The National Diabetes Statistics Report of 2014 states that there are approximately 29.1 million Americans who have diabetes. And 90-95% of all these diagnosed cases are under type 2 diabetes.
Despite the fact that diabetes is manageable, it remains as one of the leading cause of mortality all around the globe.
Diabetes is a chronic malady that results from a problem in the pancreas. It can be due to its inability to produce a blood-sugar-regulating-hormone called ‘insulin’, or the body’s dysfunction of ineffective insulin use. These events can lead to inappropriate high levels of blood sugar, causing complications to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and extremities.
Albeit diabetes serious complications, it can be managed by insulin administration (for type 1 diabetes), and medications (for those who has type 2). Such medications for patients with type 2 diabetes help control the levels of blood sugar by increasing the stimulation of insulin from the pancreatic cells or enhance insulin effects. Other meds either block glucose absorption or suppress glucose production.
Although effective and beneficial, these medications also have unwanted side effects. The most common side effects include stomach upset and irritation, fluid retention, diarrhea, skin rashes, decreased appetite, dehydration, bloating, and nutrient absorption interference.
The Search for Better Cure
With the undesirable side effects of current medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, natural remedies have been explored in the search for better treatments on blood glucose control. Currently, there are over 400-plant species known that aids in lowering blood glucose levels.
Researchers even discovered that there are instances wherein some of these natural remedies proved superior in terms of their anti-diabetic properties. They have fewer side effects, and yet, they work the same way that ‘mainstream anti-diabetic drugs’ do.
The New Plant Extract
A recent research work presented ethno-botanical reports on the anti-hyperglycemic properties of a plant called PericampylusGlaucus – a tropical plant that belongs to the family of Menispermaceae commonly found throughout East Asia. The plant is actually not new to the world of traditional medicine, as it is used by people in Malaysia in the form of oral decoction for treating hypercholesterolemia.
The researchers also mentioned that the different parts of this plant— Pericampylus Glaucus (P. Glaucus), are effective in treating hypertension, constipation, and pain during urination. Aside from that, this plant was proven effective against excessive free radicals.
The Extraction of Plant Material and Testing
The Pericampylus Glaucus leaves were dried for 20 days and powdered by a mechanical grinder. Using an ethanol solvent, it was then extracted by hot extraction method and subsequently concentrated through a rotary evaporator. The researchers then preserved the extract for further pharmacological activities.
Glaucus extract was then tested to diabetes-induced rats, and the study confirmed that the isolated compound extracts significantly attenuated the blood sugar level of the treated diabetic group compared to the untreated ones.
Aside from demonstrating the anti-hyperglycemic property of the isolated plant extract, the researchers also validated that the effects were similar to those observed in diabetic-induced mice that were treated with a common marketed anti-diabetic drug.
This discovery, although proven effective in rats, are subject to further investigations for the treatment of diabetes in humans.
Special thanks to Marijune Tiamzon.