The team is working with drug companies to isolate the plant's active ingredient so it can be synthesized and turned into a patented, corporate-owned pharmaceutical drug rather than promote the actual plant as a therapeutic option for patients.
The plant has a stocky, furry-looking stem that produces spiny yellow flowers. In both cellular and animal models, extracts from this aromatic shrub have been shown to exhibit anti-diabetic activity, helping to improve sugar absorption into muscle and fat cells, as well as reduce blood sugar levels.
"Chiliadenus iphionoides extract increased insulin secretion in s cells as well as glucose uptake in adipocytes and skeletal myotubes. The extract also displayed hypoglycemic activity in the diabetics and rat. Chiliadenus iphionoides exhibits considerable anti-diabetic activity, although the mechanism of action remains to be determined."
Scientists will have to figure out a way to steal the plant's active ingredient, which in and of itself is a misnomer, since plants contain a host of bioactive components that work synergistically to promote healing.