Researchers have found a herb used in traditional Indian medicine to treat diabetes seems to lower blood sugar and insulin levels in a manner similar to prescription drugs.
The study examined the effectiveness of a herb called salacia oblonga, which is native to regions of India and Sri Lanka. Salacia oblonga binds to intestinal enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the body. These enzymes turn carbohydrates into glucose, the sugar that circulates throughout the body. If the enzyme binds to the herbal extract rather than to a carbohydrate, less glucose gets into the bloodstream, resulting in lowered blood glucose and insulin levels.
For the study thirty-nine adults without diabetes participated and were given four test meals consisting of a beverage that contained the herbal extract on four different occasions. Glucose and insulin levels were measured before and after the meals and different concentrations of the herbal extract were evaluated in the study.
Results of the study showed the beverage containing the highest concentration of the herbal extract provided the most dramatic reduction in insulin and blood glucose levels. However according to researchers the reductions seen were similar to the effects that see with prescription oral medications for people with diabetes.
Though the results of the study indicates a positive finding researchers say further studies should be done to look at the effects of salacia oblonga in people with diabetes.