Aims: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used for treating complex chronic diseases owing to their fewer side-effects, better patient tolerance and relatively less cost. The present work was carried out to study the anti-diabetic efficacy and mechanisms of 34 TCMs.
Materials and methods: Streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic mice were orally administrated with corresponding herbal solution once a day for 4 weeks. At the end of experiment, the level of plasma glucose, malondialdehyde (MDA), the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and the serum aldose reductase (AR) were determined, the effects of TCM extract on α-glucosidase and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in vitro were also evaluated.
Results: 13 out of the 34 herbs showed a statistically significant plasma glucose lowering action compared with the diabetic control group. Biochemical analysis revealed that Atractylodes macrocephala, Codonopsis pilosula, Dioscorea opposite, Flos lonicerae and Pueraria lobata may retard the progression of diabetes via reduce the blood glucose level and prevent the increase of AR activity. Other tested herbs, such as Ramulus cinnamomi, Cinnamomum cassia, and Eucommia ulmoides, showed the antidiabetic ability by either prevent the decrease in SOD activity or suppress the increase of MDA. Zymologic assay reveals that Pueraria lobata and Anemarrhena asphodeloides showed the highest inhibition against α-glucosidase and ACE respectively. Interestingly, the post-treatment glucose levels and AR activity were positively correlated with kidney/body weight of 34 herbs treated diabetic mice (p = 0.02, 0.04 respectively).
Conclusions: Several potential antidiabetic herbs derived from Chinese traditional pharmacopeia such as Dioscorea opposite, Pueraria lobata, Codonopsis pilosula and Ramulus cinnamomi, have been found to exert a beneficial action on diabetes and diabetic complications via multi-mechanisms.
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