Researchers from Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology have investigated 12 medicinal plant extracts to determine their potential in slowing down two key enzymes in carbohydrate metabolism which affect blood sugar and diabetes.
The extracts comprise seven Australian aboriginal medicinal plants and five Indian ayurvedic plants.
Of the plant extracts, Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) and the Indian kino tree (Pterocarpus marsupium) had the greatest effect in slowing down both enzymes.
Diabetes represents a global public health burden, with the World Health Organisation estimating that more than 180 million people worldwide currently suffer from the disease.
More than 800 plants are used as traditional remedies in one or other form for the treatment of diabetes, but the management of the disease without any side effects is still a challenge.
“The results obtained in this study showed that most of the traditional plant extracts have good potential for the prevention and management of diabetes,” said Enzo Palombo, associate professor and study co-author at Swinburne.
The findings are reported in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.