An increasing line of evidence confirmed that apart from conventional hypoglycemic drugs, diet and medicinal plants have beneficial effects on diabetes. Capparis spinosa L. (Caper) is a perennial shrub in the Capparidaceae family. It grows in different regions of the world, particularly in Asian and African countries. A wide range of biological activities such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic effects have been reported for this plant. In this review, it is focused on beneficial effects of C. spinosa on diabetes. Several studies have showed the antihyperglycemic and hypolipidemic activities of C. spinosa. The putative mechanisms involved in the antihyperglycemic effects of C. spinosa include reducing carbohydrate absorption from the small intestine, inhibiting gluconeogenesis in the liver, enhancing glucose uptake by tissues, and beta cell protection/regeneration. This plant also ameliorates cardiovascular disorders, liver damage, and nephropathy in animal models of diabetes, which are attributed to its antioxidant phytochemicals such as phenolic compounds, flavonoids, carotenoids, tocopherols, and terpenes. Antihyperglycemic and hypolipidemic activities of C. spinose, along with its beneficial effects on diabetic complications, make it a good candidate for the management of diabetes. Well-designed clinical trials are necessary to define the advantages and disadvantages of C. spinose for diabetic patients.
Keywords: Caper; Capparis spinosa; Diabetes; Glucose; Lipids; Toxicity.
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