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Traditional Medicines derived from medicinal plants are used by about 60% of the worlds population. This review focuses on Indian Herbal drugs and plants used in the treatment of diabetes, especially in India. Diabetes is an important human ailment afflicting many from various walks of life in different countries. In India it is proving to be a major health problem, especially in the urban areas. Though there are various approaches to reduce the ill effects of diabetes and its secondary complications, herbal formulations are preferred due to lesser side effects and low cost. A list of medicinal plants with proven antidiabetic and related beneficial effects and of herbal drugs used in treatment of diabetes is compiled. These include, Allium sativum,Eugenia jambolana, Momordica charantia Ocimum sanctum, Phyllanthus amarus,Pterocarpus marsupium, Tinospora cordifolia, Trigonella foenum graecum andWithania somnifera. One of the etiologic factors implicated in the development of diabetes and its complications is the damage induced by free radicals and hence an antidiabetic compound with antioxidant properties would be more beneficial. Therefore information on antioxidant effects of these medicinal plants is also included. Keywords: medicinal plant, India, antidiabetic, antioxidant, diabetes

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In the last few years there has been an exponential growth in the field of herbal medicine and these drugs are gaining popularity both in developing and developed countries because of their natural origin and less side effects. Many traditional medicines in use are derived from medicinal plants, minerals and organic matter [1]. A number of medicinal plants, traditionally used for over 1000 years named rasayana are present in herbal preparations of Indian traditional health care systems [2]. In Indian systems of medicine most practitioners formulate and dispense their own recipes [3]. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed 21,000 plants, which are used for medicinal purposes around the world. Among these 2500 species are in India, out of which 150 species are used commercially on a fairly large scale. India is the largest producer of medicinal herbs and is called as botanical garden of the world [3]. The current review focuses on herbal drug preparations and plants used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, a major crippling disease in the world leading to huge economic losses.

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Diabetes and Significance

Diabetes is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism characterized by increased fasting and post prandial blood sugar levels. The global prevalence of diabetes is estimated to increase, from 4% in 1995 to 5.4% by the year 2025. WHO has predicted that the major burden will occur in developing countries. Studies conducted in India in the last decade have highlighted that not only is the prevalence of diabetes high but also that it is increasing rapidly in the urban population [4]. It is estimated that there are approximately 33 million adults with diabetes in India. This number is likely to increase to 57.2 million by the year 2025. Diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic disorder resulting from either insulin insufficiency or insulin dysfunction. Type I diabetes (insulin dependent) is caused due to insulin insufficiency because of lack of functional beta cells. Patients suffering from this are therefore totally dependent on exogenous source of insulin while patients suffering from Type II diabetes (insulin independent) are unable to respond to insulin and can be treated with dietary changes, exercise and medication. Type II diabetes is the more common form of diabetes constituting 90% of the diabetic population. Symptoms for both diabetic conditions may include: (i) high levels of sugar in the blood; (ii) unusual thirst; (iii) frequent urination; (iv) extreme hunger and loss of weight; (v) blurred vision; (vi) nausea and vomiting; (vii) extreme weakness and tiredness; (viii) irritability, mood changes etc. Though pathophysiology of diabetes remains to be fully understood, experimental evidences suggest the involvement of free radicals in the pathogenesis of diabetes [5] and more importantly in the development of diabetic complications [68]. Free radicals are capable of damaging cellular molecules, DNA, proteins and lipids leading to altered cellular functions. Many recent studies reveal that antioxidants capable of neutralizing free radicals are effective in preventing experimentally induced diabetes in animal models [9, 10] as well as reducing the severity of diabetic complications [8]. For the development of diabetic complications, the abnormalities produced in lipids and proteins are the major etiologic factors. In diabetic patients, extra-cellular and long lived proteins, such as elastin, laminin, collagen are the major targets of free radicals. These proteins are modified to form glycoproteins due to hyperglycemia. The modification of these proteins present in tissues such as lens, vascular wall and basement membranes are associated with the development of complications of diabetes such as cataracts, microangiopathy, atherosclerosis and nephropathy [11]. During diabetes, lipoproteins are oxidized by free radicals. There are also multiple abnormalities of lipoprotein metabolism in very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), and high density lipoprotein (HDL) in diabetes. Lipid peroxidation is enhanced due to increased oxidative stress in diabetic condition. Apart from this, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed by non-enzymatic glycosylation of proteins. AGEs tend to accumulate on long-lived

molecules in tissues and generate abnormalities in cell and tissue functions [12, 13]. In addition, AGEs also contribute to increased vascular permeability in both micro and macrovascular structures by binding to specific macrophage receptors. This results in formation of free radicals and endothelial dysfunction. AGEs are also formed on nucleic acids and histones and may cause mutations and altered gene expression. As diabetes is a multifactorial disease leading to several complications, and therefore demands a multiple therapeutic approach. Patients of diabetes either do not make enough insulin or their cells do not respond to insulin. In case of total lack of insulin, patients are given insulin injections. Whereas in case of those where cells do not respond to insulin many different drugs are developed taking into consideration possible disturbances in carbohydrate-metabolism. For example, to manage post-prandial hyper-glycaemia at digestive level, glucosidase inhibitors such as acarbose, miglitol and voglibose are used. These inhibit degradation of carbohydrates thereby reducing the glucose absorption by the cells. To enhance glucose uptake by peripheral cells biguanide such as metphormine is used. Sulphonylureas like glibenclamide is insulinotropic and works as secretogogue for pancreatic cells. Although several therapies are in use for treatment, there are certain limitations due to high cost and side effects such as development of hypoglycemia, weight gain, gastrointestinal disturbances, liver toxicity etc [14]. Based on recent advances and involvement of oxidative stress in complicating diabetes mellitus, efforts are on to find suitable antidiabetic and antioxidant therapy. Medicinal plants are being looked up once again for the treatment of diabetes. Many conventional drugs have been derived from prototypic molecules in medicinal plants. Metformin exemplifies an efficacious oral glucose-lowering agent. Its development was based on the use of Galega officinalis to treat diabetes. Galega officinalis is rich in guanidine, the hypoglycemic component. Because guanidine is too toxic for clinical use, the alkyl biguanides synthalin A and synthalin B were introduced as oral anti-diabetic agents in Europe in the 1920s but were discontinued after insulin became more widely available. However, experience with guanidine and biguanides prompted the development of metformin. To date, over 400 traditional plant treatments for diabetes have been reported, although only a small number of these have received scientific and medical evaluation to assess their efficacy. The hypoglycemic effect of some herbal extracts has been confirmed in human and animal models of type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization Expert Committee on diabetes has recommended that traditional medicinal herbs be further investigated. Major hindrance in amalgamation of herbal medicine in modern medical practices is lack of scientific and clinical data proving their efficacy and safety. There is a need for conducting clinical research in herbal drugs, developing simple bioassays for biological standardization,

