Plants More Powerful Than Diabetes Drugs?
Plants More Powerful Than Diabetes Drugs – A group of researchers from the university’s School of Science, led by Dr Solomon Habtemariam, believe they have identified potential sources of medicines derived from plants which may have fewer adverse side-effects for diabetes sufferers.
The scientists are investigating the properties of two plants found in south-east Asia which they think could have properties that are not only anti-diabetic, but also lipid- or fat-lowering, and so can help tackle obesity.
Dr Habtemariam, a leading expert on drug discovery researches from natural sources, says the work could prove a crucial breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes, which he describes a “growing global epidemic.”
“Diabetes is a huge burden to society in general. The search for treatments is making the NHS bankrupt, and this problem is likely to get worse in the next decade. There is no known drug of cure and so, all in all, it’s a huge incentive for us to carry out research in this field,” he says.
The disease, a result of chronically high levels of glucose in the blood [hyperglycemia], affects more than 300 million people in the world. It is split into two main classes: type I and type 2. The former normally affects children, while type 2, the most common type, is often diagnosed later in life and in some cases can be managed by diet, exercise and weight loss.
The researchers at Greenwich aim to isolate and identify certain extracts from the plants Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata, which could have ‘active ingredients’ for treating diabetes. They discovered that one of the compounds isolated from the plant, kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside, has proved to be more than eight times more potent than the standard anti-diabetic drug, acarbose.
The team also found the plants have antioxidant properties, which is beneficial when treating diabetes.
“Our other most interesting finding is that many of the active ingredients from the Cassia auriculata plant work through a process called ‘synergism’ — in other words, they work together to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects,” Dr Habtemariam says. “Overall, this suggests that the crude plant extract has lots of potential to be used clinically for treating diabetes and associated diseases.”
The research is ongoing and requires further study and validation, but Dr Habtemariam says the university’s School of Science is an ideal place to be conducting his work. “We are only at the drug discovery stage but moving to the clinical trial stage is a very definite goal.”
Health-e-Solutions comment: Discovering the synergism of the active ingredients in the plants discussed above is important when dealing with natural remedies. The typical drug discovery method is to isolate 1 active ingredient and concentrate it for a more powerful effect. This may be, at least in part why so many pharmaceutical drugs have unattractive side effects. They have been removed from the natural context in which they were designed to function. By keeping the varied active ingredients together, it may turn out that there are fewer side effects and a more positive, synergistic effect. We’d love to see more natural anti-diabetic remedies for diabetes!
The core of the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle uses food as natural means by which to master diabetes in the healthiest way possible. With the understanding that there is much more to be explored, we delve into a number of natural treatments we have researched and found to be sufficiently safe and effective. In this downloadable, printable e-publication called More Natural Remedies, we stay “close to home,” as it were, as we discuss additional treatment topics primarily having to do with food as medicine. They offer practical, innovative, natural remedies to improve health and diabetes control.
Source: University of Greenwich (2013, January 16). Drugs for diabetes? Scientists test the power of plants