Traditional Indigenous Medicine for Diabetes Among the Natives of Madhya Pradesh, India

SN Dwivedi*1, Sangeeta Dwivedi1, Sumeet Dwivedi2, Abhishek Dwivedi3

1Department of Botany, Janata Post Graduate College, Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa (MP) India

2College of Pharmacy, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam University, Indore, (MP) – India

3Department of Pharmacy, RKDF University, Bhopal, (MP) – India

*Corresponding Author: SN Dwivedi, Department of Botany, Janata Post Graduate College, Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewa (MP) India, Tel: +91-9993218521; Fax: +91-9993218521; ,

Citation: SN Dwivedi, Sangeeta Dwivedi, Sumeet Dwivedi, Abhishek Dwivedi (2016) Traditional Indigenous Medicine for Diabetes Among the Natives of Madhya Pradesh, India. Pharmacol biomol res 1:102.

Copyright: © 2016 SN Dwivedi, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

Received date: November 02, 2016; Accepted date: December 23, 2016; Published date: December 26, 2016.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which prevents the body to utilize glucose, and results in raised glucose concentration in the blood. Synthetic allopathic drugs have only temporarily relief. It is not possible to cure the disease from root. However, traditional herbal medicine has some specific products and can help in proper functioning of hormone. These herbs have significant hyperglycaemic effect and enhanced the production of insulin by restoring the proper functioning of pancreas. An effort have been made to enumerate these herbs used by the tribal and rural people for the treatment of hyperglycaemic disorders along with their mode of preparation, dose, duration etc.


Indigenous medicine, Diabetes, Natives, Metabolic disorder, Madhya Pradesh


The word diabetes is derived from a Greek word that means to siphon or drain off and mellitus, a Latin word means sweet. Indeed, the most obvious sign of diabetes being excessive urination and the urine of a person with diabetes contains extra glucose (F=more than 70 – 110 & PP= more than 90 – 140 mg/100 ml of blood). It is a state in which homeostasis of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism is improperly regulated by insulin. This result primarily in elevated fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels. If this imbalanced homeostasis does not retain to normalcy and continue for a protracted period, it leds to hyperglycaemia that is due to course turns into a syndrome called diabetes mellitus.

Clinically, it occurs due to deficiency of insulin hormone, produced by b-cells of islets of langerhans. There are mainly two type of diabetes, i.e. type 1 (insulin dependent and type 2 (insulin independent). Discharge of large amount of glucose containing urine, increase hunger, great thrust and loss of body weight are some diagnostic symptoms of this disease. The ailment also weakness the body’s natural defence system and makes it more prone to infection by opportunistic germs. Tribal and rural people believe that hyperglycaemic disorder arises due to non or less secreting of insulin from the pancreas. Therefore, they prescribe the drugs which enhance the proper secretion of hormone and utilization of excess glucose in the blood.

Diabetes mellitus is an oldest disease known to mankind. However, the disease was well documented in Indian literatures like Sushruta Samhita (600 BC) and Charaka Samhita (1000 BC) and subsequent works refer to this disease under the term madhueha. Excellent work towards the herbs used in the treatment of various human ailments has been obtained from the different part of our country. Obviously, equivalent work on the herbs used to cure hyperglycaemic disorders and proper secretion of insulin among the natives of Madhya Pradesh has not been done, except some published reports [1-8]. Moreover, a number of anti-diabetic herbs have been screened for their biological activity in both in-vitro and in-vivo assays to validate the clinical therapeutic effects [9]. The present study aims to create awareness towards the anti-diabetic herbs and draw attention of pharmacologists, researchers and phytochemists to investigate its bioactive constituents and biological assays to formulate the new herbal drugs for treatment of both type of diabetes.


Thirty tribal localities were explored from 1.7.2015 to 30.6.2016 and information on anti-diabetic herbal drugs was gathered from tribal physicians and knowledgeable medicine men of various age and sex group. Voucher specimens were collected from different study sites and were identified with the assistance of State Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur (M.P.). Cross verification of the specimens were done with the help of relevant literature [10,11] and voucher specimens are deposited in Ethnobotanical Research Laboratory, Department of Botany, Janata Post- Graduate College, A.P.S. University, Rewa (M.P.). Method of preparation and mode of administration of the drug along with their dose, duration etc. were also obtained by the inhabitants, folk healers, tribal physicians and rural vaidyas.