pharmacological and toxicological evaluation, and developing various animal models for toxicity and safety evaluation. It is also important to establish the active component/s from these plant extracts.

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Indian Medicinal Plants with Antidiabetic and Related Beneficial Effects

There are many herbal remedies suggested for diabetes and diabetic complications. Medicinal plants form the main ingredients of these formulations. A list of medicinal plants with antidiabetic and related beneficial effects is given in Table 1 [15]. A list of such formulations is given in Table 2.
Table 1 Indian medicinal plants with antidiabetic and related beneficial properties

Table 2 Formulated Herbal Drugs with antidiabetic properties

Acacia arabica: (Babhul)

It is found all over India mainly in the wild habitat. The plant extract acts as an antidiabetic agent by acting as secretagouge to release insulin. It induces hypoglycemia in control rats but not in alloxanized animals. Powdered seeds ofAcacia arabica when administered (2,3 and 4 g/kg body weight) to normal rabbits induced hypoglycemic effect by initiating release of insulin from pancreatic beta cells [16].

Aegle marmelos: (Bengal Quince, Bel or Bilva)

Administration of aqueous extract of leaves improves digestion and reduces blood sugar and urea, serum cholesterol in alloxanized rats as compared to control. Along with exhibiting hypoglycemic activity, this extract also prevented peak rise in blood sugar at 1h in oral glucose tolerance test [17].

Allium cepa: (onion)

Various ether soluble fractions as well as insoluble fractions of dried onion powder show anti-hyperglycemic activity in diabetic rabbits. Allium cepa is also known to have antioxidant and hypolipidaemic activity. Administration of a sulfur containing amino acid from Allium cepa, S-methyl cysteine sulphoxide (SMCS) (200 mg/kg for 45 days) to alloxan induced diabetic rats significantly controlled blood glucose as well as lipids in serum and tissues and

normalized the activities of liver hexokinase, glucose 6-phosphatase and HMG Co A reductase [18, 19]. When diabetic patients were given single oral dose of 50 g of onion juice, it significantly controlled post-prandial glucose levels [20].

Allium sativum: (garlic)

This is a perennial herb cultivated throughout India. Allicin, a sulfur-containing compound is responsible for its pungent odour and it has been shown to have significant hypoglycemic activity [21]. This effect is thought to be due to increased hepatic metabolism, increased insulin release from pancreatic beta cells and/or insulin sparing effect [22]. Aqueous homogenate of garlic (10 ml/kg/day) administered orally to sucrose fed rabbits (10 g/kg/day in water for two months) significantly increased hepatic glycogen and free amino acid content, decreased fasting blood glucose, and triglyceride levels in serum in comparison to sucrose controls [23]. S-allyl cystein sulfoxide (SACS), the precursor of allicin and garlic oil, is a sulfur containing amino acid, which controlled lipid peroxidation better than glibenclamide and insulin. It also improved diabetic conditions. SACS also stimulated in vitro insulin secretion from beta cells isolated from normal rats [24]. Apart from this, Allium sativum exhibits antimicrobial, anticancer and cardioprotective activities.

Aloe vera and Aloe barbadensis

Aloe, a popular houseplant, has a long history as a multipurpose folk remedy. The plant can be separated into two basic products: gel and latex. Aloe vera gel is the leaf pulp or mucilage, aloe latex, commonly referred to as aloe juice, is a bitter yellow exudate from the pericyclic tubules just beneath the outer skin of the leaves. Extracts of aloe gum effectively increases glucose tolerance in both normal and diabetic rats [25]. Treatment of chronic but not single dose of exudates of Aloe barbadensisleaves showed hypoglycemic effect in alloxanized diabetic rats. Single as well as chronic doses of bitter principle of the same plant also showed hypoglycemic effect in diabetic rats. This action of Aloe vera and its bitter principle is through stimulation of synthesis and/or release of insulin from pancreatic beta cells [26]. This plant also has an anti-inflammatory activity in a dose dependent manner and improves wound healing in diabetic mice [27].

Azadirachta indica: (Neem)

Hydroalcoholic extracts of this plant showed anti-hyperglycemic activity in streptozotocin treated rats and this effect is because of increase in glucose uptake and glycogen deposition in isolated rat hemidiaphragm [28, 29]. Apart from having anti-diabetic activity, this plant also has anti-bacterial, antimalarial, antifertility, hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects [30].

