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Pharm Biol. 2010 May;48(5):518-23. doi: 10.3109/13880200903190993.

Effect of Ficus racemosa stem bark on the activities of carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes: an in vitro study.

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  • 1Department of Studies in Food Science and Nutrition, University of Mysore, Mysore, India.


Herbal medicines have been used since prehistoric times by different cultures worldwide for the treatment of diabetes. The present investigation evaluated the effect of Ficus racemosa Linn. (Moraceae) stem bark on carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes, viz., porcine pancreatic alpha-amylase, rat intestinal alpha-glucosidase, sucrase, and almond beta-glucosidase, using in vitro model systems. In addition, the effect of heat treatment was also studied. Untreated F. racemosa bark (FRB) significantly inhibited (p < or = 0.05) alpha-amylase, alpha-glucosidase, beta-glucosidase, and sucrase in a dose-dependent manner. Heat treatment of the sample comparably increased alpha-amylase, alpha-glucosidase, and sucrase inhibitory activities, while a marginal decrease in beta-glucosidase inhibitory activity was observed; however, no statistical differences were noted. Untreated FRB showed IC(50) values of 0.94% and 280, 212, and 367 microg/mL for alpha-amylase, alpha-glucosidase, beta-glucosidase, and sucrase, respectively, while the IC(50) values for heat treated FRB were 0.58% and 259, 223, and 239 microg/mL, respectively. Further, a significant correlation (p < or = 0.01; r = 0.791) was observed between alpha-amylase, alpha-glucosidase, beta-glucosidase, and sucrase inhibitory activities of both untreated and heat treated FRB. The results clearly demonstrate that inhibition of carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes is one mechanism through which F. racemosa stem bark exerts its hypoglycemic effect in vivo. Therefore, the potential exists to explore the utilization of F. racemosa stem bark in the development of nutraceuticals and functional foods for the management of diabetes and related symptoms/disorders.

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