Study looks at anti-diabetes properties of a barberry plant native to Africa
02/06/2019 // Rita Winters // Views

Type 2 diabetes is a public health concern in many areas around the world, especially with its high morality rates. To manage this condition, healthcare professionals usually turn to conventional drugs which are often too expensive and have adverse effects. In a recent study published in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism, researchers from Kenya have found that Berberis holstii contains anti-diabetic properties which may lead to alternative ways to treat the disease, aside from common medications.

The plant is a spiny evergreen shrub that is indigenous to Africa. Traditionally, its roots are used by locals as a medicine against ailments such as coughs, pneumonia, malaria, stomachaches, and sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). For the study, the researchers treated rats with both oral and intraperitoneal (abdominal injection) administrations of B. holstii root extracts.

Researchers found that the blood glucose of the animals who were treated by B. holstii was significantly reduced by up to 30 percent. The phytochemicals within the root extract had anti-diabetic properties and contained tannins, flavonoids, saponins, phenols, and alkaloids, which were all detected using standard chemical determination procedures. The findings also revealed that both the oral intake and intraperitoneal administration of the root extract resulted in reduced the blood sugar levels. According to the researchers, the root extract could be used as an alternative in place of prescription drugs for diabetes, after further research has been done to further explore the other benefits of B. holstii.


Other plants and foods that have anti-diabetes properties

There are other plants and foods that have anti-diabetes properties, which can be considered as an alternative for expensive (and risky) prescriptions for diabetes.

  • Fatty fish – Salmon, sardines, herring, and anchovies have omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart, reduce inflammation, and increase the metabolic rate of diabetics.
  • Leafy greens – Spinach, kale, and other green leafy vegetables have a high vitamin and mineral content, as well as vitamin C, which is known to reduce inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar levels, especially for people with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Cinnamon – This spice reduces hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term blood sugar levels. It is also known to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Eggs – Consumption of eggs reduces the risk of heart disease and increases insulin sensitivity. Eggs are also known to increase good cholesterol (HDL) and modify bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body.
  • Chia Seeds – These seeds are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, and has viscous fibers that lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food is absorbed by your body.
  • Turmeric – The wonder spice contains curcumin, known to reduce blood sugar levels as well as inflammation while protecting your body from heart and kidney diseases.

Other foods to consider include Greek yogurt, nuts, broccoli, extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseeds, apple cider vinegar, strawberries, squash, and Shirataki noodles, as these are good additions to anti-diabetes diet. Not only do these foods have hypoglycemic properties, but can provide the person with more health benefits than conventional medicines. (Related: Eat more artichokes! Their leaves contain powerful compounds that protect you from diabetes.)

Learn more about other foods that prevent diabetes by visiting

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