Kolkata: Sundari trees, the most extensively found mangrove species in the Sunderbans, have some components which can bring down the level of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study.
Conducted over a period of five years, the study “Identification of Anti-Diabetic compounds from Sunderban Mangrove” by the scientists of R G Kar Medical College and hospital in West Bengal government, has claimed to have found that various parts of these trees from leaves to aerial roots contain components to maintain the blood sugar level in Type 2 diabetics patients.
“It has been revealed for the first time that Sundari trees which are quite abundant in Sunderbans region have high anti-diabetic components which can be very useful in curing Type 2 diabetics. We will soon apply for patent,” Anjan Adhikari, the lead scientist of the project, told PTI. “Five years ago we started a study to record the food habits of the people living in the Sunderban regions especially those near the mangrove forests. There we came to know that the people living in Sunderban areas depend a lot on medicinal plants and they have faith that roots and leaves of various plants can cure several diseases,” Adhikari said.
Sunderbans, home to the largest mangrove belt in the world and a world heritage site, houses 65 species of the 16 families of mangrove out of which 37 such as Rhizophora Mucronata, Heritiera fomes, Heritiera, Nipa are most common. The study which was funded by the department of Science and Technology of West Bengal government was conducted on the Rhizopora Mucronata species and Heritiera fomes (Sundari tree).
According to Adhikari, the project was divided into various parts where initially leaves of Sundari trees were tested.
“The leaves of Sundari trees were first taken for the test. The leaves were washed and made into a smooth paste. Then the juice was taken with regular medicine for diabetics. Results have shown that Type 2 diabetic patients went back to their normal sugar level at a very fast rate,” Adhikari told PTI.
When asked how this medicinal extract from Sundari trees is different from regular medicines, he said, “Most of the times it happens that when regular medicines of Type 2 diabetics are taken, the blood sugar level sometimes drop below the normal level which leads to severe weakness and dizziness. What this extract from Sundari trees does is that it brings the sugar level to normal and doesn't allow it to drop further.”
According to Adhikari, another component of Sundari trees which is very helpful in checking diabetes is an extract from the aerial roots of the tree.
“A molecule found in the aerial roots of the Sundari trees, known as flavonoids, has very strong components in maintaining the sugar level. What it does is if you take it along with regular sugar medicine it would not only bring the sugar level to normal but also never allow it to drop below normal,” he said.
The aerial root is made up of components which help in converting the saline water that the plant absorbs into sweet water, he said.
While elaborating on the process of controlling sugar, Adhikari said, “If you take one tablet of regular medicine everyday then we would suggest you to take half a tablet of that medicine along with the extract of this root.” According to him, the scientists are now trying to make this extract from leaves and roots into liquid or tablet form and then allow the medicine to be used for commercial purpose. “Several multinational companies are in touch with us. After we get a patent we will go for commercial use,” said Adhikari.