The effect of a decoction of fig leaves (Ficus carica), as a supplement to breakfast, on diabetes control was studied in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) patients (six men, four women, age 22-38 years, body mass index (BMI): 20.8 +/- 3.0 kg/m2, HbA1c 7.6 +/- 0.9% with a mean duration of diabetes of 9 +/- 6.3 years). The patients were managed with their usual diabetes diet and their twice-daily insulin injection. During the first month, patients were given a decoction of fig leaves (FC) and during the next month a non-sweet commercial tea (TC). The patients were divided into two groups (n = 5) with random allocation and cross-over design. A standard breakfast was given at the beginning and end of each month-run. C-peptide, 2 h pre- and post-prandial glycemia, HbA1c, cholesterol, lipid fractions and hematology data, were analyzed during each visit. Glycemic profiles (7/day per week) were recorded by patients. Only two patients had intolerance dropout. Post-prandial glycemia was significantly lower during supplementation with FC 156.6 +/- 75.9 mg/dl versus TC 293.7 +/- 45.0 mg/dl (P < 0.001) without pre-prandial differences 145.0 +/- 41.5 and 196.6 +/- 43.2 mg/dl, respectively. Medium average capillary profiles were also lower in the two sub-groups of patients during FC 166.7 +/- 23.6 mg/dl, P < 0.05 and 157.1 +/- 17.0 mg/dl versus TC 245.8 +/- 14.2 mg/dl and 221.4 +/- 27.3 mg/dl. Average insulin dose was 12% lower during FC in the total group. The addition of FC to diet in IDDM could be of help to control postprandial glycemia.