Aquatic Macrophytes Effective in Control of Diabetes: A Review

Vidyanath Jha

Abstract


Diabetes has emerged as a major life style disease today and India is held as the diabetes capital of the world. As such huge investments are required to be made on its prevention as well as cure. There is a need of developing a strategy for incorporating the maximum possible uses of indigenous resources in health care system of the country. Quite a good no. of terrestrial plants is reported to possess anti-diabetic properties which have been abundantly deciphered in modern scientific terms. However, a good no. of hitherto lesser known practices of utilizing certain aquatic plants also for this purpose has recently come to light. A number of aquaphytes like Acorus calamus, Alternanthera sessilis, Asteracantha longifolia, Centella asiatica, Cyperus esculentus, Cyperus rotundus, Ipomoea aquatica, Nelumbo nucifera, Nymphaea stellata, Nymphaea odorata, Nymphaea pubescens, Trapa bispinosa etc. have been found to have hypoglycemic properties. These plants are used as subsidiary food by the indigenous populations in different parts of the country. An aquaphyte like Makhana (Euryale ferox), cultivated as a water crop in the fresh water pools of Mithila region in north Bihar, is widely used as a fatless food. A recent research has found it effective in diabetic nephropathy. Inedible seed shell of E. ferox has been found to have hypoglycemic action. A no. of other plants like Enhydra fluctuans, Jussaiea repens and Ludwigia octovalvis are also in folk use in relation to control of diabetes. In view of the recent scientific revelations, there is need to promote these low cost prescriptions for the people, more particularly through their inculcation in the dietary habit of the respective population groups. The paper provides a review of the work done in India and abroad on the effectiveness of aquatic macrophytes in control of diabetes.

Keywords


Water Plants; Control; Diabetes; Antioxidants

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