Caesalpinia bonducella
Caesalpinia bonducella is widely distributed throughout the coastal region of India and used ethnically by the tribal people of India for controlling blood sugar. Both the aqueous and ethanolic extracts showed potent hypoglycemic activity in chronic type II diabetic models. These extracts also increased glycogenesis thereby increasing liver glycogen content [31]. Two fractions BM 169 and BM 170 B could increase secretion of insulin from isolated islets. The aqueous and 50% ethanolic extracts ofCaesalpinia bonducella seeds showed antihyperglycemic and hypolipidemic activities in streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats [32]. The antihyperglycemic action of the seed extracts may be due to the blocking of glucose absorption. The drug has the potential to act as antidiabetic as well as antihyperlipidemic [33].

Capparis decidua
This is found throughout India, especially in dry areas. Hypoglycemic effect was seen in alloxanized rats when the rats were fed with 30% extracts of Capparis decidua (C. decidua) fruit powder for 3 weeks. This extract also reduced alloxan induced lipid peroxidation significantly in erythrocytes, kidney and heart. C. decidua was also found to alter superoxide dismutase and catalase enzyme levels to reduce oxidative stress [34]. C. decidua additionally showed hypolipidaemic activity [35].

Coccinia indica
Dried extracts of Coccinia indica (C. indica) (500 mg/kg body weight) were administered to diabetic patients for 6 weeks. These extracts restored the activities of enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) that was reduced and glucose-6-phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase, which were raised in untreated diabetics [36]. Oral administration of 500 mg/kg of C. indica leaves showed significant hypoglycemia in alloxanized diabetic dogs and increased glucose tolerance in normal and diabetic dogs.

Eugenia jambolana: (Indian gooseberry, jamun)

In India decoction of kernels of Eugenia jambolana is used as household remedy for diabetes. This also forms a major constituent of many herbal formulations for diabetes. Antihyperglycemic effect of aqueous and alcoholic extract as well as lyophilized powder shows reduction in blood glucose level. This varies with different level of diabetes. In mild diabetes (plasma sugar >180 mg/dl) it shows 73.51% reduction, whereas in moderate (plasma sugar >280 mg/dl) and severe diabetes (plasma sugar >400 mg/dl) it is reduced to 55.62% and 17.72% respectively [21]. The extract of jamun pulp showed the hypoglycemic activity in streptozotocin induced diabetic mice within 30 min of administration while the seed of the same fruit required 24 h. The oral administration of the extract resulted in increase in serum insulin levels in diabetic rats. Insulin secretion was found to be stimulated

on incubation of plant extract with isolated islets of Langerhans from normal as well as diabetic animals. These extracts also inhibited insulinase activity from liver and kidney [37].

Mangifera indica: (Mango)

The leaves of this plant are used as an antidiabetic agent in Nigerian folk medicine, although when aqueous extract given orally did not alter blood glucose level in either normoglycemic or streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. However, antidiabetic activity was seen when the extract and glucose were administered simultaneously and also when the extract was given to the rats 60 min before the glucose. The results indicate that aqueous extract of Mangifera indica possess hypoglycemic activity. This may be due to an intestinal reduction of the absorption of glucose [38].

Momordica charantia: (bitter gourd)

Momordica charantia is commonly used as an antidiabetic and antihyperglycemic agent in India as well as other Asian countries. Extracts of fruit pulp, seed, leaves and whole plant was shown to have hypoglycemic effect in various animal models. Polypeptide p, isolated from fruit, seeds and tissues of M. charantia showed significant hypoglycemic effect when administered subcutaneously to langurs and humans [39]. Ethanolic extracts of M. charantia (200 mg/kg) showed an antihyperglycemic and also hypoglycemic effect in normal and STZ diabetic rats. This may be because of inhibition of glucose-6-phosphatase besides fructose-1, 6-biphosphatase in the liver and stimulation of hepatic glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activities [40].

Ocimum sanctum: (holy basil)

It is commonly known as Tulsi. Since ancient times, this plant is known for its medicinal properties. The aqueous extract of leaves of Ocimum sanctum showed the significant reduction in blood sugar level in both normal and alloxan induced diabetic rats [41]. Significant reduction in fasting blood glucose, uronic acid, total amino acid, total cholesterol, triglyceride and total lipid indicated the hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of tulsi in diabetic rats [42]. Oral administration of plant extract (200 mg/kg) for 30 days led to decrease in the plasma glucose level by approximately 9.06 and 26.4% on 15 and 30 days of the experiment respectively. Renal glycogen content increased 10 fold while skeletal muscle and hepatic glycogen levels decreased by 68 and 75% respectively in diabetic rats as compared to control [43]. This plant also showed antiasthemitic, antistress, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antitumor, gastric antiulcer activity, antioxidant, antimutagenic and immunostimulant activities.

Phyllanthus amarus: (bhuiawala)

It is a herb of height up to 60 cm, from family Euphorbiaceae. It is commonly known as Bhuiamala. It is scattered throughout the hotter parts of India, mainly Deccan, Konkan and south Indian states. Traditionally it is used in diabetes therapeutics. Methanolic extract of Phyllanthus amarus was found to have potent antioxidant activity. This extract also reduced the blood sugar in alloxanized diabetic rats [44]. The plant also shows antiinflammatory, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, antidiarrhoeal activity.

Pterocarpus marsupium:
It is a deciduous moderate to large tree found in India mainly in hilly region. Pterostilbene, a constituent derived from wood of this plant caused hypoglycemia in dogs [45, 46] showed that the hypoglycemic activity of this extract is because of presence of tannates in the extract. Flavonoid fraction from Pterocarpus marsupiumhas been shown to cause pancreatic beta cell regranulation [47]. Marsupin, pterosupin and liquiritigenin obtained from this plant showed antihyperlipidemic activity [48]. () Epicatechin, its active principle, has been found to be insulinogenic, enhancing insulin release and conversion of proinsulin to insulin in vitro. Like insulin, () epicatechin stimulates oxygen uptake in fat cells and tissue slices of various organs, increases glycogen content of rat diaphragm in a dose-dependent manner [49].

