Diabetes is a major health concern in the U.S., with recent estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that more than 30 million Americans suffer from this disease. Patients who suffer from diabetes can fall under two main types, which are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, regardless of the type they are afflicted with, all diabetic patients exhibit elevated blood sugar levels due to a deficiency in insulin production.
Insulin is an important metabolic hormone produced by the pancreas that stimulates the uptake of sugar from the blood into the cells. Unfortunately, when there are insufficient levels of this hormone or when the body becomes resistant to it, sugar will remain in the blood. This can cause complications like cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, Alzheimer's, and skin problems.
To avoid the long-term complications of diabetes, it is important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. An important factor of this is regulating diet since the body contains enzymes that break down complex components in foods into compounds that can be absorbed by the body. One example of such enzyme is alpha-amylase, which converts starch into glucose.
Dog-rose is commonly used in Tunisia as a traditional remedy for the common cold, flu, gastrointestinal disorders, and infections. Meanwhile, it is used as folkloric medicine for hemorrhoids and diabetes in Turkey.
Previous studies have shown that the fruit of the dog-rose plant, which is known as rose hip, is rich in phytonutrients like vitamin C, tocopherols, carotenoids, phenolic, organic acids, sugars, and essential fatty acids. These compounds are attributed for the anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and anti-diabetic properties of the fruit. Unfortunately, there are limited studies regarding the composition and biological activity of the plant.
In this study, which was published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, the researchers collected extracts from dried dog-rose flowers and rose hips to determine their phytochemical profile since polyphenols are possibly involved in regulating blood sugar levels and alpha-amylase activity. Upon analysis, they found that the extracts are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids that have been associated with potent antioxidant activity.
To provide more evidence for their findings, the team conducted free radical scavenging and ferric reducing power assays that assess antioxidant activity. They also evaluated the ability of the extracts to inhibit alpha-amylase activity. The results of these experiments showed that dog-rose has potent antioxidant and alpha-amylase inhibitory activities, showing that it has the potential to delay starch digestion.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that dog-rose has potential use as a natural remedy for diabetes. Additionally, they suggested that diabetics should drink dog-rose infusions habitually to enjoy these benefits. (Related: From relieving pain to improving skin elasticity, here’s why rose hips are one of the best medicinal plants out there.)
By drinking dog-rose infusions, you can also enjoy the following health benefits:
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