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Business News/ News / India/  Indian researchers stress in-depth study of 400 medicinal plants for diabetes

NEW DELHI: A team of Indian researchers has emphasized the need for in-depth research on at least 400 medicinal plants to unlock their potential in exhibiting anti-diabetic properties. According to the researchers, extensive studies have been conducted on only 21 of these plants thus far.

The researchers argue that the cure for diabetes may lie in the natural world, with numerous medicinal plants offering the potential to effectively reduce blood sugar levels and aid in the management of type-2 diabetes.

“So far studies have been done only on 21 herbal plants including vijayasar, jamun, cumin, daruharidra, little gourd, bael, fenugreek, neem, amla, turmeric which have been found to have prominent anti-hyperglycemic action," said the researchers from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) Puducherry and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Kalyani in a study published in the World Journal of Diabetes recently.

The researchers cite examples such as BGR-34, a herbal formulation developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which has been used to manage diabetes.

BGR-34 contains not one, but many active compounds derived from four medicinal herbs daruharidra, gudmar, methi and vijayasar. “Apart from this, giloe and majeeth have also been added to increase immunity as well as anti-oxidants levels," said Dr Sanchit Sharma, executive director, AIMIL Pharmaceuticals.

A recent study conducted by AIIMS Delhi revealed that BGR-34, an Ayurvedic medicine, not only helps in reducing sugar levels but also addresses obesity.

The study titled “Treatment on Nature’s lap: Use of Herbal Products in the Management of Hyperglycemia" said that although partial research conducted on eight plants, including pomegranate, shilajit, bean, tea, ginkgo biloba, and saffron demonstrate anti-diabetic properties, it emphasised the need for further trials.

The researchers also note that several allopathic drugs used in diabetes management have their origins in herbal remedies. For instance, metformin, a widely prescribed medication, is derived from the Galega officinalis plant, which was historically used to treat diabetes in 19th-century Europe.

The researchers further highlight the manufacturing process of SGLT2 (sodium-glucose cotransporter-2), an effective diabetes treatment, which involves obtaining Phlorizin from the bark of an apple tree. They argue that evidence-based trials on natural products hold the potential to develop novel drugs for modern diabetes management in the future.

Priyanka Sharma
Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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Updated: 27 May 2023, 05:14 PM IST
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