Trigonella foenum graecum: (fenugreek)

It is found all over India and the fenugreek seeds are usually used as one of the major constituents of Indian spices. 4-hydroxyleucine, a novel amino acid from fenugreek seeds increased glucose stimulated insulin release by isolated islet cells in both rats and humans [50]. Oral administration of 2 and 8 g/kg of plant extract produced dose dependent decrease in the blood glucose levels in both normal as well as diabetic rats [51]. Administration of fenugreek seeds also improved glucose metabolism and normalized creatinine kinase activity in heart, skeletal muscle and liver of diabetic rats. It also reduced hepatic and renal glucose-6-phosphatase and fructose 1,6-biphosphatase activity [52]. This plant also shows antioxidant activity [53, 54].

Tinospora cordifolia: (Guduchi)

It is a large, glabrous, deciduous climbing shrub belonging to the family Menispermaceae. It is widely distributed throughout India and commonly known as Guduchi. Oral administration of the extract of Tinospora cordifolia (T. cordifolia) roots for 6 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in blood and urine glucose and in lipids in serum and tissues in alloxan diabetic rats. The extract also prevented a decrease in body weight. [55] T. cordifolia is widely used in Indian ayurvedic medicine for treating diabetes mellitus [5658]. Oral administration of an aqueous T. cordifolia root extract to alloxan diabetic rats caused a significant reduction in blood glucose and brain lipids. Though the aqueous extract at a dose of 400 mg/kg could

elicit significant anti-hyperglycemic effect in different animal models, its effect was equivalent to only one unit/kg of insulin [59]. It is reported that the daily administration of either alcoholic or aqueous extract of T. cordifolia decreases the blood glucose level and increases glucose tolerance in rodents [60].

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Herbal Drug Formulations

Many formulations (see Table 2) are in the market and are used regularly by diabetic patients on the advice of the physicians. Diabecon manufactured by Himalaya is reported to increase peripheral utilization of glucose, increase hepatic and muscle glucagon contents, promote B cells repair and regeneration and increase c peptide level. It has antioxidant properties and protects B cells from oxidative stress. It exerts an insulin like action by reducing the glycated haemoglobin levels, normalizing the microalbuminurea and modulating the lipid profile. It minimizes long term diabetic complications. Epinsulin marketed by Swastik formulations, contains epicatechin, a benzopyran, as an active principle. Epicatechin increases the cAMP content of the islet, which is associated with increased insulin release. It plays a role in the conversion of proinsulin to insulin by increasing cathepsin activity. Additionally it has an insulin-mimetic effect on osmotic fragility of human erythrocytes and it inhibits Na/K ATPase activity from patients erythrocytes. It corrects the neuropathy, retinopathy and disturbed metabolism of glucose and lipids. It maintains the integrity of all organ systems affected by the disease. It is reported to be a curative for diabetes, Non Insulin Dependant Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) and a good adjuvant for Insulin Dependant Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), in order to reduce the amount of needed insulin. It is advised along with existing oral hypoglycemic drugs. And is known to prevent diabetic complication. It has gentle hypoglycemic activity and hence induces no risk of being hypoglycemic. Pancreatic Tonic (ayurvedic herbal supplement): Pancreas Tonic is a botanical mixture of traditional Indian Ayurvedic herbs currently available as a dietary supplement. Bitter gourd powder marketed by Garry and Sun. It lowers blood & urine sugar levels. It increases bodys resistance against infections and purifies blood. Bitter Gourd has excellent medicinal virtues. It is antidotal, antipyretic tonic, appetizing, stomachic, antibilious and laxative. The bitter Gourd is also used in native medicines of Asia and Africa. The Bitter gourd is specifically used as a folk medicine for diabetes. It contains compounds like bitter glycosides, saponins, alkaloids, reducing sugars, phenolics, oils, free acids, polypeptides,

sterols, 17-amino acids including methionine and a crystalline product named p-insulin. It is reported to have hypoglycemic activity in addition to being antihaemorrhoidal, astringent, stomachic, emmenagogue, hepatic stimulant, anthelmintic and blood purifier. Dia-Care manufactured by Admark Herbals Ltd. is claimed to be effective for both Type 1, Type 2 diabetes within 90 days of treatment and cures within 18 months. Persons taking insulin will eventually be liberated from the dependence on it. The whole treatment completes in 6 phases, each phase being of 90 days. Approx. 5 grams (1 tea spoon) powder is mixed with 1/2 glass of water, stirred properly and kept overnight. Only the water and not the sediment must be taken in the morning on empty stomach. To the remaining medicine fresh water is added and kept for the whole day and is consumed half an hour before dinner. The taste of the drug is very bitter. It is a pure herbal formula without any side effects. Diabetes-Daily Care manufactured by Natures Health Supply is a Unique, Natural Formula, which effectively and safely Improves Sugar Metabolism. Diabetes Daily CareTM was formulated for type 2 diabetics and contains all natural ingredients listed in Table 2 in the proportion optimal for the bodys use. Gurmar powder manufactured by Garry and Sun is an anti-diabetic drug, which suppresses the intestinal absorption of sacharides, which prevents blood sugar fluctuations. It also correlates the metabolic activities of liver, kidney and muscles. Gurmar stimulates insulin secretion and has blood sugar reducing properties. It blocks sweet taste receptors when applied to tongue in diabetes to remove glycosuria. It deadens taste of sweets and bitter things like quinine (effects lasts for 1 to 2 hours). Besides having these properties, it is a cardiac stimulant and diuretic and corrects metabolic activities of liver, kidney and muscles. DIABETA, a formulation of Ayurvedic Cure, available in the capsule form is an anti-diabetic with combination of proven anti-diabetic fortified with potent immunomodulators, antihyperlipidemics, anti-stress and hepatoprotective of plant origin. The formulation of Diabeta is based on ancient ayurvedic references, further corroborated through modern research and clinical trials. Diabeta acts on different sites in differing ways to effectively control factors and pathways leading to diabetes mellitus. It attacks the various factors, which precipitate the diabetic condition, and corrects the degenerative complications, which result because of diabetes. Diabeta is safe and effective in managing Diabetes Mellitus as a single agent supplement to synthetic anti-diabetic drugs. Diabeta helps overcome resistance to oral hypoglycemic drugs when used as adjuvant to cases of uncontrolled diabetes. Diabeta confers a sense of well -being in patients and promotes symptomatic relief of complaints like weakness giddiness, pain in legs, body ache, polyuria and pruritis.

