For the study, a team of researchers at Al-Azhar University and Misr International University in Egypt investigated four groups of mice: a control group; a group of healthy mice treated with common purslane extract at a daily dose of 250 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for four weeks; an alloxan-induced diabetic control group; and an alloxan-induced diabetic group pretreated with common purslane extract at a daily dose of 250 mg/kg for four weeks.
The research team measured the body weight, food consumption, blood serum levels of glucose, C peptide, glycated hemoglobin (Hb A1C), insulin, tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) and interleukin (IL)-6 of all mice in all groups.
Based on the results, the pretreatment of common purslane extract in the diabetic mice group resulted in great decreases in blood sugar levels. Histopathological tests also showed significant improvement in the damaging effect of the alloxan induction on pancreatic islet cells. As a result, the improved β-cell number and size, which are important targets in the management of diabetes, resulted in better insulin secretion and better glycemic control.
The research team also observed significant decreases in Hb A1C levels, which suggested that the total blood sugar levels were being more efficiently regulated because of the enhancements in insulin secretion. In addition, pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-6, which are key factors in the progression of insulin resistance, were reduced in the mice pretreated with common purslane extract. These caused significant increases in C peptide and insulin, compared to the levels in counterpart diabetic mice group.
In conclusion, the findings of the study suggested that common purslane can help prevent diabetes by increasing β-cell mass, which in turn improved glucose metabolism.
The common purslane plant is native to Persia, Africa, and India, but has now spread into Europe, Central America, and South America. This herb tends to grow in slightly damp or dry soil in vacant areas. It has tear-shaped leaves, yellow flowers, and slightly reddish-colored stem. This herb is also edible, with a slightly sour but sweet taste. Common purslane can be used in cooking, such as in salads, stir-fry dishes, soups, pickles, potato dishes, and casseroles. (Related: The incredible health benefits of purslane, a common edible garden weed.)
Although common purslane may just be a weed to some people, this plant is actually packed with nutritional value. In fact, it is considered as a “superweed.” Below is a list of nutrients that common purslane provides:
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