Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad fruit is an herbal medicine used by traditional herbalists for the treatment of diabetes in Iran. To determine its efficacy and toxicity, a 2 month clinical trial was conducted in 50 type II diabetic patients. Two groups of 25 each under standard antidiabetic therapy, received 100 mg C. colocynthis fruit capsules or placebos three times a day, respectively. The patients were visited monthly and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglyceride, aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, urea and creatinine levels were determined at the beginning and after 2 months. The results showed a significant decrease in HbA1c and fasting blood glucose levels in C. colocynthis treated patients. Other serological parameters levels in both the groups did not change significantly. No notable gastrointestinal side effect was observed in either group. In conclusion, C. colocynthis fruit treatment had a beneficial effect on improving the glycemic profile without severe adverse effects in type II diabetic patients. Further clinical studies are recommended to evaluate the long-term efficacy and toxicity of C. colocynthis in diabetic patients.
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.