Indian herb may help diabetics control blood sugar
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An extract of Coccinia indica, a perennial herb that grows abundantly in India, may help people with mild type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, the results of a new study suggest.
In the journal Diabetes Care, researchers note that while Coccinia indica, also known as Coccinia cordifolia, has been widely used in traditional treatments of diabetes, carefully controlled studies have not been done.
To examine the effects of this herb on blood sugar levels, the India-based researchers randomly assigned 60 adults with newly detected type 2 diabetes to receive Coccinia extract or placebo. The subjects were between 35 and 60 years old and were being treated with diet and lifestyle modification only.
According to Dr. Rebecca Kuriyan, from the Institute of Population Health and Clinical Research in Bangalore, and colleagues, there were significant differences in blood sugar favoring Coccinia extract over placebo after 90 days of treatment.
Fasting blood sugar levels at 90 days in people taking the Coccinia extract fell by an impressive 16 percent, while fasting blood sugar levels rose slightly in the placebo takers. Likewise, patients in the Coccinia extract group had an 18-percent decrease in post-meal blood sugar levels at the study's end, whereas the placebo group experienced a small increase in post-meal blood sugar levels.
This study suggests that Coccinia extract has a potential blood sugar lowering action in patients with mild diabetes. Kuriyan and colleagues note however that additional studies are needed to identify the mechanisms involved.
SOURCE: Diabetes Care, February 2008.