Background: The use of medicinal plants has turned out to be an alternative method for the treatment of diseases, such as diabetes mellitus. The recommendation of the World Health Organization Committee on Diabetes encouraging research on hypoglycemic agents of plant origin used in traditional medicine has greatly motivated research in this area. The hypoglycemic activity of Ipomoea digitata tuber extract was investigated in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
Methods: An oral administration of the hydroalcoholic extract of I. digitata tuber (100 and 200 mg/kg) and glibenclamide was given for 28 days. Blood glucose levels were measured at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 24 h in the acute study and at 0, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days in the chronic study. The weight of rats was recorded before and after the study period of 28 days.
Results: In the acute study, both doses of the extract showed a significant reduction in the blood glucose level compared with the control but less significant than glibenclamide. In the chronic study, all treatments showed a significant blood glucose reduction in diabetic rats. The extract and glibenclamide not only prevented a further body weight loss but also maintained the body weight during the study period.
Conclusions: The result of the study concluded that I. digitata exhibits a considerable hypoglycemic activity, which could be due to the presence of flavonoids and β-sitosterol as active principles, although the mechanism of action remains to be determined. Thus, the plant can be the key contributor in the treatment of diabetes as an alternative medicine.
©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston