Reference Of Githens 1949 Tannin

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Brassica oleraceae L. var. capitata L. (Cabbage) Cruciferae


Hypoglycaemic fraction, called vegulin, loses activity in 1 month. Thioglycosides (methyl and ethyl propyldi-sulphides and goitrogenic indole-myrosin glycoside (neo-gluco-brassicin)

Hypoglycaemic principle tied to a hyper-glycaemic fraction from which it can be separated

MacDonald and Wislicki, (1938) Lewis (1950) Johnson etal. (1971) Yohoraetal. (1973)

Garlic (Allium sativum) (Brahmachari and Augusti, 1962b), Brassica oleraceae and Phaseolus vulgaris also contain organic sulphur compounds.

Allium cepa,A. sativa, Brassica oleraceae, Phaseolus vulgaris and some non-African plants contain, in addition to a hypoglycaemic factor, a hyperglycaemic factor; this has to be eliminated before the hypoglycaemic effect can be estimated. This simultaneous presence of the two antagonistic factors could explain the discrepancy in results obtained in older publications.

IV Hypoglycaemic plants containing anthocyanins, catechols or flavonoids, or their glycosides and/or tannins (See Table 7.4) In diabetic patients the basal membrane of the small blood vessels, which has an important metabolic function, is thickened (by an accumulation of glycoproteins), thus causing a disturbance of metabolic exchange. Also, the capillary wall becomes permeable (diabetic angiopathy). It has been shown that Vaccinium anthocyanosides can inhibit or slow down this evolution of the capillary walls particularly at the onset of the diabetic disease process. Treatment over 6 months (a starting dose of 600 mg per day) reduces the number of affected capillaries from 34 to 24% and the average surface of glycoprotein accumulation from 14 to 8 (im (Pourrat, 1977; Pourrat et al., 1977,1978).

The active constituent of Euopean Vaccinium myrtillus berries has proved to be a glycoside of 7-methyl-delphinidin and the traditional use of the berries in the treatment of diabetes in Europe has been justified by pharmacological and clinical trials which have shown that the effect of a single dose can last up to two weeks and more. The active principle allowed a gradual decrease in the use of insulin in a number of patients (Allen, 1927).

In West Africa several antidiabetic plants with similar constituents have been reported. Thus leucodelphinidin and leucocyanidin are found in the flowers and also in other parts of banana plants and Musa sap ien turn pigment contains deoxyxanthin cyanidin.

In evaluating the hypoglycaemic effect of extracts or products of 56 Indian plants reputed to be antidiabetic in native medicine, by their reduction of the normal fasting blood-sugar level in rabbits, Jain and Sharma (1967) found that an extract of the flowers of a variety of M. sapientum (Ney Poovan) was second in order of efficacy (Allium cepa being first).

A solution of 10 mg/kg of the dried residue of this extract produced a hyperglycaemia of 15-24 mg, compared to one of 20-30 mg for Allium cepa, one of 12-23 mg for Syzygium cumini, one of 13-21 mg for Ficus glomerata and one of 10-18 mg for both Momordica charantia and Gymnema sylvestre.

Saponifiable and mainly non-saponifiable fractions of the extract of the flowers of Musa sapientum var. Ney Poovan have hypoglycaemic properties.

The leaves of Morus alba contain cyanidin and delphinidin glucosides in addition to phytosterol glycosides. Similarly, in the fruits and seeds of Syzygium cumini (Table 7.1), which are used as antidiabetics, cyanidin rhamnoglucosides and galli-and ellagi tannins, respectively, are found, as well as phytosterol glycosides (Ven-kateswarlu, 1952).

Table 7.4. Hypoglycaemic plants containing anthocyanins, catechols or flavonoids, or their glycosides and! or tannins

Plant Family

Part used

Possible active constituents

Observed activity


Anacardium occidentale L. Anarcardiaceae


Quercetin and kaempferol glycosides

The glycoside fraction normalizes glycaemia

Dhar etal. (1968) Laurens and Paris (1976)

Brideliaferruginea Bent h. Euphorbiaceae

Bark, roots, leaves

Tannins, flavonoids and biflavonoids based on apogeninand kaempferol moieties

Injection of water and methanol extracts of leaves lowers hyperglycaemia in fasting rats, but only protects alloxan-diabetic rats when given 1 h before alloxan. In clinical trials 8 out of 10 patients saw their blood sugar reduced from 230 mg% to under 120 mg% when taking a decoction or maceration of the leaves perorally

Githens(1949) Iwu (1980,1983)

Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. syn. (JEriodendron anfractuosum DC.) (Silk cotton tree) Bombacaceae

Juice, roots, bark

Quercetol and kaempferol giucosides, traces of gossypiol, methylglucu-ronoxylan. In the seeds, j8 sitosterol

The glycosides are reported to be antidiabetic in India, needs checking

Currie and Timell( 1959)

Centaurea perrottetti DC. syn. (C. aspera L., C. calcitrapa Chev., C. alexandrina L.) Compositae


Centaurea spp. contain glycosides of fla vones (apigenin, baicalein, luteolin, etc.)and/or of flavonols (centaureidin, jadein, quercetin). They also contain /3-sito-sterin,j6-amyrin, peptides, cnicin (= centaurin (sesquiterpene lactone) and an alkaloid, stizolphine

The peptide fraction reduces glycaemia in rabbits by 28-42 mg/24 h Centaurin has antibiotic properties, mainly towards Brucella

Labo and Puig (1953) Viguera and Casabuena (1965) Ahmed etal. (1971) Monya and Racz (1974) Masso et al. (1979)

Coccinia grandis L. Voigt syn. (C. indica W&A., Cephalandra indica Naud., C. cordifolia (L. ) Cogn.) Cucurbitaceae

Tuberous roots

There is a hypoglycaemic fraction in alcoholic and aqueous extracts of roots. Known constituents of roots: caffeic acid, quercetin, kaempferol, /3-sitosterol

Hypoglycaemic effect of alcoholic extract in rabbits = 58.9% of that of tolbutamide. Effect in alloxan-diabetic rabbits is comparable to that oftolbutamide

Choprasal. (1956)

Currie and Timell (1959)

Brahmachari and Augusti (1963)

De and Mukher jee (1963)


Jain and Sharma (1967)

Muker jee and Ghosh (1972)

MorusalbaL. M. nigra L.

(White and black mulberry) Moraceae


Hypoglycaemic fraction = alcoholic and aqueous extract of lea ves. Known constituents: cyanidin and delphin-idin giucosides, rutin, moracetin (— quercetin triglycoside), /3sito-sterin, sitosteryl-carpate and palmitate

Leaf extracts are hypoglycaemic in tests in rats with experimental diabetes and in the fasting animal, increases glycosuria. Has also slight, antispasmodic and hypotensive action.

Leclerc(1934) Sharaf and Mansour (1964) Talyshinski (1967) Deshpande (1968) Naito(1968)

Nomora and Fukai (1981)

Musa paradisiaca L. var. sapientum (L.) Kuntze syn. (M. sapientum ( L. ) ) (Banana) Musaceae

Juice of flowers

Liquid extract of flowers, mainly 3rd fraction of non-saponifiable portion, is hypoglycaemic. In bracts, anthocyanidins; in fruits, hydroxytryp-tamine,glucides

The extract of the flowers is hypoglycaemic in tests on fasting rabbits (reduction of 15-24 mg in blood sugar)

Hood and Lowburry (1954) Simmonds (1954) Sinha^ia/. (1962) Jain (1968) Jain (1969)

Phyllanthus niruri L. Euphorbiaceae


Flavonoids (phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin), lignanes, quercetoside 4 alkaloids (norsecuri-nine isomers). In the bark: lupeol

Antidiabetic in India, needs checking

Vila (1940)

Krishnamurti and Seshadri (1946) Jain and Sharma (1967) Stanislas a/. (1967) Dhar etal. (1968) Rouffiac and Perello (1969) Naraeia/. (1977)

Rhizophora racemosa Mey. and spp. (Mangrove) Rhizophoraceae

Bark, roots

Tannins and catechins (15-42%)

A decoction is hypoglycaemic in diabetes in India

McMillan (1954) Chopras a/. (1956, p. 212) Jain and Sharma (1967)

Sclerocarya birrea (Rich. ) Hochst. syn. (Spondias birrea Rich., Poupartia birrea (Rich.) Aubrev.) Anacardiaceae


Tannins and flavonoids

A decoction or maceration of the leaves is distinctly hypoglycaemic when administered by mouth or intraperitoneally. Low toxicity in rats

Busson(1965) Gueye(1973)

Scoparia dulcis L.

