Insulin Plant (Costus Ingneus) Ayurvedic Medicinal HerbsInsulin plant (Costus ingneus) is a relatively new entrant to Kerala and India. The plant is a late entrant to Kerala Ayurvedic medicinal herb scene mostly from USA. Insulin plant has not got a Malayalam name yet, except the occasional use of insulin chedy or insulin chedi, where chedy means a plant. The catchphrase of this plant is Â‘a leaf a day keeps diabetes awayÂ’.
The plant is characterized by large fleshy looking leaves. It grows very quickly. Propagation is by stem cutting. It grows in slightly shady areas.
Diabetes Patients are advised to chew down a leaf in the morning and one in the evening for a month. Allopathic doctors too recommend it and it is found to be effective in bringing blood sugar levels under completely under control. There is also dried and ground powder of the leaves now available in the market.
Insulin in Plants
Diabetes is a serious health condition as it can lead to several health complications. Due to the condition one can suffer from cardiovascular diseases, chronic renal failure as well as retinal damage which can cause blindness. The pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin to convert sugar into energy. This metabolic disorder has no cure. Patients suffering from it have to manage their blood sugar levels.
Importance of Insulin
To treat diabetes one has to either take medicines orally or take insulin injections. Insulin is very essential for a diabetic especially those suffering from Diabetes type 1. As of now insulin is injected into a patient.
Researchers from University of Central Florida, with Professor Henry Daniell being the lead, have engineered genetically tobacco plants with insulin gene. Then they administered the frozen dried plant cells to mice that were five-week old diabetic in the form of powder for about a period of 8 weeks. This experiment resulted in normal urine and blood sugar levels in the mice, with their cells being able to produce normal levels of insulin.
Apart from tobacco, the researchers also experimented with lettuce, the cultivation of which is rather cheap and can be used to produce insulin in capsule form. It would be much convenient for diabetic patients to take insulin capsules. Lettuce is a better substitute to tobacco as many hesitate to use tobacco due to the stigma attached to it.
Tobacco and lettuce appear to be a way out for diabetic patients who perhaps some day need not take the trouble to take insulin shots. Capsules made of plant insulin seem to be a better option.
Long acting insulin works best for quite a few diabetics
By adding insulin to the standard drugs that one takes for Diabetes help in regulating blood sugar levels in the case of those suffering from Diabetes Type 2 according to a report released by British researchers. They also felt that the dosage and the timings of receiving the insulin also make a difference.
The researchers are of the view that long acting insulin taken once in a day is perhaps the best type of approach for patients who are trying to move on to insulin therapy according to the study. By keeping the blood sugar levels under controls one avoids complications in Type 2 Diabetes. At the same one must realize that Diabetes happens to be a progressive disease, which causes disruption in insulin production. Thus several diabetic patients have to use more drugs in order to control blood sugar levels and eventually have to take insulin, claim the researcher.
Says lead researcher Dr. Rury Holman, a professor of diabetic medicine at the University of Oxford, “Any treatment which keeps blood sugar level under control will minimize risk complications, but in the end insulin may be the only effective way of doing this.” He further says, “the vast majority will need insulin in the longer term.”
What is Diabetes?
It is considered to be metabolism disorder. Metabolism refers to the manner in which body utilizes digested food for growth as well as energy. Then glucose made out of digested food in the form of glucose enters our blood stream and is converted into energy by the body for growth. For this insulin is essential. In the case of diabetic the glucose is not converted into energy for the growth of the cells and remains in the blood stream. This excessive glucose passes through the urine and does not provide essential energy for the cells and their growth requirements.