Syndrex manufactured by Plethico Laboratory contains extracts of germinated fenugreek seed. Fenugreek is used as an ingredient of traditional formulations over 1000 years. We are currently studying the mechanism of this antidiabetic drug using animal model on one hand and cultured islet cells on the other. Thus many different plants have been used individually or in formulations for treatment of diabetes and its complications. One of the major problems with this herbal formulation is that the active ingredients are not well defined. It is important to know the active component and their molecular interaction, which will help to analyse therapeutic efficacy of the product and also to standardize the product. Efforts are now being made to investigate mechanism of action of some of these plants using model systems.

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65. Chempakam B. Hypoglycemic activity of arecoline in betel nut Areca catechu L. Ind. J. Exp. Biol.1993; 31:474 475. 66. Yoshikawa M., Murakami T., Kadoya M., Matsuda H., Muraoka O., Yamahara J., Murakami N. Medicinal foodstuff. III. Sugar beet. Hypoglycemic oleanolic acid oligoglycosides, betavulgarosides I, II, III and IV, from the root of Beta vulgaris L. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 1996;44:12121217. 67. Pari L., Amarnath Satheesh M. Antidiabetic activity of Boerhavia diffusa L. effect on hepatic key enzymes in experimental diabetes. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2004;91:109113. [PubMed] 68. Satheesh M.A., Pari L. Antioxidant effect of Boerhavia diffusa L. in tissues of alloxan induced diabetic rats. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 2004;42:989992. [PubMed] 69. Pari L., Amarnath Satheesh M. Antidiabetic effect of Boerhavia diffusa: effect on serum and tissue lipids in experimental diabetes. J. Med. Food. 2004;7:472476. [PubMed] 70. Saleem R., Ahmad M., Hussain S.A., Qazi A.M., Ahmad S.I., Qazi H.M., Ali M., Faizi S., Akhtar S., Hussain S.N. Hypotensive, hypoglycemic and toxicological studies on the flavonol C-glycoside shamimin from Bombax ceiba. Planta Medica. 1999;5:331334. [PubMed] 71. Somani R., Kasture S., Singhai A.K. Antidiabetic potential of Butea monosperma in rats.Fitoterapia. 2006;77:86 90. [PubMed] 72. Gomes A., Vedasiromoni J.R., Das M., Sharma R.M., Ganguly D.K. Antihyperglycemic effect of black tea (Camellia sinensis) in rats. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1995;45:223226. [PubMed] 73. Devasagayam T.P.A., Kamat J.P., Mohan H., Kesavan P.C. Caffeine as an antioxidant: Inhibition of lipid peroxidation induced by reactive oxygen species in rat liver microsomes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta.1996;1282:63 70. [PubMed] 74. Chakrabarti S., Biswas T.K., Seal T., Rokeya B., Ali L., Azad Khan A.K., Nahar N., Mosihuzzaman M., Mukherjee B. Antidiabetic activity of Caesalpinia bonducella F. in chronic type 2 diabetic model in Long-Evans rats and evaluation of insulin secretagogue property of its fractions on isolated islets. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005;97:117 122. [PubMed] 75. Bhattacharya A., Chatterjee A., Ghosal S., Bhattacharya S.K. Antioxidant activity of active tannoid principles of Emblica officinalis (amla) Indian J. Exp. Biol. 1999;37:676680. [PubMed] 76. Kumar K.C.S., Muller K. Medicinal plants from Nepal, II. Evaluation as inhibitors of lipid peroxidation in biological membranes. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999;64:135139. [PubMed] 77. Devasagayam T.P.A., Subramanian M., Singh B.B., Ramanathan R., Das N.P. Protection of plasmid pBR322 DNA by flavonoids against single-strand breaks induced by singlet molecular oxygen. J. Photochem. Photobiol. 1995;30:97103. 78. Arai I., Amagaya S., Komatzu Y., Okada M., Hayashi T., Kasai M., Arisawa M., Momose Y. Improving effects of the extracts from Eugenia uniflora on hyperglycemia and hypertriglyceridemia in mice. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999;68:307314. [PubMed] 79. Maroo J., Vasu V.T., Gupta S. Dose dependent hypoglycemic effect of aqueous extract ofEnicostema littorale blume in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Phytomedicine. 2003;10:196199.[PubMed]

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Traditional Home Remedies

Power of Vegetables:
Beetroot Beetroot is used traditionally as a blood building food. It has liver, spleen, gall bladder and kidney cleansing properties. Beetroot is particularly rich in Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Each capsule provides approximately 1-2mg of elemental iron The iron contained in beetroot is organic and non-irritating and will not cause constipation Beetroot is useful in acidosis due to it being rich in alkaline elements Carrot Carrots contains large quantities of vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene. Carrot juice has anti-carcinogen properties. Thus, it helps prevent cancer. It is also believed to have cancer-curing properties. It also good for the skin. Carrot juice is like a tonic. It will improve the overall health of you and your child, and increase immunity. In fact, two glasses of carrot juice a day can increase your immunity by as much as 70%!

