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Planta Med. 2013 Apr;79(6):425-36. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1328331. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Antidiabetic attributes of desert and steppic plants: a review.

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Institute of Evolution and International Graduate Center of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.


The rapidly increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus is becoming a serious threat to mankind's health in all parts of the world. In fact, known cases reflect only part of the problem, as many diabetics, especially with type 2 diabetes, are unaware of their disease, which initially shows no definitive symptoms. Despite the great efforts invested in diabetes research, its prevalence continues to grow, while current medications do not cover all of the symptoms and complications of the disease. The present review highlights a plethora of studies focusing on the antidiabetic properties of desert and semidesert (steppic) plants, many of them being used for centuries in traditional medicine by Bedouins living in the arid zones of the Middle East and also by ethnic groups in other arid and semiarid parts of the world. The review concludes in summarizing the work done on the subject and also in pointing to the yet existing gaps in diabetes research of desert and steppic plants, and suggests directions for future exploration.

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