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Why hog plum lowers blood sugar in diabetics
As an adult, the sweet-smelling spondias mombin may not appeal to you and the fruit spread made with it, might be more of a delicacy for children, but, that is not all about spondias mombin, a multipurpose tree whose uses span from food to drug.
Spondias mombin, commonly called hog plum, “iyeye” (Yoruba) or “iyawe” (Hausa) is a medium –sized tree found on farmlands around towns and villages and widely cultivated for its yellow pleasantly plum like fruits. The fruits are usually prepared with sugar or sugarcane juice into jams, juices, and ice creams to counteract its tartness.
It is used by herbalists in the South Western part of Nigeria to treat intestinal disorders, particularly those associated with typhoid, diarrhea, constipation and dysentry and it is also a component of traditional recipe for tuberculosis and diabetes.
Hog plum is widely relied on for various herbal remedies, as virtually every part of the tree is useful — from its thick corky bark, to its leaves, fruits, and roots, to even its flowers. Usually different properties and actions are attributed to different parts of the tree.
In South American herbal medicine systems, as well as in other parts of the world, hog plum leaves are a common midwife’s remedy to help induce labor, reduce bleeding and pain during and after childbirth. It is assoused to bring on the flow of breast milk, and as a vaginal wash, to prevent or treat uterine or vaginal infections after childbirth.
Experts have also substantiated the usefulness of the leaves for numerous microbial problems, including colds and flu, sore throats, herpes, yeast infections, eye and ear infections, as well as externally treating infected wounds, cuts, burns, and rashes.
The leaves are also considered to be an excellent worm expeller and are often used for intestinal worms and parasites in humans, as well as their livestock. The bark of the hog plum tree is considered useful for arthritis, rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, injuries, tonsillitis, malaria, snakebite and ulcer
In a new study on hog plum, researchers looked into the usefulness of its leaves for the treatment of diabetes and found that it was helpful in decreasing blood sugar under laboratory conditions.
This was a study entitled: “Hypoglycaemic and amylase inhibitory activities of leaves of spondias mombin” and published in the 2009 edition of the African Journal of Medicine and Medicinal Sciences. It involved Dr. A.A Fred-Jaiyesimi from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sagamu, Ogun State; Dr. M.R Wilkins from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom and Dr. K. A. Abo from the University of Ibadan.
The study involved preparing the extract of macerating leaves of hog plum tree with methanol and then injected this into diabetic rats. Some other rats kept under the same laboratory conditions were used as a control for the study.
The researchers found out that the prepared extract from the hog plum leaves at concentration of 1g/kg exhibited blood-sugar lowering activity in the glucose-loaded rats with high blood sugar levels. A significant decrease of blood glucose level of 31.9 per cent was observed at 60 minutes.
In addition, a significant reduction of blood glucose was recorded for the diabetic rats, achieving a reduction of 42.4 per cent at 180 minutes. They wrote: “Significant sustained anti-diabetic activity was observed from 30 minutes of administration of plant extract. Peak reduction of blood glucose of 41.4 per cent and 40.9 per cent were recorded at 60 minutes and 120 minutes respectively.”
They pointed out that the chemical substance in the hog plum leaves that made it helpful in lowering the blood sugar level was similar to that in momordica Charantia (bitter melon), locust bean seeds, cashew and Ficus glomerata (cluster fig), also plants found helpful for management of diabetes.
According to them, “it appears that spondias mombin extracts could hold important therapeutic potential for diabetic patients since the extract also showed ability to significantly lower blood cholesterol and protein levels of the diabetic rats. This study justifies the use of these leaves in recipes for the management of diabetes.”
Previously, a research group administered the leaves (2 doses of 500 mg per kg in body weight) to sheep with confirmed intestinal worms and reported that it reduced fecal egg counts by 54 per cent for tread worm, 65 per cent for nodular worm, and 100 per cent for whip worm. They also reported it directly killed these parasites in their test tube studies.
The bark and/or stem bark of hog plum have also been studied by scientists. The bark was reported to inhibit human rotovirus by 82 per cent in vitro which might explain its long standing use for diarrhea.
University researchers in Nigeria reported in 2002 that rats fed with hog plum bark had a much lower rate of tumor incidence over the control group when fed a cancer-causing diet and reported that the extract from its bark can protect against development of cancer in animal studies.
In 2002, a U.S. patent was filed on a cosmetic product that contained an extract of hog plum leaves. In the patent, the French researchers indicated that hog plum leaves had de-pigmenting, antioxidant, anti-aging, cellular metabolism stimulation, and sunscreen effects for the skin.
However, there is a word of caution. These leaves traditionally used as a childbirth aid to induce labor and as an abortive should not be used in pregnant women. While no animal or human studies support this traditional use as a contraceptive, women seeking to become pregnant should probably avoid use of this plant. In addition, the leaves contain salicylic acid derivatives and so people that are allergic or sensitive to aspirin or salicylic acid should avoid its use.Share
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