Indian herb's diabetes benefits gets study boost

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Diabetes mellitus

Supplements of the Indian herbal Coccinia indica may
reduce blood sugar levels by about 20 per cent, says a new study
from India that adds to the Indian herb linked potential to aid
diabetics.

A one gram daily dose of C. indica​ extract led to an 18 per cent reduction in blood sugar levels after meals, according to a double blind, placebo control, randomised study published in the journal Diabetes Care​. The study adds to an ever-growing body of evidence behind the herb's benefits for diabetics, highlighted a few years back in a review by researchers from the Harvard Medical School. They stated that Coccinia indica​ had the most evidence supporting their potential benefits, with results available from adequately designed randomised controlled trials (RCTs). The authors, led by Rebecca Kuriyan from Institute of Population Health and Clinical Research, Bangalore, recruited 60 people with mild type-2 diabetics (age range 35-60) and randomly assigned them to receive either the one gram C. indica​ extract or placebo for 90 days. The extract was obtained using alcohol. None of the subjects was receiving medication, but was controlling their diabetes using dietary means. Kuriyan and co-workers report that fasting and post-prandial blood sugar levels among the diabetics receiving the C. indica​ supplement were reduced by 16 and 18 per cent, respectively, by the end of the trial. These decreases were statistically significant when compared to placebo. In addition, no significant changes were observed in blood lipid levels, they added. "This study suggests that Coccinia cordifolia extract has a potential hypoglycemic action in patients with mild diabetes,"​ stated the authors. "However, further studies are needed to elucidate mechanisms of action,"​ they concluded. An estimated 19 million people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25, equal to four per cent of the total population. This figure is projected to increase to 26 million by 2030. In the US, there are over 20 million people with diabetes, equal to seven per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $132 billion, with $92 billion being direct costs from medication, according to 2002 American Diabetes Association figures. Source: Diabetes Care ​ Published online ahead of print 13 November 2007, doi: 10.2337/dc07-1591 "Effect of supplementation of Coccinia Cordifolia extract on newly detected diabetic patients" ​Authors: R. Kuriyan, R. Rajendran, G. Bantwal, A.V. Kurpad

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