An Israeli shrub may hold the key to helping to keep diabetes under control.
Dr. Jonathon Gorelick of the Judea Research and Development Center believes chiliandenus iphionoides, a shrub found in Israel and throughout the Middle East has the potential to keep blood sugar levels under control.
The news though, will come as no shock to the Bedouin community. They have been using the shrub for years.
According to Gorelick, “This is a plant that only grows in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai, and has been used traditionally by Bedouins for controlling diabetes,” he told ISRAEL21c.
Gorelick first published his research in 2011 in the Journal of Ethnopharmocology. According to his study, eating the shrub increased sugar absorption in skeletal muscle and fat cells and reduced blood sugar levels in animals.
Now, Gorelick and his team are working on finding a way to isolate the active ingredient in the shrub to create a medication that could help patients with diabetes better control their sugar levels.
However, Gorelick realizes that he is facing an uphill battle.
While many plants have been identified as helping control diabetes, very few have actually been made into a medication that can be marketed.
One of the problems, according to the researcher, is that plants grown in the wild are not necessary the same as plants grown in a controlled greenhouse environment.
“Many medicinal plants, when grown in greenhouses, don’t produce the compounds they do in the wild because those compounds are a defense response to conditions in the wild,” he explained. “We’re trying to emulate those stimulators from the wild in the greenhouse setting.”
Still, Gorelick said he is hopeful that the lowly scrub may eventually provide help for the growing number of persons worldwide with diabetes, saying of all the plants he has studied, the yellow-flowered shrub ” is one of the best candidates” yet.