Antidiabetic compounds from Sarracenia purpurea used traditionally by the Eeyou Istchee Cree First Nation

J Nat Prod. 2012 Jul 27;75(7):1284-8. doi: 10.1021/np3001317. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Through ethnobotanical surveys, the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Antidiabetic Medicines identified 17 boreal forest plants stemming from the pharmacopeia of the Cree First Nations of Eeyou Istchee (James Bay region of Northern Quebec) that were used traditionally against diabetes symptoms. The leaves of Sarracenia purpurea (pitcher plant), one of the identified Cree plants, exhibited marked antidiabetic activity in vitro by stimulating glucose uptake in C2C12 mouse muscle cells and by reducing glucose production in H4IIE rat liver cells. Fractionation guided by glucose uptake in C2C12 cells resulted in the isolation of 11 compounds from this plant extract, including a new phenolic glycoside, flavonoid glycosides, and iridoids. Compounds 6 (isorhamnetin-3-O-glucoside), 8 [kaempferol-3-O-(6″-caffeoylglucoside], and 11 (quercetin-3-O-galactoside) potentiated glucose uptake in vitro, which suggests they represent active principles of S. purpurea (EC(50) values of 18.5, 13.8, and 60.5 μM, respectively). This is the first report of potentiation of glucose uptake by compounds 6 and 8, while compound 11 (isolated from Vaccinium vitis) was previously shown to enhance glucose uptake. Treatment of H4IIE liver cells with the new compound 1, 6'-O-caffeoylgoodyeroside, decreased hepatic glucose production by reducing glucose-6-phosphatase enzymatic activity (IC(50) = 13.6 μM), which would contribute to lowering glycemia and to the antidiabetic potential of S. purpurea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase / metabolism*
  • Glycosides / chemistry
  • Glycosides / isolation & purification*
  • Glycosides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Indians, North American
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Sarraceniaceae / chemistry*


  • Flavonoids
  • Glycosides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase
  • Glucose