COGENT db+: MAKING LIFE BETTER FOR DIABETICS
9 HERBS: COGENT db+'s SYNERGY OF HEALING
Azadirachta indica (Margosa or Neem)
Parts used: bark
This herb is widely cultivated in India and available in deciduous forests. It is a medium to large sized tree 10-15m in height with a clear bole of grayish to dark tuberculated bark; compound leaves, imparipinnate leaflets, sub-opposite, serrate and very oblique at the base; flowers, cream or yellowish-white in auxillary panicles; and staminal tubes, conspicuous, cylindrical, widening above, lobed at the apex. Fruits are one seeded drupes with woody endocarp, and thick, fleshy and oily cotyledons. It is a hard, quick growing, evergreen tree.
The herb has anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti- hyperglycemic [insulinotropic action] properties. It is used in healing chronic wounds, diabetic foot and gangrene developing conditions. The hepato-renal protective activity and hypo-lipidemic effect has been recently published. It is a blood purifying agent and a prophylactic in micro-angiopathy.
Phyllanthus emblica (Indian gooseberry)
Parts used: dry fruit, leaves, bark and root bark
This herb grows throughout India in deciduous forests and on hill slopes and cultivated in the plains. This is a small to medium sized tree, 8-18m in height with thin, light grey bark exfoliating in small, thin irregular flakes. The leaves are simple, subsessile, closely set along the branchlets, distichous, light green in color and having the appearance of pinnate leaves. The flowers are greenish yellow in axillary fascicles, unisexual; males numerous on short tender pedicles; females few, subsessile, with three celled ovaries. The fruits are globose, fleshy, pale yellow with six obscure vertical furrows, enclosing 6 trigonous seeds in 2-seeded, 3 crustaceous cocci. The small leaves are set in pinnate fashion, very closely. Fruits are 1.5-2.5cm in diameter.
Besides being a rich source of vitamin C, the herb is considered one of the best cardiac, neuro-hormonal and liver tonics [hepato-protective]. It has been scientifically proven that it modifies hepato-toxic and reno-toxic effects. In Ayurveda, based on its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity it has been accredited as a prophylactic medicine for preventing ophthalmic problems (that include retinopathy) and different diabetic conditions. It also has anti-aging and rejuvenating properties. The herb has gained scientific acceptance for having elements that support blood vessels, nerves at the cellular levels, and for improving the immunologic barrier as well as smooth maintenance of circulation and conduction of impulses.
Curcuma longa (Turmeric)
Parts used: dry rhizome
This herb is widely cultivated and available through- out India. It is a perennial herb, 60-90cm in height with a short stem and tufts of erect leaves. The rhizome is cylindrical, ovoid, orange-colored and branched. The leaves are very large, petioles as long as the blade, oblong, lanceolate, tapering to the base up to 45cm long. The flowers are pale yellow in spikes concealed by the sheathing petioles. The flowering bracts are pale green. It is a fleshy rooted herbaceous plant.
It has antiseptic, anti-bacterial abilities and anti-inflammatory properties. It is well-known as a powerful blood purifier. It helps in healing chronic wounds quickly particularly corneal wound healing. Recent research shows that it has atherogenesis prevention properties [anti-atherosclerotic effect]; is a good antioxidant; possesses immuno-modulatory and cytotoxic activity; inhibits aggregation and alters eicosanoid metabolism in human blood platelets; and also has hypolipidemic action. It is vascular supportive and useful in conditions where gangrene development is a possibility as in diabetic foot. The herb has a protective effect on liver damage. It has been prescribed since time immemorial in Ayurvedic medicine for controlling diabetic complications. Experimental evidence in rats shows that it inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effect.
Trigonella foenum-graceum (Fenugreek)
This herb grows wildly in Kashmir, Punjab and upper Gangetic plains. It is also cultivated in many other parts of India as a pot-herb. It is an aromatic, erect, annual plant 30-60cm in height. The leaves are pinnate, 3-6 folister while the leaflets are toothed. The flowers are white or yellowish white. The fruit pods are 5-7.5cm long with long persistent beaks, 10-20 per pod, greenish-brown along with a deep groove across one corner.
Trigonella has been known in Ayurveda to be the best anti-hyperglycemic herb and has been in use for more than 2000 years. It has been recently proven that this herb possesses anti-hyperglycemic properties. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory herb with anti-bacterial activity. It aids in toxic conditions and liver disorders. It also prevents tissue resistance and enhances intra-extra cellular transportation.
