Plants as Potential Anti-Diabetic Agents: Exploring Traditional Mexican Remedies
This article explores the potential of traditional Mexican plants as anti-diabetic agents. With a high incidence of diabetes in Mexico, researchers are studying the efficacy of phytochemicals in plants like chaya, cuajilote, guásima, níspero, and tronadora to aid in diabetes treatment.
Since pre-Hispanic times, Mexicans have used the great diversity of plant species that proliferate in our country to use them as remedies against various ailments, as is the case of chamomile or peppermint infusions, which are used to relieve stomach discomfort, as well as oregano, used to treat respiratory diseases.
Diabetes is a chronic non-communicable disease with a high incidence in Mexico. This condition is mainly characterized by high levels (126 mg/dl) of sugar (glucose) in the blood. About 8.6 million people in Mexico suffer from diabetes (with diagnosis), which represents 10.3% of the Mexican population over 20 years of age (Ensanut, 2018).
In some cases, making changes in eating habits and increasing physical activity can help reduce blood sugar (glucose) levels. However, as diabetes is a progressive disease, there will come a time when the patient will need to use medications to regulate their glucose levels.
Conventionally, medications that inhibit enzymes related to carbohydrate metabolism, such as α-glucosidase, are used. However, the constant and prolonged use of these drugs causes side effects, such as nausea, flatulence, and abdominal pain, among others.
This is why the application of medicinal plants as coadjuvants in the treatment of diabetes has become a topic of public health and research interest.
In Mexico, several plants have been traditionally used to treat diabetes, which is registered in the Herbal Pharmacopoeia of the United Mexican States (2021); among these are chaya, cuajilote, guásima, níspero, and tronadora, to mention a few. The anti-diabetic properties of these plants are mainly because they contain a great diversity of phytochemical compounds, including phenolics, terpenes, and alkaloids.
To deepen their knowledge, the Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals Laboratory of the Regional Coordination of CIAD in Culiacán is researching to identify different species of Mexican plants, evaluate their effect on enzymes related to carbohydrate metabolism, identify the phytochemicals present in the plants and determine their potential as adjuvants in the treatment of diabetes.
Full Citation:Prensa y Colaboradores, Oficina de. “Las Plantas Y Su Potencial Antidiabético - Centro De Investigación En Alimentación Y Desarrollo (CIAD).” Centro De Investigación En Alimentación Y Desarrollo (CIAD), 10 Mar. 2023, www.ciad.mx/las-plantas-y-su-potencial-antidiabetico.