is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas
in the North-Western part of India. Moringa tree is widely grown in home gardens in South India. Various parts of the tree have medicinal properties, but the leaves are the most nutritious as they contain vitamin B, C, K, beta-carotene, and protein, besides other nutrients. Studies have revealed that drumstick leaves have anti-diabetic properties as they help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Drumstick leaves are rich in ascorbic acid,
which leads to an increase in insulin secretion in the body, thereby reducing
blood sugar levels.
‘Drumstick leaves reduce blood sugar levels and display anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which make them a great natural remedy to manage diabetes.’
A research published in the Journal of Clinical
Biochemistry and Nutrition
revealed that when a controlled study was
conducted on rats, the rats that consumed a powder of drumstick leaves showed
an improvement in glucose tolerance.
Another research published in the International
Journal of Health and Nutrition
revealed that a study was conducted on
human patients with
diabetes who were administered drumstick leaf supplement for 3 months. Their
blood glucose levels were measured at the end of every month. The blood glucose
levels showed a decline every month, with the most significant drop after three
months of regular consumption of the supplement.
Properties of Drumstick Leaves
Patients with diabetes mellitus gradually develop
circulatory problems that lead to multi-organ complications. An important
reason for these is chronic inflammation and release of cytokines (proteins
that regulate inflammation) seen in diabetes. Drumstick leaves exhibit
anti-inflammatory properties due to the phenolic glycosides they contain and
therefore help in preventing circulatory disturbances in diabetic patients.
Diabetes mellitus is associated with increased
oxidative stress which causes vascular damage. The increase in the number of free
radicals results in an increase in the susceptibility of organs like liver and
kidneys to damage. Moringa leaves contain bioactive chemicals which have
antioxidant properties and act against free radicals, thus preventing oxidative
damage. This has a major role in the management of diabetes and its complications.
Diabetes damages the arteries and predisposes them to atherosclerosis
(hardening). This may result in hypertension
(elevation of blood pressure) which may lead to heart attack, stroke or heart failure if left untreated. Drumstick leaves have been used in the treatment of hypertension since the time Ayurveda became known to man. A research study published in Phytotherapy Research
revealed a significant lowering of blood pressure in animals administered the extract of drumstick leaves.
on Lipid Profile
Diabetes causes disturbances in the lipid
profile of patients as there is increased lipid peroxidation due to oxidative stress associated with the disease. As drumstick leaves have antioxidant properties, they positively influence the lipid profile
. Drumstick leaves show a tendency to lower cholesterol in patients. Though this may not directly affect the blood pressure, it does so indirectly by avoiding the deposition of cholesterol in the artery walls, avoiding further vascular damage.
Weight management is an
important lifestyle modification needed in a diabetic patient as maintaining
optimal weight helps in maintaining blood glucose levels better. Drumstick
leaves help in weight loss as they contain more protein. Protein provides
satiety and helps reduce hunger pangs between meals. They provide a good source
of energy, which does not contain sugar. Therefore, if used as an adjunct to an
active lifestyle, drumstick leaves can prove beneficial in weight loss.
The benefits of drumstick leaves are no doubt
innumerable. Despite the fact that UNESCO terms Moringa as 'a non-toxic, easily
digestible source of nutrition', users have reported certain side-effects:
These side-effects have mostly been reported
when the dose was exceeded.
should not be taken with an anticoagulant
(blood thinner) like warfarin or heparin as it may cause bleeding.
of the leaves seem to outweigh its risks. Therefore, Moringa oleifera
rightfully termed as 'The Wonder Tree' and management of diabetes is one of the
salient benefits it offers.