Rotula aquatica (Country borage)
Parts used: Root
This herb is available throughout India especially in the sandy and rocky beds of streams. It is a small shrub, much branched, 60-180cm in height having numerous lateral, short and arrested branchlets, which open roots. The leaves are simple, nearly rounded at the apex, more or less hairy, sessile and spatulate, and crowded at the branches. The flowers are pink, having short pedicellate, single or double on short, lateral branches. The fruits are sub-globose, orange in color, with drupes which are tipped with the remains of the style.
Diabetic nephropathy is one of the most common complications of tissue damage caused by diabetes. This herb is especially used for treating renal pathology such as diabetic nephropathy. The herb is also a powerful laxative and diuretic.
Syzygium cumini (black plum)
Parts used: bark, fruit, seeds and leaves
This herb is available throughout India. It is mostly seen in forests up to an elevation of 1800 meters, usually on river banks and moist areas and also cultivated as shade trees. It is a medium to large sized tree, 20-30cm in height, having smooth, light grey bark with dark patches, and simple leaves, opposite, variable in shape, 3cm wide and 10-15cm long. The flowers are greenish white or dull white, while the fruits are oblong or ovoid-oblong, dark purple with pinkish juicy pulp and one seeded. These seeds are round and strong. This is a tall and evergreen tree. The leaves are smooth, shining and long.
It is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb which helps in toxic conditions and disorders especially affecting the liver. It has been used as an anti-microbial prophylactic in alleviating infections associated with chronic diabetes. It also exhibits hypolipidemic effect. It diminishes tissue resistance and improves intra-extra-cellular transportation.
Terminalia bellerica (Belleric myrobalan)
Parts used: bark and fruits
This is a genus of 250 species from tropical regions of which 12 are native in India. It is seen throughout India in deciduous forests up to an elevation of 900 meters. It is a large, buttressed, deciduous tree with thick, brownish grey bark, having shallow longitudinal fissures, simple leaves, alternate, long petioles, crowded at the extremities of the branches, broadly elliptic, margins entire, prominent mid-rib on both surfaces. Leaves are alternate or sub-opposite, often with glands on the petiole or on the lower part of the mid-rib beneath. The flowers are in axillary spikes, longer than petioles. The fruits are ovoid, grey drupes, obscurely S-angled, narrowed into a very short stalk. Plants are propagated by seeds.
This herb provides symptomatic relief for polydipsia and works as a prophylactic in diabetic retinopathy. It also arrests general debility. It possesses rejuvenating properties particularly in arresting necrosis.
Terminalia chebula (Chebula myrobalan)
Parts used: dry fruit
This herb is available throughout India in deciduous forests on dry slopes up to 900 meters. It is a moderate to large sized tree, deciduous, rounded crown and spreading branches with ovate leaves. The flowers are elliptic or obovate and yellowish found in terminal spikes or short panicles. The fruits are glabrous, shining, ellipsoidal, the drupes are ovoid or obovoid, yellow to orange-brown in color, faintly angled, up to 4cm long. The seeds are hard and yellow while the leaves are covered with hairs. The fruit has specific segments.
It is a prophylactic for diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. It is an effective antidote for internal inflammatory conditions such as pancreatitis. It has rejuvenating properties and also reverses necrosis. Recent evidence shows that it has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, hypolipidemic and cardio-tonic properties. It has been demonstrated that it has anti-mutagenic activity in Salmonella typhimurium and reduces cholesterol- induced atherosclerosis in rabbits.
Tribulus terrestris (land caltrop)
Parts used: dry whole plant
It is a trailing and spreading herb, densely covered with minute hair, compound leaves, in opposite pairs, 3-6 leaflets up to 8cm long, usually silky flower, white or yellow and solitary, arising from the axils of leaves. The ovary is bristle, style short and stout. The fruits are globose, spinous or tuberculate and often cling to the bodies of animals. The trailing plant is common in sandy soil. The carpels of the fruits resemble a cow's cloven hoof. It is an annual or perennial prostrate herb with many slender spreading branches.
It is a powerful diuretic, tonic and aphrodisiac. It reduces inflammations, edema, urinary problems, impotence and painful micturition. It serves as a prophylactic for diabetic nephropathy and is supplementary in healing diabetes-induced impotence.