(Sweet broom weed) Scrophulariaceae

Whole plant

Hypoglycaemic bitter principle named amellin. Known constituents: scoparol (=3'0-methyl-luteolin), Scoparoside (=8 glycosyl-scopanol)

Reduces hyperglycaemia and glycosuria in human diabetics. When chewed, plant tastes bitter, then sweet


Nath and Banner jee (1943) Nath and Chowdurry (1943,1945) Nath # a/. (1943,1945) Whittacker(1948)

In France a hypoglycaemic drug based on Syzgium has been put on the market: 14 g of active substance are obtained from 100 g of dried seeds by triple extraction using 95% alcohol or boiling water. (It is used in doses of 1-2.5 g/day; the LD50 in mice is 4 g/kg). Hypoglycaemic action, possibly through flavonoids and tannins, has been found in the bark and roots of Bridelia ferruginea and Rhizophora mucronata and in the leaves of Sclerocarya birrea.

Bridelia ferruginea Benth. EUPHORBIACEAE

L The bark, leaves and roots of this tree are ingredients of the Yoruba agbo infusion and are used in the preparation of a popular mouthwash and as a remedy for thrush in children. The roots are used as a chewstick and in Togo externally for the treatment of skin diseases and eruptions. In Northern Nigeria it is also used as an antidote to arrow poison (Dalziel, 1937, p. 137). In the Congo the bark is used as an anthelmintic for roundworm and is given in the treatment of cystitis (Githens, 1949).

C Tannins have been reported to be present in the bark (Githens, 1949) and roots of both B. ferruginea and Rhizophora mucronata. Flavonoids and biflavonoids based on apigenin and kaempferol moieties were isolated together with their glycosides from the methanolic extract of this plant. 'It is however not clear which of these compounds is responsible for the antidiabetic properties of this plant' (Iwu, 1983). An ethyl acetate-insoluble fraction yielded coumestans (Iwu, 1983).

P One hour after intraperitoneal injection or oral administration of leaf extracts to 12-h-fasted albino rats there was a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar but the animals were not protected against alloxan-induced diabetes. There was, however, a significant reduction in the expected hyperglycaemia in alloxan-diabetic rats when administration took place 1 h before alloxan injection. (The extracts were water and methanol extracts.) Clinical evaluation at a herbal home has revealed that eight out of ten patients benefited from Bridelia therapy. Their blood sugar was reduced from 230 mg% to less than 120 mg% and remained at this level for 8 weeks after they had taken daily a decoction or maceration of the leaves perorally (Iwu, 1980).

Sclerocarya birrea (Rich.) Höchst, syn. (Spondias birrea Rich., Poupartia birrea (Rich.) Aubrev.) (Fig. 7.5) ANACARDIACEAE

L Locally a fermented beverage like cider is prepared from the expressed juice of the fruit. The tree is mainly found in Northern Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia, and the Hausas use a cold infusion of the bark along with native natron as a remedy for dysentery. The leafy branches are cut for fodder during periods of drought (Dalziel, 1937). In Senegal the leaves and rootbark are used together with Securidaca longepedunculata, sometimes mixed with other plants as well, as a plaster against venoms, e.g. those in snake bites (Kerharo and Adam, 1974).

C Analysis of the leaves revealed the presence of tannins and flavonoids. No alkaloids, steroids or triterpenoids were detected (Gueye, 1973). The fruit is rich in vitamin C, but the juice is rather toxic. The seeds are rich in oil, mostly oleic acid (64%) but also myristic and stearic acids. They also contain amino acids with a predominance of glutamic acid and arginine (Busson, 1965).

P A decoction or maceration of the leaves of the tree has a distinct hypoglycaemic action when administered by mouth or intraperitoneally. The extracts show low toxicity in rats. The leaf extract is believed to have a direct action on the glycaemia-regulating system as well as a stimulating action on the peripheral assimilation of glucose, in particular by the muscular tissues (Gueye, 1973).

Some plants contain quercetin-, kaempferol- and/or luteolin-glycosides as active constituents. Examples are Anacardium occidentale, Ceiba pentandra, Centaurea perrottetti, Coccinia grandis, Phyllanthus niruri and Scoparia dulcis. The activity of two of these plants reputed to be antidiabetic in Indian folk medicine, Ceiba pentandra and Phyllanthus niruri, needs scientific confirmation according to Jain and Sharma (1967).

Fig. 7.5. Sclerocarya birrea (Rich.) Hochst.

Fig. 7.5. Sclerocarya birrea (Rich.) Hochst.

Medicinal Plants For Diabetes
Table 7.5. Hypoglycaemic plants containing other active constituents

Plant Family

Part used

Known constituents

Observed activity


Azadirachta indica Juss.


Acetylnimbin, nimbolid

Fresh leaf extract is hypoglycaemic in dogs with

Luscombe and Taha (1974)


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Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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