Friday, July 27, 2007

Promising native plant from Sri Lanka and India lowers type-2 diabetes

Fri, 2007-07-20 05:11 Colombo, 20 July ( A native plant popularly known as "Kothala Himbutu" among Lankan Ayurvedic practioners and "Ponkoranti" by Tamil Ayurvedic practitioners, has now been scientifically proven to "lower acute glycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes."
According to the latest American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "the extract of Salacia oblonga lowers acute glycemia and insulinemia in persons with type 2 diabetes after a high-carbohydrate meal." The experiments were conducted by Jennifer A Williams, Yong S Choe, Michael J Noss, Carl J Baumgartner and Vikkie A Mustad. They have concluded "the results from this study suggest that Salacia may be beneficial to this population for postprandial glucose control."
"Kothala Himbutu" / "Ponkoranti", scientifically Salacia oblonga (alternatively Salacia reticulata) is a woody plant found in the forests of Sri Lanka and India. The roots and stems of Salacia Oblonga are used extensively in Aryuveda for the treatment of Diabetes. Its roots too are used for Ayurvedic medicine, but are "acrid and bitter." The study is published in the latest American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 1, 124-130, July 2007.
The summary / extract of it given below in full:
Extract of Salacia oblonga lowers acute glycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes1,2,3,4
Jennifer A Williams, Yong S Choe, Michael J Noss, Carl J Baumgartner and Vikkie A Mustad
1 From the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, Columbus, OH (JAW, YSC, and VAM); Radiant Research, Cincinnati, OH (MJN), and Radiant Research, Edina, MN (CJB)
Background : Two previous studies tested the efficacy of Salacia oblonga extract in healthy adults.
Objective: This study evaluated the effect of an herbal extract of Salacia oblonga on postprandial glycemia and insulinemia in patients with type 2 diabetes after ingestion of a high-carbohydrate meal.
Design: Sixty-six patients with diabetes were studied in this randomized, double-blinded crossover study. In a fasted state, subjects consumed 1 of the following 3 meals: a standard liquid control meal, a control meal + 240 mg Salacia oblonga extract, and a control meal + 480 mg Salacia oblonga extract. Serum glucose and insulin samples were measured at baseline and at postprandial intervals up to 180 min.
Results: Both doses of the Salacia extract significantly lowered the postprandial positive area under the glucose curve (14% for the 240 mg extract and 22% for the 480 mg extract) and the adjusted peak glucose response (19% for the lower dose and 27% for the higher dose of extract) to the control meal. In addition, both doses of the herbal extract significantly decreased the postprandial insulin response, lowering both the positive area under the insulin curve and the adjusted peak insulin response (14% and 9%, respectively, for the 240 mg extract; 19% and 12%, respectively, for the 480 mg extract) in comparison with the control meal.
Conclusions: The extract of Salacia oblonga lowers acute glycemia and insulinemia in persons with type 2 diabetes after a high-carbohydrate meal. The results from this study suggest that Salacia may be beneficial to this population for postprandial glucose control.

Source: Yahoogroup: Ayurvedfriends

Read more about Useful Ayurvedic Herbs for Diabetes

Monday, July 02, 2007

Expiration date of ayurvedic medicines

There are a number of half-truths about ayurveda floating around. "Ayurvedic medicines do not have an expiration date" is one such half-truth.
The concept of expiration date for medicines used in modern medicine arises from the fact that after a certain time, the substances undergo a change which makes them either uneffective or toxic.
At the time when the major texts on ayurveda were written the practice was to consume the medication immediately after preparation.
A majority of the medicines were in the form of decoctions, pastes, medicated oils and medicated ghees.
Over a period of time bhasma of metals and other inorganic substances began to be used mainly due to the fact that they were effective in small doses.
This branch was called as Rasa-Shastra and preparation of mercury and sulphur was the base of this science.
Besides the efficacy in small doses these medicines also became widely used as they could be stored for a longer time and hence there was never the question of what to do if a particular substance (plant) was not available.
A majority of medicnes in Rasa-Shastra can be utilised a long time after their preparation and hence can be termed as not having an expiration date.
However in plant based medicine the picture changes. As mentioned before it was never expected that a medicine would be prepared and used even the next day, so there was no question about thinking about expiration both in terms of loss of efficacy or toxicity.
But with change in time the need to prepare and store medicines need to be felt. Those who were uncomfotable with rasa-shastra medicines (there are many ayurvedic practioners even today who never use rasa-shastra medicines, not out of fear of the brouhaha caused over metals in medicines but because they consider it to be inferior to plant based medicines) and used only plant based preparations had to resort to powder form and their variants like mashi (coal preparations), guti (small tablets), vati (medium size tablets), guggul (a medicinal substance which also acts as an adhesive) etc.
Since many of these are plant based it is unlikely that they will turn toxic after a certain period of time, but they will surely loose their efficacy.
So if a person has a doubt whether a one year old choorna will work or not, he is loosely told "dont worry, there is no expiry date for ayurvedic medicine".
While this may be true that it wont cause any harm, it is most certain that a one year old powder will not show the desired result.
There is an entire chapter in Sharangdhara Samhita where the efficacy period of various medicnes is mentioned. This can be taken to mean expiration period for the same.
Having said that, there are only 3 types of ayurvedic medicines which do not have an expiration period.
First is ofcourse the bhasmas as explained above. Second is medicated ghees and third is asava/arishtha preparation (alcholic preparation).
Infact it is said that the older the ghee or asava/arishtha the more efficient it is. This ofcourse takes into account the fact that they are properly and hygenically stored. However many unscrupulous alter this information to say that all ayurvedic medicnes fit the bill.
I have had many ayurvedic medical representatives explaining to me why I should use their dated products using this argument.
So for the record :-
1) Ayurvedic medicines do have an expiration period in the sense that the become ineffective after a certain amount of time. This period may be as short as 4 hours for freshly prepared decoction to around 2 years for properly prepared and stored tablet forms. Even medicated oils should not be used if they emit a stale odour.
2) Only bhasmas, ghees and asava/arishta have no expiration period.
3) Ghees and asava/arishta if prepared and stored properly increase in efficacy over a period of time.
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