Medicinal Plants Used in Iran to Treat Hyperglycemia & Diabetes


Traditional uses of medicinal plants to prevent and treat diabetes; an updated review of ethnobotanical studies in Iran

Asadi-Samani M, Moradi MT, Mahmoodnia L, Alaei S, Asadi-Samani F, Luther T
J Nephropathol. 2017 Jul;6(3):118-125
PubMed Central: PMC5607970

Investigators at Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences and the University of Michigan conducted a database search to identify medicinal plants and their traditional uses to prevent and treat diabetes according to ethnobotanical studies undertaken in different regions of Iran.

Urtica dioica
Urtica dioica [Photo: WAH]
Writing in the Journal of Nephropathology, the team records 49 species of medicinal plants used in different cultures across Iran to treat hyperglycemia and diabetes, including Capparis spinosa, Citrullus colocynthis, Juglans regia, Teucrium polium, Trigonella foenum graecum, and Urtica dioica.

The authors note that many of the medicinal plants identified by their survey contain high concentrations of phenolic compounds, which may help account for their anti-diabetic effects:

“It is believed that oxidative stress contributes to development of vascular complications in patients with diabetes. Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in diabetes may be due to decreased destruction and/or increased production of catalase (CAT–enzymatic/non-enzymatic), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH–Px) antioxidants. The variations in the levels of these enzymes cause the tissues to become susceptible to oxidative stress, leading to development of diabetic complications. The results of this review indicated the majority of the reported plants are from families Lamiaceae (eight species), Asteraceae and Apiaceae (six species) that have high concentrations of phenolic compounds. Anti-diabetic effects of phenolic compounds have already been confirmed. Phenolic compounds may have a protective effect against hyperglycemia-induced chronic diseases through both protection of antioxidants and inhibition of starch digestion. Co-application of phenolic compounds and synthetic enzyme inhibitors may decrease the effective dose of synthetic enzyme inhibitors that are needed to control postprandial glycemia.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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