A Review of Recent Investigations on Medicinal Herbs Possessing Anti-Diabetic Properties

Nidhi Aggarwal and Shishu


Globally, the pervasiveness of chronic, non-communicable disease diabetes mellitus is growing by leaps and bounds. It is one of the major causes of premature morbidity and mortality worldwide. Almost 3.2 million people die of diabetes across the world every year. The worldwide prevalence of diabetes is 6.4% (corresponding to 285 million people); this varies from 10.2% in the Western Pacific to 3.8% in the African region and expected to grow up to 7.4% (439 million) of the adult population by 2030. In the last 20 years there has been a threefold increase in the prevalence of diabetes. It is estimated that there are 30 to 33 million diabetics in India now, and every fourth diabetic in the world today is an Indian. Indians are genetically more susceptible to diabetes and the WHO predicts the number of diabetics in India would go up to 80 million by 2030. WHO has also issued a warning that India is going to be the diabetes capital of the world with Chennai emerging as the diabetic capital of India. Many plants possessing hypoglycemic principles/ properties are known to exist in nature. Also a large number of polyherbal formulations (PHF’s) derived from these plants are presently being prescribed as medicinal/dietary supplements for diabetes mellitus. Even the WHO (World Health Organization) approves the use of plant drugs for different diseases, including diabetes mellitus. However, these formulations lack proper standardization of the active constituents. There is an urgent need to address to the issues of scientific authenticity about their efficacy, safety and their interaction with modern allopathic drugs. The paper reviews composition, active principles and pharmacological effects of some important plants which are widely used in commercially available herbal and polyherbal formulations and provides a detailed list of plants reported to possess potential anti-diabetic activity.\r\n

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