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Am J Chin Med. 2013;41(4):849-64. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X13500572.

Hypoglycemic activities of commonly-used traditional Chinese herbs.

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  • 1College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China.


The α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibition activity of 92 Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) herbs, which are permitted to be used as food ingredients, were evaluated using the high throughput assay developed in our laboratory. Among these herbs, twenty-seven of them possessed significant α-amylase inhibition activities ranging from 2.4 to 349.2 μmol AE/g (AE = acarbose equivalent) with inhibition concentrations at 50% inhibition (IC₅₀) from 16.0 to 2342.2 μg/mL, respectively. In addition, they showed α-glucosidase inhibition activities ranging from 0.5 to 31.6 μmolAE/g (IC₅₀ from 49.0 to 3385.5 μg/mL). The extracts of Rhizoma fagopyri dibotryis (Jīnqiáomài), Rosa rugosa (Méiguīhuā), Caulis polygoni multiflori (Shǒuwūténg), Fructus amomi (Shārén), Rhizoma alpiniae officinarum (Gāoliángjiāng), Folium ginkgo (Yínxìngyè) and Cortex cinnamomi (Ròuguì) showed the better inhibitory activities against both α-amylase and α-glucosidase. Our results illustrated that these food grade herbs are potent natural hypoglycemic agents and can be used as active ingredients for low glycemic index food production or TCM herbal formulations for controlling hyperglycemia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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