Traditional Medicines derived from medicinal plants are used by about 60% of the world’s population. This review focuses on Indian Herbal drugs and plants used in the treatment of diabetes, especially in India. Diabetes is an important human ailment afflicting many from various walks of life in different countries. In India it is proving to be a major health problem, especially in the urban areas. Though there are various approaches to reduce the ill effects of diabetes and its secondary complications, herbal formulations are preferred due to lesser side effects and low cost. A list of medicinal plants with proven antidiabetic and related beneficial effects and of herbal drugs used in treatment of diabetes is compiled. These include, Allium sativum, Eugenia jambolana, Momordica charantia Ocimum sanctum, Phyllanthus amarus, Pterocarpus marsupium, Tinospora cordifolia, Trigonella foenum graecum and Withania somnifera. One of the etiologic factors implicated in the development of diabetes and its complications is the damage induced by free radicals and hence an antidiabetic compound with antioxidant properties would be more beneficial. Therefore information on antioxidant effects of these medicinal plants is also included.
Section on Pterocarpus Marsupium:
It is a deciduous moderate to large tree found in India mainly in hilly region. Pterostilbene, a constituent derived from wood of this plant caused hypoglycemia in dogs [45, 46] showed that the hypoglycemic activity of this extract is because of presence of tannates in the extract. Flavonoid fraction from Pterocarpus marsupium has been shown to cause pancreatic beta cell regranulation . Marsupin, pterosupin and liquiritigenin obtained from this plant showed antihyperlipidemic activity . (−) Epicatechin, its active principle, has been found to be insulinogenic, enhancing insulin release and conversion of proinsulin to insulin in vitro. Like insulin, (−) epicatechin stimulates oxygen uptake in fat cells and tissue slices of various organs, increases glycogen content of rat diaphragm in a dose-dependent manner .
Manisha Modak, Priyanjali Dixit, Jayant Londhe, Saroj Ghaskadbi, and Thomas Paul A. Devasagayam. Indian Herbs and Herbal Drugs Used for the Treatment of Diabetes J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 May Department of Zoology, University of Pune, Pune 411007, India.