Power of Fruits:


The apple is a highly nutritive food. It contains minerals and vitamins in abundance. Apples are useful in kidney stones Iron contained in the apple helps in formation of blood. Raw apples are good for constipation. Cooked or baked apples are good for diarrhea. Apples are of special value to heart patients. They are rich in potassium and phosphorus but low in sodium. It is also useful for patients of high blood pressure.

The banana constitutes almost a complete balanced diet in combination with milk. It is known for promoting healthy digestion. The banana is used as a dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and blandness. It is the only raw fruit which can be eaten without distress in chronic ulcer cases. It neutralizes the over-acidity of the gastric juices and reduces the irritation of the ulcer by coating the lining of the stomach. Cucumber A beautician's secret, cucumber is excellent for facial skin. It also promotes the growth of healthy hair and nails. And of course, we all know the wonders that it performs on baggy eyes and dark circles. It contains vitamins like B and C, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

Common Home Remedies

. . . . Cold and Cough Insect Bites Stomach Ache Colic

Cold and Cough

Symptoms Following are the signs that indicate the presence of this ailment:


Running or blocked nose Sneezing Sore throat Congestion Headache Low fever with body pain Loss of appetite Lethargy Insomnia

The aggravation of kapha due to the intake of cold food, drinks and fried stuff etc causes cough. Seasonal changes is also one of the reasons for cough Improper digestion of food transforms into a mucus toxin (Ama) and this circulates through the body and reaches the respiratory system, where it causes colds and coughs. Remedies

The body should be kept warm - especially the feet, chest, throat and head. Sweating is very helpful. Take half a teaspoon of ginger juice with half a teaspoon of honey, three times a day (morning, noon and night). In winter, warm the mixture by mixing a teaspoon of warm water in it. Mix half a cup of warm water with one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of honey. Dosage: Take several times a day. In cases of dry cough (especially during the night), peel a small piece of fresh ginger. Sprinkle some salt on it and chew. Take equal amounts of cardamom, ginger powder, black pepper and cinnamon (1 teaspoon each). Add sugar equal to the total amount of mixture and grind to make a fine powder. Dosage: Take half a teaspoon twice daily, with honey or warm water after meals. In cases of sore throat, a clove or two cardamoms or a few raisins can be chewed.Gargling with warm salty water two to three times a day is also beneficial.

Dos and don'ts The food and activities that are to be avoided are as follows:

Cold foods and drinks Ice cream, sweets Fried foods Milk products (cheese, creams, yogurt) Sweet fruit juices

Breads Meats Nuts Pastries Sleeping during the day Taking a cold shower Exposure to cold wind, fans, air conditioners The body should be kept warm - especially the feet, chest, throat and head. Sweating is very helpful.

Following are the substances and activities that should be taken in cough:

Boiled or steamed vegetables Vegetable soup Spice teas Herbal teas Hot milk with a piece of crushed ginger Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed in milk provides relief.

Insect Bites
The best way to handle bites and stings is to avoid them in the first place. Experts say that when venturing into the outdoors, you should wear white or khaki-colored clothing (including socks and long pants), use insect repellent, avoid sweet-scented fragrances, never mess around with a beehive and always check yourself for hangers-on such as ticks after you go back inside. But even when that doesn't work, most insect bites are just minor annoyances. You'll get an itch, a bump and maybe a burning sensation. The natural remedies in this chapter, used with the approval of your doctor, may provide relief, according to some health professionals. See Your Medical Doctor When... An animal bites you. You develop a fever after being bitten. You have difficulty breathing or feel severe pain after a bite or sting. Aromatherapy For quick relief from insect bites, apply one drop of pure lavender, tea tree, helichrysum (also called immortelle or everlast) or blue chamomile essential oil directly to the affected area, suggests Los Angeles aromatic consultant John Steele. The oil can be reapplied every ten minutes until you feel better, he says. For information on preparing and administering essential oils, including cautions about their use, see page19. For information on purchasing essential oils, refer to the resource list on page 633. Ayurveda Neem powder, made from extracts from India's neem tree and available from Ayurvedic practitioners, can be applied as a plaster to soothe insect bites, according to Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc., director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To make the plaster, Dr. Lad says to take enough neem powder to just cover the area of the bite, then add warm water to make a thick paste. He suggests applying the plaster to the skin twice a day, letting it dry for 10 to 20 minutes each time. But you can keep the bugs from biting in the first place, says Dr. Lad, by rubbing neem oil (also available from Ayurvedic practitioners) on exposed skin before going outside. According to Dr. Lad, neem contains a compound called salannin that repels insects as effectively as the synthetic chemical DEET-but without DEET's toxic effects on humans. Do not use pure neem tree oil, he cautions, since it's too strong for this use. You can also soothe insect bites by drinking fresh cilantro juice and applying the cilantro pulp to the skin, says Dr. Lad. Here's how he says to prepare the juice and pulp: Chop 1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves and mix with 1/3 cup of water in a blender. Strain this mixture through cheesecloth, saving the pulp to apply directly to the affected area of the skin. Dr. Lad

