnamon has been found to stimulate the receival of the insulin receptors which in turn improves insulin sensitivity and thus enables glucose to enter the cells of the body. Cinnamon has also been found to be effective in the management of cholesterol levels in the body. Other medicinal properties of cinnamon include its use as a digestive aid in relieving the symptoms of upset stomach, gas, bloating, and indigestion. Cinnamon also acts as a warming circulatory tonic.
Also known as Ocimum sanctum or holy basil, is indigenously grown in India. In the traditional system of Ayurvedic medicine, tulsi is called the elixir of life as it is used extensively in the treatment of various ailments. The antidiabetic activity of tulsi is the stimulation of the pancreatic beta cells to secrete insulin. Tulsi is known to possess hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties. Tulsi is immensely important in the treatment of various other health problems like asthma, cold, flu, sinusitis, high blood pressure, elevated levels of cholesterol, body aches, indigestion, ulcers, and in getting relief from intestinal parasitic infections.
The ginseng root is extracted and used extensively in medicinal compounds and it is sourced from various regions of the United States, China, and Korea. The antidiabetic activity of ginseng lies in its ability to boost insulin production and decreases cell death in the beta cells of the pancreas. Supplements of Alvizia Ginseng capsules have been found to regulate blood glucose levels along with a significant decrease in serum insulin levels. The other known medicinal uses of ginseng include improving vigour, enhancing the functioning of the nervous system, promotes the secretion of various hormones, regulates cholesterol levels, and boosts the immunity of the body.
Also called Silybum marianum, milk thistle is cultivated in the lands of Europe, India, America, Australia, and China. The antidiabetic activity of Alvizia milk thistle supplement capsules in patients with diabetes is proven by a significant reduction in the levels of fasting blood glucose levels and also a remarkable decrease in the insulin requirement was observed.
Psidium guajava or guava is grown in the regions of India, China, Thailand, and Mexico has been found to block the enzymes that are essential for the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose which occurs in the digestive tract thereby regulating the postprandial blood glucose levels. Guava has been found to possess profound antioxidant, anti-allergic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and cardioprotective properties.
Also known as Jamun in India, it has traditionally been used by diabetics in their diet to alleviate the symptoms of diabetes as it naturally boosts the levels of insulin in the body. Some of the other uses of the intake of Jamun are in the disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, promoting liver function and causes relief in chronic cases of constipation.