Research: Use of Herbal Plants and Drugs In the Treatment of Diabetes

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The global prevalence of diabetes is increasing and the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that the major burden will occur in developing countries. Studies conducted in India in the last decade shows that the prevalence of diabetes is high and it is increasing rapidly in the urban population.  It is estimated that there are approximately 33 million adults with diabetes in India. This number is likely to increase to 57.2 million by the year 2025.


What is Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes or Diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic disorder resulting from either insulin insufficiency or insulin dysfunction. The damage induced by free radicals has also a key role in its development and diabetic complications. It is characterized by increased fasting and post prandial blood sugar levels.

There are two types of diabetes mellitus known as type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.


Difference Between Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes:

Type1 diabetes is insulin dependent and is caused due to insulin insufficiency because of lack of functional beta cells. People suffering from   type 1 diabetes are therefore totally dependent on external source of insulin. Insulin injections are given in the case of total lack of insulin.

Type 2 diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of diabetes and constitutes 90 percent of the diabetic population. It is insulin independent and people suffering from type 2 diabetes are unable to respond to insulin. This condition can be treated with dietary changes, exercise and medication. Moreover many different  drugs are developed for treating this condition.


Symptoms of Diabetes

Some of the common symptoms for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes may include:

  • high levels of sugar in the blood
  • unusual or increased thirst
  • frequent urination
  • extreme hunger
  •  loss of weight
  • blurred vision
  • Slow healing sores
  • extreme weakness and tiredness
  • irritability, mood changes etc.


Diabetes Complications Type 1 and Type 2

If remains untreated, the chances of developing complications are greater. Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually and the longer you have diabetes and your blood sugar level is less controlled, the higher is the risk of developing complications.

Possible  diabetes complications include

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy)
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Eye damage (retinopathy)
  • Skin conditions
  • Foot damage
  • Depression
  • Hearing impairment
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Now diabetes is getting more manageable and the good news is that all or most of the complications can be avoided by keeping your blood glucose in a safe range. With the help of newly developed treatments and devices combined with required lifestyle modifications maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is easier than ever.

There are many medicinal plants and herbal antidiabetic medicines which are proved to have beneficial effect on controlling and treating diabetes. Herbal formulations are preferred due to lesser side effects and low cost.



Use of Indian Herbs or Herbal Medicines for Treating Diabetes

India is the largest producer of medicinal herbs and is called as botanical garden of the world. A number of medicinal plants, traditionally used for over 1000 years are present in herbal preparations of Indian traditional health care systems and most practitioners formulate and dispense their own recipes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed 21,000 plants, which are used for medicinal purposes around the world. Among these 2500 species are in India. Out of these, 150 species are used commercially on a fairly large scale.


List of Indian Medicinal Plants with Antidiabetic Effects

Plant Name Ayurvedic/common name/herbal formulation Antidiabetic and other beneficial effects in traditional medicine
Annona squamosa Sugar apple Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activities of ethanolic leaf-extract, Increased plasma insulin level
Artemisia pallens Davana Hypoglycemic, increases peripheral glucose utilization or inhibits glucose reabsorption
Areca catechu Supari Hypoglycemic
Beta vulgaris Chukkander Increases glucose tolerance in OGTT
Boerhavia diffusa punarnava Increase in hexokinase activity,decrease in glucose-6-phosphatase and fructose bis-phosphatase activity, increase plasma insulin level, antioxidant
Bombax ceiba Semul Hypoglycemic
Butea monosperma palasa Antihyperglycemic
Camellia sinensis Tea Anti-hyperglycemic activity, antioxidant
Capparis decidua Karir or Pinju Hypoglycemic, antioxidant, hypolipidaemic
Caesalpinia bonducella Sagarghota, Fevernut Hypoglycemic, insulin secretagogue, hypolipidemic
Coccinia indica Bimb or Kanturi Hypoglycemic
Emblica officinalis Amla, Dhatriphala, a constituent of herbal formulation, “Triphala” Decreases lipid peroxidation, antioxidant, hypoglycemic
Eugenia uniflora Pitanga Hypoglycemic, inhibits lipase activity
Enicostema littorale krimihrita Increase hexokinase activity, Decrease glucose 6-phosphatase and fructose 1,6 bisphosphatase activity. Dose dependent hypoglycemic activity
Ficus bengalenesis Bur Hypoglycemic, antioxidant
Gymnema sylvestre Gudmar or Merasingi Anti-hyperglycemic effect, hypolipidemic
Hemidesmus indicus Anantamul Anti snake venom activity, anti-inflammatory
Hibiscus rosa-sinesis Gudhal or Jasson Initiates insulin release from pancreatic beta cells
Ipomoea batatas Sakkargand Reduces insulin resistance
Momordica cymbalaria Kadavanchi Hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic
Murraya koenigii Curry patta Hypoglycemic, increases glycogenesis and decreases gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis
Musa sapientum Banana Antihyperglycemic, antioxidant .
Phaseolus vulgaris Hulga, white kidney bean Hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, inhibit alpha amylase activity, antioxidant. Altered level of insulin receptor and GLUT-4 mRNA in skeletal muscle
Punica granatum Anar Antioxidant, anti-hyperglycemic effect
Salacia reticulata Vairi inhibitotory activity against sucrase, α-glucosidase inhibitor
Scoparia dulcis Sweet broomweed Insulin-secretagogue activity, antihyperlipidemic, hypoglycemic, antioxidant
Swertia chirayita Chirata Stimulates insulin release from islets
Syzygium alternifolium Shahajire Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic
Terminalia belerica Behada, a constituent of “Triphala” Antibacterial, hypoglycemic
Terminalia chebula Hirda Antibacterial, hypoglycemic
Tinospora crispa Anti-hyperglycemic, stimulates insulin release from islets
Vinca rosea Sadabahar Anti-hyperglycemic
Withania somnifera Ashvagandha, winter cherry Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic

