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Laurel Zuev
Laurel Zuev

Phytotherapy In The Management Of Diabetes And ...



Medicinal plants are a source of potential therapeutic compounds. Phytotherapy can give patients long term benefits with less or no side effects. Phytotherapy in the Management of Diabetes and Hypertension is a book series which emphasizes the biochemistry behind diabetes mellitus and hypertension, along with the control or remediation of these conditions through cost effective, safe and easily-adaptable methods validated by scientific research. This is the fourth volume of the series which features reviews on selected natural products used to treat diabetes and hypertension. This volume brings 6 chapters contributed by 14 researchers that cover general updates on diabetic phytotherapy, circumin, and the medicinal use of olive leaves, passion fruit and spiral gingers in the treatment of diabetes and hypertension.




Phytotherapy in the management of diabetes and ...



Phytotherapy has long been a source of medicinal products and over the years there have been many attempts to use herbal medicines for the treatment of diabetes. Several medicinal plants and their preparations have been demonstrated to act at key points of glucidic metabolism. The most common mechanisms of action found include the inhibition of α-glucosidase and of AGE formation, the increase of GLUT-4 and PPARs expression and antioxidant activity. Despite the large amount of literature available, the actual clinical effectiveness of medicinal plants in controlling diabetes-related symptoms remains controversial and there is a crucial need for stronger evidence-based data. In this review, an overview of the medicinal plants, which use in the management of diabetes is supported by authoritative monographs, is provided. References to some species which are currently under increasing clinical investigation are also reported.


Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted on diabetic patients attending the outpatient clinics in 4 major hospitals in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These were: King Khalid University Hospital, King Abdul-Aziz University Hospital, Prince Salman Hospital and Riyadh Medical Complex over a 3-month period which started in September 1999. Patients were interviewed by trained medical students through a predesigned questionnaire that contains items that are related to diabetes and the use of herbs by diabetics.


Conclusion: The use of herbs is not rare among diabetic patients. Doctors caring for diabetic patients should encourage them to talk regarding the use of herbs as it may effect the outcome and the management of their disease.


Phytotherapy has long been a source of medicinal products and there have been many attempts to use herbal medicines for the treatment of diabetes over the years [12,13]. Furthermore, the number of scientific publications regarding herbal medicine and type 2 diabetes is continuously increasing [14].


Among the possible mechanisms of action of natural products in diabetes, such as the inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase, the effects on glucose uptake and glucose transporters, the enhancement of insulin secretion and of pancreatic β-cell proliferation, the inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B activity and the antioxidant activity have been studied in depth [15].


Despite the large amount of available literature, the real clinical effectiveness of medicinal plants in the management of diabetes is still controversial and there is a crucial need for stronger evidence-based data [16]. Indeed, despite a long folk medicine history, most of the popular species used suffer from clinical inconsistency, mainly due to the poor quality of the clinical studies