A phytochemical in the leaves of Hibiscus mutabilis, commonly called Confederate Rose, offers the possibility of a new therapeutic treatment for Type 2 diabetics.
Indian scientists at Assam’s Tezpur University and West Bengal’s Visva-Bharati University found that a ferulic acid compound (a polyphenol) extracted from Hibiscus mutabilis leaves when fed to diabetic rats restored their insulin sensitivity and lowered blood sugar levels after only 15 days.
Type 2 diabetes develops when a person’s body stops responding to insulin or produces less of it. Alak Kumar Buragohain, Vice Chancellor at Dibrugarh University in Assam described the action of the hibiscus polyphenol as:
“In diabetes, insulin sensitivity is retarded. The isolated compound can restore sensitivity and, therefore, cells can sense the presence of insulin”
The insulin can perform its normal process of clearing glucose from the blood.
The Indian study, published in the Journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications gives hope that a therapeutic agent could be developed from this widely grown plant. Known in India as sthalpadma or land-lotus, both the leaves and flowers of this hibiscus have been used in traditional medicines to treat swellings, skin infections, hair loss and hair greying.