Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Garlic improves insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes, says IICT study

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 11: One may find it hard to connect the humble garlic with increasing the efficiency of insulin, but research by a team of scientists from the city-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology has revealed that raw garlic is the best natural medicine for type 2 diabetes.
Regular intake of raw garlic cloves will help in not only improving insulin sensitivity but also attenuating metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome relates to health problems like obesity, decreased power of insulin and those related to the heart. Raw garlic will thus also help in bringing down one's body weight.
"Our work is interesting as it recommends diabetics to consume raw garlic to reduce insulin resistance," says Dr Sanjay K Banerjee, scientist, Division of Pharmacology, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.
Stating that type 2 diabetes mellitus, characterised by peripheral insulin resistance, is a major lifestyle disorder of the 21st century, Dr Sanjay said it is for the first time that studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of raw garlic on insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes mellitus. Earlier, raw garlic has been reported to reduce plasma glucose levels in animal models of type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Dr Sanjay said the hypoglycemic (lowering sugar level) effect of garlic is due to the presence of allicin and sulphur compounds. The IICT-CSIR study showed that reduction of body weight gain after garlic consumption could be responsible for improving insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes.
"Raw garlic homogenate (grounded and mixed) has been the major preparation of garlic subjected to intensive scientific study, as because it is the commonest way of garlic consumption. Our study demonstrates that raw garlic homogenate is effective in improving insulin sensitivity while attenuating metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress," he pointed out.
Dr Sanjay's team comprised Raju Padiya, Tarak N Khatua, Pankaj K Bagul and Madhusudana Kuncha. They selected male Sprague Dawley rats and divided into three groups. One of the groups was fed with fructose as well as raw garlic for eight weeks. The rats fed with raw garlic showed significantly reduced serum glucose, insulin, triglyceride and uric acid levels, as well as insulin resistance.
Allicin is the major bioactive compound in raw garlic paste. When garlic is chopped or crushed, allinase enzyme, present in garlic, is activated and acts on alliin (present in intact garlic) to produce allicin. For best results one should take raw garlic as cooking it will inactivate the enzyme that converts alliin to allicin. However, garlic power can be used.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Holarrhena antidysenterica: Bitter oleander or Kutaja stops amoebic dysentery

Syed Akbar
Holarrhena antidysenterica is popularly known as Kutaja among Ayurveda doctors. As the name antidysenterica suggests, this herb has properties that fight against dysentery of all types including the one caused by Entamoeba histolytica. In English this herb is called Bitter oleander or dysentery rose. The bark and seeds of the plant are used for treatment of a number of ailments particularly those related to stomach and intestines. Holarrhena is a good appetizer too and helps in easy digestion of food.
This is an ancient herb and finds mention in ancient Ayurvedic texts written by Charaka. Since it is considered good for digestive system, extracts from Holarrhena are used for treatment of bleeding piles and diarrhea too. Practitioners of herbal medicine believe that Kutaja is a divine herb bestowed by the Almighty. The herb should be used in limited and prescribed quantity only.

Home remedies
Decoction obtained from bark is prescribed for killing harmful worms in the digestive tract. The decoction also gives relief from fever. Readymade capsules and tonics prepared from Kutaja are available in market for treatment of dysentery.
Take seeds and powder them in a grinder. Sieve it to obtain fine powder. It can be sprinkled on wounds for quick healing. Ayurvedic doctors use the seed powder of Holarrhena for dressing of wounds. Paste obtained from the bark of the plant can be used for relief from painful boils
It can also be taken as a general health tonic. Take a few grams of the bark of Holarrhena, wash it properly. Put it in a glass of water and boil it for 10 minutes to obtain decoction. Take a tablespoon of decoction twice a day for good health, and to fight stomach disorders and bleeding piles.