Tropical medicinal leaf may lower blood sugar levels

Leaf extracts of the tropical “water apple” plant may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to a study published in Food Chemistry.

Researchers from University of Malaya and Monash University in Malaysia found that the ethanolic extracts of the medicinal S. aqueum leaf are strong antihyperglycaemic agents.

They found that the leaf extracts were significantly more effective than the commercial drug acarbose in stabilizing blood sugar.

Specifically, the leaf extracts inhibited the carbohydrate hydrolysing enzymes alpha glucosidase and alpha amylase, both of which breakdown starch into sugars.

The leaf extracts also inhibited the key enzyme in the polyol pathway called aldose reductase, which is believed to cause diabetic complications in the nerves, eyes, and kidneys.

What's more, the researchers found that the leaf extracts prevent the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) by 89 percent. Evidence shows that AGEs play an important role in almost all diabetes complications, according to Diabetes Journal.

The study isolated six flavonoid compounds from the ethanolic leaf extracts. Two of the flavonoids, europetin-3-O-rhamnoside and phloretin, where highly effective in inhibiting alpha glucosidase and alpha amylase.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, new cases of blindness, and nontraumatic lower-limb amputations among adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The disease is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and is the seventh leading cause of death in the US.

Grown in tropical regions
Syzygium aqueum is grown in tropical regions like Malaysia, southern India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The tree requires low altitudes where there is steady rainfall throughout the year.

A species of brush cherry tree, the water apple is also known as “watery rose apple” or “water guava.”

The fruit of the water apple is pear shaped, shiny and crisp, with flesh that is white, light read or red. The bark of the tree is sometimes used in herbal medicines, while the leaves are edible and sometimes used to wrap food.

Sources: Food Chemistry, Diabetes Journal, Centers for Disease Control, Purdue University

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

”Metabolic memory” (less commonly known as ”hyperglycemic memory” or “legacy effect”) refers to the lingering effects of a long period of either...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...

The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 7 million people in the United States have diabetes but don’t know it yet. These people...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...