suggests spreading the pulp on the bite once or twice a day and to drink the juice two tablespoons at a time, three times a day. Keep the juice refrigerated; you should have enough for three to four days. Flower Remedy/Essence Therapy Try the emergency stress relief formula, sold under brand names such as Calming Essence, Rescue Remedy and FiveFlower FormulaKaslof. By using the formula topically on minor insect bites to relieve pain, swelling and itching. Also, the formula may be helpful in relieving mild allergic reactions to insect bites and stings. We recommend taking four drops under the tongue as needed to calm and relax. We caution, however, that the formula is not a replacement for emergency medical intervention or doctor-recommended treatment for allergic reactions. If you have a history of allergic reactions to insect bites and stings, he says, you must consult your doctor before using the emergency stress relief formula. The emergency stress relief formula is available in most health food stores and through mail order (refer to the resource list on page 635). For more information on preparing and administering the formula, see page 40. Food Therapy "A compress made from meat tenderizer breaks down the venom and can take the sting out of bites and stings," says Acharyaji., director of Dhyansanjivani, and author of many books . That's because most insect bites and stings, as well as jellyfish stings, are protein-based, and meat tenderizer breaks down protein-as long as the tenderizer contains papain or bromelain, the active protein-busting ingredients. Acharyaji says to mix a thick paste of water and powdered meat tenderizer and apply it directly on the skin; relief will come within a minute. (Bromelain can cause dermatitis in some people, so don't apply any more if the skin begins to look red and inflamed.) Herbal Therapy Here's a natural insect repellent from Barre, Vermont, herbalist Acharya Shivaananddaasji, in other books on herbs: Combine one part bay leaf, four parts pennyroyal, two parts rosemary and one part eucalyptus in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add enough olive oil to cover the herbs, and then top off with another inch or two. Close the jar and place it on a sunny windowsill or in a sunny spot outside for two weeks. Then strain the mixture so that there's only liquid left. (For extra scent, add a drop or two of eucalyptus essential oil to the liquid.) Acharyaji recommends using this herbal repellent just as you would a store-bought product, spreading it evenly and lightly on your skin (but avoiding the eyes). And she says that this herbal repellent is safe to use even on children's skin and that it works as well as store-bought chemical varieties. All of these herbs and oils are available in most health food stores. Homeopathy To reduce the swelling and pain of bites that have the sensation of coldness and that are better when you apply cold, take a 6C or 12C dose of Ledum or apply Ledum tincture on the bite with a cotton swab every two to three hours as needed until you feel relief. Taking Apis mellifica in 6C or 12C potency is another good remedy, he says, particularly for bites that are burning or stinging, are worse with heat and better with ice packs and cause hivelike reactions on the skin. Acharyaji suggests taking one dose of Ledum or Apis mellifica every 15 minutes for up to four doses. If you're still experiencing pain, he says, take one 30C dose. If there is still no improvement, consult a medical doctor or homeopath, he says. Ledum and Apis mellifica can be purchased in many health food stores. To purchase homeopathic remedies by mail, refer to the resource list on page 637. Hydrotherapy To relieve the discomfort of insect bites, make up a thin paste of water, apple cider vinegar and fuller's earth (available in most health food stores) and apply to the bite for a few minutes, suggests Acharyaji. Rinse with warm water

Stomach Ache

Symptoms The main symptom as is clear from the name is ache or pain. The pain can be of many types depending upon the cause of pain. In some cases it can be very mild and bearable while in other it could be very severe and appears as if the patient is going to lose his/her life. Depending upon the cause of pain it can be continously high, sometimes high and sometimes low like a wave, appear during a specific time, like one hour before or after the meals or on empty stomach. The nature of pain is also different . It can be biting, burning, throbbing, spasmodic, piercing or sometimes very mild and relief giving. Causes Stomach ache is a term which is generally used for the abdominal region, so even if the pain is not exactly in the stomach, it can be termed as stomach ache in a layman's language. Common causes of pain in the abdominal region can be appendicitis, stones in the kidney and the gall bladder, gastric or duodenal ulcers, colitis, inflammation of liver or any other part of the alimentary canal and infection in the urinary tract. Pain in the abdominal region can also be caused due to presence of worms in the digestive tract, constipation, indigestion, wind and distention, gastritis, food poisoning or food allergies ,acidity and diarrhea. It can also be caused due to the presence of a toxic material called ama. Though most pains according to Ayurveda are caused by vata (air ) aggravation, it can also occur by the aggravation of pitta (fire) and kapha (water and mucus ) doshas. Remedies The treatment according to Ayurveda varies according to the cause of the pain. As the aim of Ayurvedic treatment is to remove the root cause, it could be different in different cases depending upon the cause. In this way the Ayurvedic approach is different from the modern medicine where generally pain killers are prescribed irrespective of the cause. Some general remedies for stomach ache are given here. In case of severe symptoms it is advised to consult the Ayurvedic physician. 1. The patient should have clear bowel movements and should not be constipated. According to Ayurveda every one should pass stool at least once in 24 hours. Early morning (first thing after waking up ) is the best time to do this. In the case of severe constipation an enema with warm water can be given. Two tea spoons of castor oil mixed in a cup of warm milk can be given to the patient every night before going to bed or whenever necessary. 2. If the pain is due to acidity or gas, drinking plain soda water provides immediate relief. 3. Two tea spoons of lemon juice mixed with 50 ml. of warm water helps in relieving all kinds of stomach aches. One gram of rock salt powder should be mixed in this and can be taken at least thrice a day. 4. Take equal weights of dry ginger, black pepper, roasted cumin seeds, dry mint leaves, coriander, asa asafetida, garlic and rock salt. Make a fine powder by grinding all these together. Taking one or half tea spoon of this powder with warm water gives relief from stomach ache. This can be taken two or three times a day after meals. If some of the ingredients are not found, you can make the powder with what ever items being available. Common salt can be used if rock salt is unavailable. 5. Taking one to three grams of ajowan seeds with warm water relieves stomach ache. It becomes more effective if an equal weight of rock salt is added to it. In case rock salt is not available, common salt can be used. 6. Giving local heat treatment at the site of the pain also gives some relief from the pain. 7. One tea spoonful ginger juice and one tea spoonful castor oil mixed in half cup warm water relieves stomach ache. It can be taken twice a day. 8. Take about 20 gms. of anise seeds. Put them in one cup water for about 4 hours. Then strain and drink this water. It is better to soak the anise seeds overnight, and drink it in the next morning. Diet and Regimen Diet should be mainly light and easily digestible. Little grains, rice, yogurt or butter milk, a little salad with a thin dressing of oil or yogurt on it is good. A dressing of lemon juice can also be used on the salad. Cooked vegetables like squash, zucchini, pumpkin and mung dal (green beans or pulses) will also help. Khichree is also good. Khichree is prepared by cooking together one part rice and six parts mung beans. Mung beans can be found in any Indian store. A soup of vegetables is good as are fruit juices and fruits like grapes, papaya, orange, peaches etc. Fried and spicy foods which contain too much oil are prohibited. Beans, potatoes, sweets, creams and yogurt in the night time are also not good. Avoid all kinds of physical activities immediately after meals. The patient should take sufficient rest. Mental tension, worry, anxiety, greed, anger and fear should be given up and the patient must have a relaxed mind.

