Hypoglycemic effects of Cecropia pachystachya in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Apr 21;128(3):629-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.01.008. Epub 2010 Jan 11.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Leaves of Cecropia pachystachya are described in the folk medicine as possessing antitusive, expectorant, antiasthmatic and hypoglycemic effects.

Aim of the study: To investigate the hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of methanolic extract from the leaves of Cecropia pachystachya. The total amount of phenolic and flavonoids compounds was determined and the qualitative composition of the extract was analyzed.

Materials and methods: The hypoglycemic effect of the extract was tested in normal, glucose loading and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The antioxidant activity was assessed by DPPH free radical scavenging and reduction power assays. The total amount of phenolic and flavonoids compounds was determined by Folin-Denis and AlCl(3) reagent method, respectively. The qualitative composition of the extract was analyzed using a HPLC-DAD system.

Results: The glucose tolerance test showed that in diabetic rats, the extract caused a significant hypoglycemic effect with a blood glucose reduction of 68% after 12h. The administration of the extract in alloxan-induced diabetic rats also produced a significant reduction in the blood glucose levels at all points being more pronounced at 90min (reduction of 60%). After 120min, no significant difference was observed between the blood levels of the rats treated with the extract and those treated with the standard drugs (metformin and glibenclamide). The extract also presented relevant antioxidant activity with IC50=3.1microg/ml (DPPH assay) and EC50=10.8microg/ml (reduction power). Results were compared with the reference antioxidants quercetin, rutin, and ascorbic acid. The content of flavonoids was 83mg/g plant and that of phenolics was 326mg/g plant. Chlorogenic acid and the C-glycosylated flavones, orientin and isoorientin, were identified in the extract.

Conclusions: In conclusion, the findings showed that the folk medicinal plant Cecropia pachystachya possesses hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects which confirmed the traditional use of the plant in the treatment of diabetes. Chlorogenic acid and the C-glycosylated flavonoids may explain these activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alloxan
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Cecropia Plant
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glucosides / therapeutic use
  • Glyburide / therapeutic use
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Phenols / therapeutic use
  • Plant Extracts
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Flavonoids
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Glucosides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • folin
  • Alloxan
  • Metformin
  • orientin
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Glyburide