A Short List of  Herbal Medicines (Herbal Drugs) with Antidiabetic Effects

1)   Diabecon

Company:   Himalaya


Gymnema sylvestre, Pterocarpus marsupium, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Casearia esculenta, Syzygium cumini, Asparagus racemosus, Boerhavia diffusa, Sphaeranthus indicus, Tinospora cordifolia, Swertia chirata, Tribulus terrestris, Phyllanthus amarus, Gmelina arborea, Gossypium herbaceum, Berberis aristata, Aloe vera, Triphala, Commiphora wightii, shilajeet, Momordica charantia, Piper nigrum, Ocimum sanctum, Abutilon indicum, Curcuma longa, Rumex maritimus

2)   Pancreatic Tonic 180 cp

Company:     Ayurvedic herbal supplement


Pterocarpus marsupium, Gymnema sylvestre, Momordica charantia, Syzygium cumini, Trigonella foenum graceum, Azadirachta indica, Ficus racemosa, Aegle marmelos, Cinnamomum tamala

3)   Ayurveda Alternative Herbal Formula to Diabetes

Company:   Chakrapani Ayurveda


Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre) Karela (Momordica charantia) Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa) Jamun Gutli (Syzygium cumini) Neem (Azadirachta indica) Methika (Trigonella foenum gracecum) Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)

4)   Bitter gourd Powder

Company:   Garry and Sun natural Remedies


Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia)

5)   Dia-care

Company:   Admark Herbals Limited


Sanjeevan Mool; Himej, Jambu beej, Kadu, Namejav, Neem chal

6)  Diabetes-Daily Care

Company:   Nature’s Health Supply


Alpha Lipoic Acid, Cinnamon 4% Extract, Chromax, Vanadium, Fenugreek 50% extract, Gymnema sylvestre 25% extract Momordica 7% extract, Licorice Root 20% extract

7)   Drug: Gurmar Powder

Company:    Garry and Sun natural Remedies


Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre)

8)   Epinsulin

Company:   Epinsulin


Vijaysar (Pterocarpus marsupium)

9)   Diabecure

Company:    Nature beaute santé


Juglans regia, Berberis vulgaris, Erytherea centaurium, Millefolium, Taraxacum

10)   Diabeta

Company:   Ayurvedic cure


Gymnema sylvestre, Vinca rosea (Periwinkle), Curcuma longa (Turmeric), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Pterocarpus marsupium (Kino Tree), Momordica charantia (Bitter Gourd), Syzygiumcumini (Black Plum), Acacia arabica (Black Babhul), Tinospora cordifolia , Zingiber officinale (Ginger)

11)   Syndrex

Company:   Plethico Laboretaries


Germinated Fenugreek seed Extract

Many herbal medicines  formulations are in the market and are used regularly by diabetic people to control and minimize diabetic complications on the advice of the physicians. Read the Full Research>>


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