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J Nat Prod. 2013 Mar 22;76(3):468-83. doi: 10.1021/np300869g. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Mexican antidiabetic herbs: valuable sources of inhibitors of α-glucosidases.

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Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México DF 04510, México.


Type II-diabetes mellitus (TII-DM) has been regarded as one of the most important public health problems in all nations in the 21st century. Although allopathic therapies remain the most important for the initial management of TII-DM, herbal remedies have gained wide acceptance for treating this condition. These alternative therapies are particularly valued in countries such as Mexico, rich in medicinal plants strongly attached to the cultural values of the population. Medicinal plants are prized sources of α-glucosidase inhibitors, which delay the liberation of glucose from complex carbohydrates, retarding glucose absorption, and thus controlling the characteristic hyperglycemia of TII-DM. Among the plant species used for treating diabetes in Mexico only 38 have been analyzed for their inhibitory activity of α-glucosidases. Most of these studies, reviewed in the present work, have focused on the evaluation of different types of extracts on the activity of α-glucosidases from diverse sources. Four species have been thoroughly analyzed in order to discover novel α-glucosidase inhibitors, namely, Hintonia latiflora and Hintonia standleyana (Rubiaceae), Ligusticum porteri (Apiaceae), and Brickellia cavanillesii (Asteraceae). Their ethnomedical uses, pharmacological and toxicological studies, chemical composition, and antihyperglycemic principles with α-glucosidase inhibitory activity are summarized.

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