Chinese Herbal Medicine, A New Hope for Diabetes Patients

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Emodin, a natural product that can be extracted from various Chinese herbs including Rheum palmatum and Polygonum cuspidatum, is quite promising as an agent that can reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes.

The findings which was published by the British Journal of Pharmacology August edition, shows that testing of emodin to mice – which induced obesity – lowers blood glucose and serum insulin, improving insulin resistance, and lead more healthy levels of lipids in the blood. Emodin also can lose weight and reduce fat mass.

“If repeated in humans, all these changes will benefit people with type 2 diabetes or other metabolic diseases associated with insulin resistance,” said lead author Dr. Ying Leng, who works at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Academy of Sciences China, Shanghai, China, according to ScienceDaily.

Research shows that an enzyme known as 11?-HSD1 plays a role in the body’s response to the sugar contained in a meal. When a person eats foods that contain sugar, glucose pours into the bloodstream. In response, the body releases insulin and these hormones trigger various actions that help clean up the excess glucose in the blood. However, the body also has a set of hormones called glucocorticoids, which has an opposite effect to insulin. And this is where 11?-HSD1 is located, because this enzyme increases the ability of glucocorticoids enzyme to act.

The results showed for the first time that emodin is a potential selective inhibitors for 11?-HSD1 enzyme and emodin effectively limits the impact of glucocorticoids, and ameliorates diabetes and insulin resistance.

“Our work shows that natural extracts from Chinese herbs can point the way for a new way to help people with type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders. To develop it further, researchers need to develop chemicals that have the same effect with emodin, and see which ones can be used as a therapeutic drug, “Dr. Leng said.

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