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J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Feb;74(2):125-32.

Hypoglycemic effect of the water extract of Smallantus sonchifolius (yacon) leaves in normal and diabetic rats.

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Departamento de Biología del Desarrollo, INSIBIO/CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (UNT), Chacabuco 461, 4000-San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina


The hypoglycemic effect of the water extract of the leaves of Smallantus sonchifolius (yacon) was examined in normal, transiently hyperglycemic and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Ten-percent yacon decoction produced a significant decrease in plasma glucose levels in normal rats when administered by intraperitoneal injection or gastric tube. In a glucose tolerance test, a single administration of 10% yacon decoction lowered the plasma glucose levels in normal rats. In contrast, a single oral or intraperitoneal administration of yacon decoction produced no effect on the plasma glucose levels of STZ-induced diabetic rats. However, the administration of 2% yacon tea ad libitum instead of water for 30 days produced a significant hypoglycemic effect on STZ-induced diabetic rats. After 30 days of tea administration, diabetic rats showed improved body (plasma glucose, plasma insulin levels, body weight) and renal parameters (kidney weight, kidney to body weight ratio, creatinine clearance, urinary albumin excretion) in comparison with the diabetic controls. Our results suggest that yacon water extract produces an increase in plasma insulin concentration.

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