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Indigenous Medicines and Diabetes: Indian Experience

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Dr Arvind Gupta, Jaipur    31 January 2018

approaches that did not conform to the standard beliefs of medical practitioners. These therapies have been primarily used as adjuncts to conventional medicines in the past. Indigenous means native to a particular region or environment.

Jamun is a very rich source of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus and iron. This has been traditionally used by Unani, Ayurvedic and other Asian medicine systems for controlling diabetes. The main ingredient with antidiabetic function in jamun is jamboline. Many researchers have established that amla is effective in lowering FBS or HbA1c levels in diabetic patients (in just half an hour). The chemical hydroxychalcone has been identified as a potential active ingredient in cinnamon, which is believed to modify the sensitivity of cells to insulin, enhancing their uptake. A research conducted on people with type 2 diabetes established that 1-6 g of cinnamon per day lowers serum glucose.

Curry leaves are potent antidiabetic agents. The type and amount of fiber, and the bio-active compounds, murrayacinine, isomahanimbine/mahanimbicine, mahanimboline, contained within the leaves also play a significant role in lowering blood sugar levels. Bitter gourd fruits and the whole plant is rich in plant insulin – polypeptide-P. This is a biochemical which is effective in reducing blood sugar. Garlic helps in controlling abnormally high blood sugar levels in diabetics. Indigenous foods have antidiabetic properties but still they can be used only as supportive therapy. However, they may play a role in delaying the onset of the disease.

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