Prescriptions and Treatment

For the treatment of diabetes following herbal prescriptions have been recommended:

1.The following herbs and their parts are used to prepare an oral powder

Botanical Name

Common Name

Parts used

Amount (gm)

Coriandrum sativum L.





Mucuna priens (L.) DC.




Eugenia jambolana L.




Tinospora cordifolia (L.) Merr.





Trigonella foenum-greacum L.





Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal.





Zingiber officinale Rosc.





A fine powder of the above herbs is made by grinding them together in a grinder. Two teaspoonful of this powder is to be taken twice in a day before meal till the glucose concentration in the blood comes up to normal level.

 2. In another prescription they suggested the fresh parts of following herbs to prepare an herbal drink:

Botanical Name

Common Name

Parts used

Amount (No./gm)

Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr.




Andrographis paniculata (Brum. F.) Wall. ex Nees.




Annona squamosa L.




Azadirachta indica A. Juss.




Boerhaavia difussa L.


Whole plant

20 (g)

Ocimum sanctum.L.




Piper nigrum L.





The exact amount of fresh parts of herbs crushed alongwith five seeds of kalimircha by adding 50 ml of drinking water, filtered it and recommended every morning on empty stomach. It is an excellent remedy to reduce the blood sugar up to normal level.

3. The leaves of Cathranthes roseus (Sadabahar) and Enicostema hysopifoliuum (Nahi) have possess anti-diabetic properties. Tribal and rural physicians prescribe fresh leaf juice (10:10 ml before meal, twice daily) to control the excess glucose in the blood. The treatment should be continuing up to the normal level.

4. About 10 gm leaf powder of Gymnema sylvestre (Gurmar) with 50 ml juice of fresh Momordica charantia (Kerela) before both meal is a native remedy for hyperglycemia. Fatty and spicy diet along with sugar containing fruits and meal should not be taking during the course of treatment. However, sprouted t grains and the diet rich in proteins, fibres and carbohydrates is recommended.

5. The natives suggested 50 ml juice prepared by taking 10 fresh leaves of Annona sqamosa (Sitafal) every morning on empty stomach to control the level of glucose in the blood.

6. The rural physicians come across the modern world recommended stevia (3-5 leaves during meal) as an alternative to sugar. It has anti-diabetic effect and lowers the high blood glucose levels in both type of diabetes.


Results and Discussion

The herbs used in the treatment of diabetes are common, easily available and cheaper. The method of preparation and mode of administration of drug is very simple and convenient. The tribal and rural people below poverty status can also afford the treatment. They believe that most of the ills and sickness are due to evil spirits and often seek the aid of magical practices and religious rites. However, they have adequate knowledge of herbal remedies and have deep faith on it.

Hyperglycemic disorder occurs due to the deficiency of insulin hormone, resulting increase of glucose level in the blood. Herbal medicine obtained from various valuable plants occurring in and around the tribal huts has better solution for this disease [12] Aegle marmelos (Bel), a sacred and religious plant is very commonly used in digestive and urinary complaints. The active constitute of the fruit is marmorosin. Due to presence of alkaloids, coumarins, sterols and aegelin it is best of all laxatives and used in diarrhoea and dysentery. The leaves contain skimianinc, sterol and aegelin and have anti-dibiatic properties [13]. Azadirachta indica (Margosa) played a key role in folk medicine. The bitter constituent separated from this plant is nimbin, which is traditionally used for treating cardiac and hepatic complaints and also as a barrier contraceptive of tribals. The main active principle of seed oil is nimbidin, which contain sulphur and have been found to possess anti- fertility activity by various routes. Scientific investigations revealed its anti –pyretic, anti-fertility and hypoglycemic activities [12,14]. Panchang of Boerhaavia diffusa (Punarnaba) have been used in several preparations has also found wide acceptance in modern medicine as a diuretic and laxative herb, due to presence of large quantities of potassium salts. The herb contains a crystalline acid known as boerhavic acid. Besides, potassium nitrate and a brown mass containing of tannins, phlobaphens and reducing sugar have been also reported [15]. The active principle is alkaloid punnaravine. Whole plant of this herb has also been  used to control the excess glucose in the blood [7]. Seeds of Mucuna puriens (Kemanch) are used to treat sexual impotency and male sterility has been found to have stimulatory effect on semen formation. It also increases the peristaltic movement of intestine; maintain blood pressure and control heart beat [11]. It has been found to have hypoglycemic effect and prescribed for the treatment of diabetes [16].

