Thursday, January 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Medicinal plants, a hope for diabetics
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 16
The incidence of diabetes mellitus is increasing all over the world and is becoming a problem of significant importance. According to WHO, every fifth person in the world is suffering from diabetes directly or indirectly and India has the maximum number of diabetic patients in the world.

By the year 2025, the number of diabetic patients in the country would have increased from 19.7 million as estimated in 1997 to a staggering 60 million an increase of more than 300 per cent.

Although the modern allopathic system of medicine is largely accepted in the treatment of diabetes throughout the world, it has not been able to reach the remote areas for various reasons. The use of anti-diabetes drug is a continuous process and patients have to take these drugs regularly. Results are also encouraging if herbal drugs are taken along with dietary restrictions and exercise. One of the great advantages of traditional medicinal plant is that these are available in plenty, have no side effects and are free from hypoglycernic reactions.

Looking at the advantages of traditional medicinal plants, a study was conducted by Dr Anita Kochhar, Assistant Professor Department of HSEE, under the guidance of Dr Malkit Nagi, Professor, Department of Foods and Nutrition, COHSC, PAU.

The effect of bittergourd (karela), jamun, and fenugreek seed (methi seeds) was studied on blood glucose and serum lipid profile in 60 non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM), who were selected from the PAU and hospitals in Ludhiana. The raw powder mixture of bittergourd, jambu and fenugreek seed was given as such in the capsule form and also in the form of salty biscuits at two different levels (1 gm and 2 gm).

The study revealed that fenugreek, jambu and bittergourd powder mixture can be successfully incorporated up to 2 gm per serving in the commonly-consumed recipes. The powder of medicinal plant mixture given in the form of capsule and product was found to be quite acceptable by the diabetics as compared to oral hypoglycemic drugs. The fasting and post prandial glucose level of NIDDM patients reduced significantly with the supplementation of these medicinal plants. A significant reduction in the intake of glucose-lowering allopathic drugs was also found.

Supplementation of medicinal plant mixture showed significant improvement in the serum lipid profile by lowering total, LDL (low molecular weight diglycerides) cholesterol, VLDL (very low molecular weight diglycerides) cholesterol and triglyccrides and by the increasing HDL (high molecular weight diglyccrides) cholesterol level, thus helping in retarding secondary complications of the disease.


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