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Cosmos plant can lower blood glucose levels

Researchers in Malaysia have shown that the plant Cosmos caudatus Kunth contains chemicals that can lower blood glucose levels. These plant-based substances could be investigated further as potential therapeutic agents to help manage high blood sugar in diabetes, a disease that affects 422 million people worldwide. Cosmos caudatus, known as Ulam raja (“King’s Salad”) in Malaysia, is a herb commonly consumed as a raw vegetable in Southeast Asia and is well-known for its health benefits for treating high blood pressure, arthritis, fever and diabetes.

Researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and International Islamic University Malaysia created an extract from dried, ground leaves of the plant using an organic solvent, and then analysed the chemical constituents. They showed that C. caudatus is rich in chemicals known as flavonoid glycosides, which can reduce blood glucose levels by inhibiting α-glucosidase, an intestinal enzyme involved in glucose uptake in the gut. Further analysis is required to quantify exact amounts of flavonoid glycosides present and compare to other sources.

The results, published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, indicate that C. caudatus leaves are a rich source of bioactive compounds, and could be further investigated for development into a botanical nutraceutical product for diabetes and blood sugar management.

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