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Diabetes Drugs From These 2 Tropical Plants Could Be Breakthrough

Diabetes Drugs From Tropical Plants

In the search for new effective drugs to treat diabetes, scientists have been turning to the plant world. Recently, investigators from the University of Greenwich have discovered two plants with properties that could be a breakthrough in the area of new diabetes drugs.

Help for diabetes could come from tropical plants

Tropical and subtropical climates are home to two plants from the same genus that appears to possess anti-diabetes benefits, such as an ability to lower fat and lipids and help with weight reduction. Those two plants are Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata.

One of the special ingredients in these plants is kaempferol, a known flavonoid that has been associated with anticancer, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiallergic benefits, among others. Kaempferol is found in many different foods, including but not limited to broccoli, tea, tomatoes, strawberries, grapefruit, cabbage, apples, and beans.

The tropical plants also contain compounds with antioxidant abilities. Antioxidants are important when treating and managing diabetes to help prevent cell damage and complications associated with the disease.

According to the authors of the new study, the kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside they extracted from the tropical plants was eight times more potent than acarbose, a standard antidiabetes drug. Acarbose is an oral medication available in the United States under the trade name Precose.

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Dr. Habtemariam, one of the study's co-authors and an expert on researching new drugs from plants, also noted that many of the substances in the Cassia auriculata plant “work together to produce an effect that is greater than the sum of their individual effects.” This is an important discovery, according to Habtemariam, because it indicates that the crude plant extract could be used to treat diabetes and other associated disorders.

More about the tropical plants

Cassia auriculata (or Senna auriculata) is a shrub that grows mainly in India and Sri Lanka. It is also known as avaram and tanner’s cassia, and it has bright yellow flowers that are used as a medicinal tea for diabetes. Traditional herbalists also use the roots, bark, leaves, and seeds for fever, diabetes, constipation, conjunctivitis, gout, and diseases of the urinary tract.

Cassia alata (or Senna alata), also known as the candle bush or the candelabra bush, is native to Mexico and the tropics. It is valued both for its antifungal properties and as an ornamental plant because of its striking flowers, which look like candles.

Habtemariam and his team are continuing their research of Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata and moving toward the clinical trial phase. He notes that their efforts with these tropical plants could be part of an important breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes.

University of Greenwich

Image: WIkimedia Commons