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Some herbs can fight killer oxygen

A research says the anti-oxidative effect of some of the herbs has been proved along with their role as hypoglycemic agents – one that reduces the blood glucose level, reports Gaurav Saigal.

india Updated: May 04, 2007 20:25 IST

Good oxygen keeps you stay alive and the bad oxygen is one of the major killers. Doctors call the latter oxidative stress.

A research by the Department of Biochemistry, King George's Medical University (KGMU) claims to have found four herbs (neem, garlic, bitter gourd and tulsi) which kill the bad oxygen and save the patients. The attack of toxic form of oxygen is pronounced in diabetic patients and this research can prove to be a breakthrough.

The research finding says that anti-oxidative effect of some of the herbs has been proved along with their role as hypoglycemic agents – one that reduces the blood glucose level.

The paper, accepted in a international journal Nutrition Research, deals with prevention of diabetes related problems like damage to eyes (retinopathy), kidney (nephropathy) and body vessels (vasculopathy) that happen in a diabetic person in the long run.

"All previous researches concentrated on the hypoglycemic character of herbs. But, we intended to go further and look into the anti-oxidative effects of some other herbs which can protect body organs of a diabetic patient, occurring from oxidative stress," said Dr Abbas Ali Mahdi, a senior faculty at the department. The research included particular herbs like Allium sativum (garlic), Azadirachta indica (neem), Momordica charantia (bitter gourd or karela) and Ocimum sanctum (tulsi) to evaluate their anti-oxidative effect along with hypoglycemic character.

Diabetes was induced in male albino Sprague-Dawley rats through streptozotocin and confirmed by fasting glucose. Then the herbs were used to treat these animals.

What we concluded is that continuous use of these herbs in normal diet will be beneficial in the long run. They can prevent diabetes, as a body rich with hypoglycemic agents and anti-oxidants would be able to balance the glucose level.

Apart from controlling diabetes in a patient these agents will also be useful in minimising damage to tissues leading to development of retinopathy, neuropathy, vasculopathy and nephropathy, said Dr Mahdi.

The mode of action of these agents appears to be reduction of hepatic gluconeogenesis — decreased absorption of glucose from the gastrointestinal tract, and increased insulin sensitivity. These hypoglycemic agents work at some extra-cellular site to stimulate insulin secretion and also enhance duodenal insulin releasing agent, he explained.

Diabetes is the single most important metabolic disease, which can affect nearly every organ system in the body and still remains one of the major killers of our time. It has been projected that 300 million individuals would be affected with diabetes by the year 2025. In India, it is estimated that presently over 25 million individuals are affected by this deadly disease, which is likely to go up to 75 million by the year 2025, said Dr Mahdi.

He said the rate of growth in the number of diabetic patients indicates that complimentary problems in organs could create more difficulties.

"Since diabetes is catching up people at a young age also, the impact upon organs may reduce their performance when they enter their peak performance age between 35 to 45 years," he said.

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