We have always gone back to nature and tapped its endless resources for cures to many nagging ailments. With the world stepping into the 'herbal' mode, not surprising that scientists have drawn upon the medicinal character of a crop that has been in circulation for thousands of years and may even assist in the management of blood sugar levels in patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
The herb named as Milk thistle also called by the name silymarin, has been in use to effectively treat problems with the liver - cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis and ailments in the gallbladder.
Fallah Huseini, employed at the Institute of Medicinal Plants in Teheran, said,' We don't know the exact mechanism of action for this effect, but this work shows that silymarin could play an important role in treating type 2 diabetes.'
Ms Huseini analyzed the reaction of daily supplements of silymarin alongside a placebo in 51 diabetic sufferers. Nearly 50% of the patients received 200 milligrams of silymarin thrice a day for a duration of four months and the remaining half received the placebo along with their traditional medicines for diabetes. The finding reveled that after the four month period, the group that had consumed the herbal medication recorded reduced blood sugar levels compared to their earlier levels.
'The results are very encouraging, and we now need to do further large multi-centre studies,' Ms Huseini said.
The charity Diabetes UK has warned, though there are some materials which may lower blood glucose levels in people suffering type 2 diabetes, yet it is not a cure and should not be in lieu of the conventional medication. Quoting the advice of Diabetes Spokesperson, 'Studies have shown that the best method of controlling glucose levels is through a combination of regular physical activity, a healthy diet and the relevant prescribed medication. This study is very small and still in its early stages, therefore we would not recommend using milk thistle or any other supplement for people with diabetes.'
The findings of this study are reported in the journal Phytotherapy Research.