It is another case of a home remedy waiting to be discovered. A new study suggests that a traditional Indian diabetes herb treatment lowers blood sugar and insulin levels as well as today’s prescription drugs.
39 healthy adults received extracts of the herb Salacia oblonga with promising results. Insulin and blood glucose levels were lowered by a maximum of 29 and 23 percent, respectively. These reductions occurred when test subjects received the largest dose of the herb extract (1,000 mg).
“These kinds of reductions are similar to what we might see with prescription oral medications for people with diabetes,” said Steve Hertzler, a study co-author and an assistant professor of nutrition at Ohio State University.
Salacia oblonga is an herb native to regions of India and Sri Lanka. Researchers found that it can bind to intestinal enzymes that convert carbohydrates into glucose. If the herb binds to these enzymes before the enzymes can turn carbs into glucose, then less glucose sugar enters the bloodstream. Therefore less insulin is required.
“Lowering blood glucose levels lowers the risk of disease-related complications in people with diabetes,” Hertzler said. “Also, poor compliance with diabetes medications often hinders the effectiveness of these drugs. It may be easier to get someone to take an herb with food or in a beverage, as opposed to a pill.”
Although this study was performed on healthy adults, the researchers also want to study the effects of the Salacia oblonga herb in diabetic patients.
Hertzler also commented that, “A lot of studies show that lowering blood sugar levels reduces the risk for all kinds of diabetes-related complications, such as kidney disease and nerve and eye damage. We want to see if this herb has this kind of effect.”
The herb caused an intestinal gas side effect. Researchers measured hydrogen and methane levels in the breath of study participants for a two-day period following each test. Additionally, participants rated the frequency and intensity of any nausea, cramps, or gas they experienced.
The studies will continue, but the herb is difficult to find in the U.S. Some online suppliers do exist.
This study was conducted by Ohio State University (OSU), and supported by the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories in Columbus. It was reported in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and on the OSU website at http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/saloblo.htm where the study researchers can be contacted and the full news release can be found.
A seemingly-obscure herb appears to have the same medicinal properties as some of today’s most-researched diabetes medicines. Just imagine what other home remedy treasures are waiting to be uncovered.
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