The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in developing countries is increasing. In Vietnam, several plants are thought to be useful for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. This study has been performed to screen the hypoglycemic effects of eight Vietnamese herbs used in traditional medicine for the treatment of diabetes. Blood glucose levels were measured before and several times after oral or i.p. administration of the ethanol-based plant extracts in normal mice. The extracts that reduced blood glucose both orally and i.p. were also studied in glucose tolerance tests in mice. Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino (Cucurbitaceae) at doses of 200 and 300 mg/kg i.p. or 1500 mg/kg orally reduced blood glucose in mice (P < 0.001 for all compared to control group using NaCl 0.9%). Similarly, Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge (Liliaceae) at 200 and 300 mg/kg i.p. (P < 0.001 vs. control group) and 1500 mg/kg orally reduced blood glucose 4 h after administration (P < 0.001). Angiopteris evecta Forst. Hoffn. (Marattiaceae) 300 mg/kg i.p. and 1500 mg/kg orally strongly reduced blood glucose levels (P < 0.001 vs. control groups). All three extracts when dosed at 1000 mg/kg orally suppressed the rise in blood glucose in normal mice during a glucose tolerance test. We have found three herbs that reduced blood glucose and inhibited increases in blood glucose after a glucose challenge in normal mice.
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