A sacred and religious herb Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) grown in most Hindu homes, is a native remedy for pyrexia, earache, measles, dental, pulmonary and skin complaints, due to its antibiotic, antipyretic and antibacterial activities. The leaves yield an essential oil which contain eugenol, carvacrol, methyl eugenol, cryophyllene, urosolic acid, apigenin, luteolin,glucuronid, orientin and molludistin. The leaves are immunomodulting and possess an excellent anti-diabetic properties [17]. Tinosprora cordifolia (Giloya) is known as amrita, is a very popular herbal drug used in several complaints including general debility, malaria, diabetes, jaundice, gynaecological and joint diseases. Gupta [2] has recognized about favorable indigenous insulin secretion and glucose uptake of the drug. Antiviral and antibacterial activity of the herb has been reported [18]. The seeds of Trigonella foenum-greacum (Fenugreek) are carminative and prescribed in abdominal disorders, viz., indigestion, flatulence, sluggish liver. Also quite useful in treating rthritis, low backache, sciatica and muscular pains. Recent clinical trials confirming that methi seeds and leaves possess good anti-diabetic properties [19,20] and have inspired the pharmaceutical companies to come up with many new herbo-mineral combinations which contain methi in suitable forms.

Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) is a magic herb used by the tribals and rural people. They mention it invariably in all prescriptions, calling devine gift. It is used in several combinations for the treatment of general debility, respiratory and urinary ailments. Excellent medicinal properties are due to presence of alkaloid sominiferinewith glycosides and amino acids. Recent experiments have shown that its roots posses antibiotic, antibacterial, immune-modulaing and ati-hyperglycemic properties [21]. Almost all part of Momordica charanta including fruits and seeds [22,23] and seeds of Eugenia jambolana [24]have possess anti-diabitic activityLikewise, the leaves of Andrographis paniculata, Annona squamosa,Cathranthes roseusEnicostema hysopifoliuumGymnema sylvestre, and the seeds ofCoriandrum sativum, and Piper nigrum have long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of hyperglycaemic disorders [25,26]. Antihyperglycemic effect of Stevia rebudiana was observed [27]. Obviously, stevioside may increase the insulin secretion in part of production of gene involve in glycolysis [28].

It has been realized that medicinal herbs are going to play a very important role in future health care system. Most of modern researches on herbal medicine have hinged around traditional folklore medicine [29]. We stand today at the crossroad of ancient traditions and modern advancement with regards to medicine. The modern medicine has brought it host of drug, none of which is non-toxic and hundred percentages safe for us and some of them even causes irreversible damage to our body system. It has also no answer to some the diseases ailing the humanity. On the contrary the herbal medicines are safe, without any toxic effect and have answer for dreaded diseases too.


The authors express their deep sense of gratitude to traditional medicine men and elderly knowledgeable person of the remote localities for providing valuable information’s pertaining to anti-diabetic herbs during the course of present investigation.


