Eryngium carlinae, commonly known in mexico as ‘hierba de sapo’ (toad’s herb), is a wild plant that is broadly distributed in Mexico and Centro America and is used traditionally as infusion among local populations to treat kidney diseases, gastrointestinal problems, chest congestion, among others.
Now a research conducted at the Institute of Chemical Biology of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo has shown scientifically the medical effects of Eryngium carlinae, including reducing the consequences of diabetes mellitus.
Study leader Dr. Francisco Alfredo Saavedra Molina along with his master’s and doctoral students collected samples of Eryngium carlinae when is in bloom to analyze the chemical compounds of the plant’s leaves, stems and flowers.
The investigators soaked the samples in different types of solvents, including water (like the traditional infusion), alcohol, acetone, chloroform, hexane and ethyl acetate.
The researchers obtained an extract from the samples macerated in alcohol and hexane, which contained compounds such as terpenes and sesquiterpenes (widely known for their antioxidant effects). Then, the extract was applied to rat models of diabetes for 40 days, to study its medical potential.
Dr. Saavedra Molina explained that high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) cause damage to organs such as kidneys or brain, which rely on insulin for glucose to enter their cells. When cells are saturated of sugar, reactions such as oxidative stress occur. This is caused by free radicals, highly reactive chemical species which destroy the organic compounds of cell, such as DNA and lipids that are part of the membrane, leading to cell disruption in chain reaction.
The study showed that the rats that were treated with the plant’s extract had a lower organ damage caused by oxidative stress than control rats. Furthermore, the extract did not have a hyperglycemic effect, i.e. does not raise blood glucose.
In addition, it was found that Eryngium carlinae increases levels of lipids in cells, in particular high-density cholesterol (good cholesterol) while decreases low-density cholesterol (bas cholesterol), as well as decreases triglycerides, creatinine and uric acid.
The researches think that their research opens the possibility to a future application of these compounds in the treatment of diabetes mellitus in humans. While “we will not cure diabetes by reduce hyperglycemia, we will improve the quality of life of patients,” said Saavedra Molina.
To complete this study is necessary to analyze the immune system of the rats that receive this treatment, and know its effects in other organs and tissues such as the liver and heart.
Source: Agencia ID