Colic is when a baby cries for longer than three hours every day for more than three days a week. It is the extreme end of normal crying behaviour. The condition is harmless, though it can be very distressing for parents or carers. The cause is not known, but there are ways to help calm a baby down. About infant colic Colic is uncontrollable, extended crying in a baby who is otherwise healthy and well-fed. Every baby cries, but babies who cry for more than three hours a day, three to four days a week, may have colic. About 20% of babies get colic, and it equally affects boys and girls, first-born children and those born later. In general, it appears at around two to four weeks of age and can last for three months, or longer in some cases. Causes The cause of colic isn't known. In the past it was thought to be related to the digestive system. However, although painful abdominal gas may contribute to colic, there is little evidence to prove it's due to gastrointestinal problems. Another possible cause of colic is a combination of the baby's temperament and an immature nervous system. The baby's temperament may make him or her highly sensitive to the environment, and he or she may react to normal stimulation or changes to the environment by crying. Because the baby's nervous system is immature, he or she is unable to regulate crying once it starts. Symptoms The main symptom is continuous crying for long periods of time. Although this crying can occur at any time, it usually worsens in the evening. Although colic is not thought to be due to pain, a baby with colic may look uncomfortable or appear to be in pain. Babies may lift their head, draw their legs up to their tummy, become red in the face and pass wind. Some babies refuse to eat. Difficulty falling and staying asleep is also common. Normally, colic is not a serious condition. Research shows that babies with colic continue to eat and gain weight normally, despite the crying. The main problem with the condition is the stress and anxiety it creates within the home. Parents and other family members may find it difficult to cope with the constant crying, so it's important to have support and to take a break now and then. When to see a doctor Colic does not need medical treatment. However, any parent or carer who is worried about their baby's crying may want to get advice from a healthcare professional to make sure there is no serious problem. Before visiting a doctor, all other possible causes of crying should be eliminated. These include:

hunger tiredness lack of contact - some babies want to be cuddled all the time startling - eg due to a jerky movement or sudden noise undressing - most babies don't like the feel of air on their skin temperature - is the baby too hot or too cold? pain - is there an identifiable source of pain, eg a nappy rash

Before going to the doctor, parents should take note of when the baby cries, eats and sleeps, as well as the pattern of bowel movements. This will help the doctor determine the cause of the crying. The doctor will examine the baby and ask about the symptoms to help exclude any other disorders that may be causing the crying.

If the doctor diagnoses colic, there are many things parents can do to help the baby - and themselves - through the next few months. Treatment for colic There is no single medicine or proven cure for colic, but there are several measures that may help. Different babies are comforted by different measures, and parents usually need to try various methods to see what works. Parents who bottle-feed their babies may want to try a different formula. For parents who breastfeed, it's a good idea to continue this because weaning the baby from breast milk may make the colic worse. Some women find that certain foods in their diet seem to make colic worse and they may find that cutting these foods out helps. These might include cruciferous vegetables (eg cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and parsnip), beans, onions, garlic, apricots, melon, spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol. By reintroducing foods gradually, women may be able to identify which food, if any, is causing the problem. If there is a family history of milk sugar (lactose) intolerance, breastfeeding mothers could try eliminating cows milk from their diet. Sometimes babies are not able to digest lactose well - this improves as they get older. Some parents who bottle-feed their baby try changing over to soya-based formula, but there is no evidence that this is effective at reducing colic. If the baby seems to have a lot of wind, make sure he or she is burped frequently. Babies who are bottle-fed may swallow air from the bottle: try feeding the baby in a different position, or using a bottle and teat designed to reduce the amount of air the baby swallows during a feed. These include curved bottles, bottles with a collapsible bag inside or bottles with a vent. To soothe babies with colic, the following techniques may be helpful:

carry the baby in a front sling or back pack wrap him or her snugly in a blanket (this is called swaddling) keep the baby moving in a baby swing place him or her near continuous noise or vibrations from household appliances like the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner or washer-dryer take him or her for a car ride or a walk outside give him or her a dummy to suck on give him or her tummy or back rubs take a shower together - the warm water may be comforting

Medicines Medicines are not used to treat colic. However, medicines may help to relieve abdominal symptoms. It may be worth trying "colic drops" or "gripe water", which are available without a prescription. A medicine called dimeticone (eg Infacol) is available to relieve trapped wind. Care for the parent or carer Having a colicky baby can be very stressful, frustrating and challenging for any parent, particularly if it is the first child. Babies may pick up on anxiety around them, and this may make colic worse. It's important for the parents or carer to have time to themselves. Parents who feel overwhelmed should take a break. Ask a partner or friend to take over for a while, even for an hour or two. This content is provided for information purposes only. NRI Online makes no claim as to the accuracy or authenticity of this content.