  1. Aiman R (1961) Indigenous anti-diabetic substance of plant origin. Indian J. of Pharmacology 23: 115.
  2. Gupta SS, Verma SC, Garg VP, Rai M (1967) Anti-diabetic effects of Tinospora cardifolia. I. Effect on fasting blood sugar level, glucose tolerance and adrenaline induced hyperglycaemia. Indian J Med Res 55: 733-745. [crossref] 
  3. Dhar ML (1971) Some aspects of research on medicinal plants of India. Eastern Pharmacist, 25-29.
  4. Bhargawa BK (1986) A note on use of neem (Azadirachta indica) as anti-hyperglycaemic agent in human volunteers of secondary diabetes. J. Vet. Physiol & AlliedSci 5: 45-48.
  5. Bailey CJ, Day C (1989) Traditional plant medicines as treatments for diabetes. Diabetes Care 12: 553-564. [crossref] 
  6. Dwivedi SN (2004) Herbal remedies among the tribals of Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot 28: 675-687.
  7. Dwivedi SN, Dwivedi Abhishek, Dwivedi Sumeet (2009) Status and utilisation of medicinal plants in Shahdol district, Madhya Pradesh, India, Part 1. NutraCos (Milano-Italy) 8: 28-31.
  8. Ong KW, Hsu A, Song L, Huang D, Tan BK (2011) Polyphenols-rich Vernonia amygdalina shows anti-diabetic effects in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol 133: 598-607. [crossref] 
  9. Gupta SS (1994) Prospects and perspectives of natural plant products in medicine. Indian J. Pharmacology 26: 5-9.
  10. Oommachan M, Shrivastava JL (1996) Flora of Jabalpur. Scientific Publisher. Jodhpur.
  11. Jain SK (1994) Ethnobotany and research on medicinal plants in India. Ciba Found Symp 185: 153-164. [crossref] 
  12. Shukla R, Singh S, Bhandari GR (1973) Preliminary clinical trials on antidiabetic action of Azadirachta indica. Medicine Surg 11-12.
  13. Anonymous (1986) Phytochemcial Investigation of Certain Medicinal Plants used in Ayurveda. CCRAS, New Delhi.
  14. Pillay LR, Santhakumari G (1981) Hypoglycaemic and antipyretic activities of Azadirachta indica Linn. (Neem) India J. Pharma 13: 91-92.
  15. Abraham Z, Bhakuni DS, Garg HS, Goel AK, Mehrotra BN, et al. (1986) Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: Part XII. Indian J Exp Biol 24: 48-68. [crossref] 
  16. Akhatar MS, Qureshi AQ, Iqbal T (1990) Hypoglycemic evaluation of Mucuna puriensL. J. Pak Med Asso 40: 142-150.
  17. Chopra RN, Naiyar SL, Chopra IC (1982) Indigenous Drugs of India. Academic Publication, Calcutta.
  18. Husain A, Visamani OP Popli, SP Misra, LN Gupta, MN Srivastava, et al. (1992) Dictionary of Indian Medicinal Plants. CIMAP, Lucknow.
  19. Sharma RD (1986) Efect of fenugreek seeds and leaves on blood glucose and srrum insulin responses in human. Nutrition Res 6: 1354-1356.
  20. Bakhru HK (1998) Herbs that Heal: Natural Remedies for Good Health. Orient Paper Backs, New Dehli.
  21. Desai HK (1973) Chemical investigation of some Indian plants, Part VII. Indian J. Chem 11: 840
  22. Achrekar S, Kaklij GS, Pote MS, Kelkar SM (1991) Hypoglycemic activity of Eugenia jambolana and Ficus bengalensis: mechanism of action. In Vivo 5: 143-147. [crossref] 
  23. Grover JK, Yadav SP (2004) Pharmacological actions and potential uses of Momordica charantia: a review. J Ethnopharmacol 93: 123-132. [crossref] 
  24. Ali L, Khan AK, Mamun MI, Mosihuzzaman M, Nahar N, et al. (1993) Studies on hypoglycemic effects of fruit pulp, seed, and whole plant of Momordica charantia on normal and diabetic model rats. Planta Med 59: 408-412. [crossref] 
  25. Grover JK, Yadav S, Vats V (2002) Medicinal plants of India with anti-diabetic potential. J Ethnopharmacol 81: 81-100. [crossref] 
  26. Wadkar KA, Magdum CS, Patil SS, Nikwadi NS (2008) Antidiabetic potential of Indian Medicinal Plants. J. Herbal Med. Toxicol 2: 45-50.
  27. Gregersen S, Jeppesen PB, Holst JJ, Hermansen K (2004) Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects. Metabolism 53: 73-76. [crossref] 
  28. Jeppesen PB, Gregersen S, Rolfsen SE, Jepsen M, Colombo M, et al. (2003) Antihyperglycemic and blood pressure-reducing effects of stevioside in the diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rat. Metabolism 52: 372-378. [crossref] 
  29. Said Hakim Mohd (1983) The potential of herbal medicine in modern medical therapy. Hamdard 26: 3-25.