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Phytother Res. 2002 May;16(3):236-43.

The effect of Momordica charantia and Mucuna pruriens in experimental diabetes and their effect on key metabolic enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism.

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Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi.


The Indian traditional system of medicine prescribed traditional plant therapies. Two such plants, i.e. Momordica charantia (MC) and Mucuna pruriens (MP), earlier shown to reduce hyperglycaemia, were assessed for their anti hyperglycaemic effect on varying degrees of hyperglycaemia and diabetic complications. Alcohol and aqueous extracts of MC (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg/day) and only an alcohol extract of MP (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg/day) were evaluated in a pilot study (plasma glucose >180 mg/dL, 21 days), a chronic study in alloxanized rats (plasma glucose >280mg/dL, 120 days) and streptozotocin (STZ) mice (plasma glucose >400 mg/dL, 60 days). In the pilot study, the maximum antihyperglycaemic effect occurred with an aqueous extract of MC at week 3 and an alcohol extract of MP at week 6 at a dose of 200 mg/kg/day. In chronic alloxanized rats, the selected dose of MC led to a significant fall of 64.33%, 66.96%, 69.7% and 70.53% in plasma glucose levels at 1, 2, 3 and 4 months, respectively. MP showed a decrease of 40.71%, 45.63%, 50.33% and 51.01% at the same time period. In chronic STZ diabetic mice, MC led to a mean reduction of 15.37%, 18.68% and 22.86% in plasma glucose levels on days 40, 50 and 60 of sampling while MP had no significant effect. The alteration in hepatic and skeletal muscle glycogen content and hepatic glucokinase, hexokinase, glucose-6-phosphate and phosphofructokinase levels in diabetic mice were partially restored by MC but not by MP. The mechanism of action of MC and MP is discussed.

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