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J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul 6;124(1):111-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.04.001. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic effect of Begonia malabarica Lam. in normal and streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.

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Division of Ethnopharmacology, Entomology Research Institute, Loyola College, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034, Tamil Nadu, India.



The stem of Begonia malabarica was used traditionally by the Malasar tribe to treat diabetes. To validate the hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic effects of the hexane, ethylacetate and methanol extracts obtained from an ethnomedicinal plant, Begonia malabarica.


The doses for the study were fixed based on Irwin test. The hypoglycemic effect of hexane, ethylacetate and methanol extracts of Begonia malabarica stems were studied in normal animals. The antihyperglycemic effect of the methanol extract was studied in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.


In normal rats the treatment with the methanol extract of Begonia malabarica had shown a highly significant reduction (16.54 and 34.47%) in plasma glucose levels from the 0 h values at the dose of 100 and 200 mg/kg respectively. In streptozotocin induced diabetic rats the body weight of the Begonia malabarica methanol extract treated animals had shown a significant increase (13.38% at 200 mg/kg) after 4 weeks treatment. The plasma glucose levels were reduced significantly by 46.57 and 50.20% after 4 weeks treatment at 100 and 200mg/kg respectively. Likewise the absolute kidney weight was also reduced in a significant manner. After 25 days treatment the Begonia malabarica methanol extract treated animals had shown low fasting plasma glucose levels (54.29, 61.34% in 100 and 200 mg/kg) and reduced postprandial plasma glucose levels (54.23, 65.96% in 100 and 200 mg/kg) when compared with diabetic control values. Serum insulin levels and liver glycogen levels were increased to 40.04 and 42.18% in 200 mg/kg Begonia malabarica methanol extract treated animals respectively. The treatment with Begonia malabarica methanol extract did not change the triglycerides and total cholesterol levels. The urea and creatinine levels were also reduced significantly by this treatment. The reduction in SGPT levels indicated the absence of toxicity of Begonia malabarica extract at this dose level.


This study supports the use of Begonia malabarica by the Malasar tribe for the treatment of diabetes. Fractionation of this extract may yield novel prototypes to manage diabetes mellitus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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