Maintaining glycemic control in diabetes and prediabetes is necessary to prevent many health complications and mortality. Although different hypoglycemic drugs are used for this purpose, there is still a growing interest in the use of medicinal plants due to their low price, easy availability, and fewer or no side effects. Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) is a medicinal plant that has been traditionally used in the management of diabetes. This review aims to present the existing literature published until February 2019 on the role of moringa leaves in glycemia and their physiological mechanisms. In the conducted studies, moringa leaves have shown to reduce glycemia, without causing any adverse effects. The proposed mechanisms for reducing glycemia include inhibition of α-amylase and α-glucosidase activities, increased glucose uptake in the muscles and liver, inhibition of glucose uptake from the intestine, decreased gluconeogenesis in the liver, and increased insulin secretion and sensitivity. However, these studies are limited in numbers and mostly conducted in animals, in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, long-term human studies are required to determine the hypoglycemic effect of moringa leaves, their physiological mechanisms, active ingredients, and safety. Overall, this review provides evidence that moringa leaves have the possibility to be used as a glycemic control agent in diabetes and prediabetes.
Keywords: Moringa oleifera; blood glucose; diabetes; glycemia; mechanism.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.