Anti-diabetic agents: Pharmacognosy

Anti-diabetic agents: Pharmacognosy


Anti-diabetic agents: Pharmacognosy-

A disease that affects almost everyone, be it children, adults, pregnant women or even the geriatrics, is called diabetes. This is a familiar term to all of us as we have at least one member of our families affected by this. So what exactly is diabetes or the colloquially known “high blood sugar”?

We eat food to gain energy. And this is obtained from the carbohydrates which get metabolized to glucose in our body. Now, this glucose is what we commonly call as sugar. Normally, the insulin secreted by our pancreas metabolizes this glucose and maintains our blood sugar level.

But, when this metabolism gets impaired, the blood glucose level shoots up and we end up with diabetes. Generally, anti-diabetic agents like glipizide, insulin injections are available to keep diabetes in check. But, apart from this, there exists another group of natural remedies that favor diabetic patients. Let’s now quickly go through them.

Anti-diabetic agents: Pharmacognosy-

Pterocarpus or Indian kino tree:

The plant of this genus possessing antidiabetic action is Pterocarpus marsupium. Vertical incisions are made on the stem bark and the juice is collected and dried.

  • Occurrence:

This plant has been used to control diabetes as a part of the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India.  It belongs to a group of drugs called rasayana and has been in use since ancient times.

  • Distribution:

This plant is native to India and is commonly found in the hilly regions of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Orissa.

  • Organoleptic evaluation:

The macroscopic characters of the stem bark are:

  • Dark brown to ruby-red color
  • Odorless
  • Astringent taste
  • Pieces of the bark are angular, glistening and break with a vitreous fracture


  • Chemical constituents:

It contains kinotannic acid, kino-red, k-pyrocatechin, resin and gallic acid. The other constituents are santal, pterocarpin and homopterocarpin.

  • Chemical test for kino:

Solution of drug + Potassium hydroxide gives violet color


  • Therapeutic use:
  • Aqueous infusion of wood is used for treating diabetes
  • Cups made of the wood are also available
  • Treatment of passive hemorrhage toothache


Gymnema Sylvestre:

Anti diabetic

This plant is also known as Madhunashini or Gurmar, which means “sugar destroyer”. The leaves and extract of this plant interact with the taste receptors and temporarily anesthetizes the sweet taste buds.

  • Occurrence:

Herbalists have been using this plant for its anti-diabetic effect for the past 2,000 years. It is also a part of the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India.

  • Distribution:

This plant is found in Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, and Southern China.

  • Organoleptic evaluation:

The leaves have the following characteristics:

  • Green with a pleasant odor
  • Tasteless but when chewed paralyzes the tongue to a sweet and bitter taste
  • Elliptic with acuminate apex


  • Chemical constituents:

The active constituent is gymnemic acid. Others include pentriacontane, phytin, resin, mucilage, ionositol and d-quercitol.


  • Chemical test of Gymnema:

            Dilute solution anesthetizes the sweet taste buds


  • Therapeutic efficacy:
  • Hypoglycemic effect
  • Weigh-lowering effect
  • Stomachic
August 12, 2020

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