Diabetes mellitus (DM), a metabolic disorder is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases worldwide across developed as well as developing nations. Hyperglycemia is the core feature of the type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), following insulin deficiency and impaired insulin secretion or sensitivity leads insulin resistance (IR), respectively. Genetic and environmental factors attributed to the pathogenesis of DM and various therapeutic strategies are available for the prevention and treatment of T2DM. Among the numerous therapeutic approaches, the health effects of dietary/nutraceutical approach due to the presence of bioactive constituents, popularly termed phytochemicals are receiving special interest for pharmacological effects and therapeutic benefits. The phytochemicals classes, in particular sesquiterpenes received attention because of potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihyperglycemic effects and health benefits mediating modulation of enzymes, receptors, and signaling pathways deranged in DM and its complications. One of the terpene compounds, β-caryophyllene (BCP), received enormous attention because of its abundant occurrence, non-psychoactive nature, and dietary availability through consumption of edible plants including spices. BCP exhibit selective full agonism on cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R), an important component of endocannabinoid system, and plays a role in glucose and lipid metabolism and represents the newest drug target for chronic inflammatory diseases. BCP also showed agonist action on peroxisome proliferated activated receptor subtypes, PPAR-α and PPAR-γ, the main target of currently used fibrates and imidazolidinones for dyslipidemia and IR, respectively. Many studies demonstrated its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, organoprotective, and antihyperglycemic properties. In the present review, the plausible therapeutic potential of BCP in diabetes and associated complications has been comprehensively elaborated based on experimental and a few clinical studies available. Further, the pharmacological and molecular mechanisms of BCP in diabetes and its complications have been represented using synoptic tables and schemes. Given the safe status, abundant natural occurrence, oral bioavailability, dietary use and pleiotropic properties modulating receptors and enzymes, BCP appears as a promising molecule for diabetes and its complications.
Keywords: diabetes; essential oils; hyperglycemia; inflammation; insulin resistance; natural products; oxidative stress; sesquiterpenes; β-caryophyllene.