Unani Herbal Drugs: A Ray of Hope for the Management of Diabetes Mellitus


  • Abdur Rauf Associate Professor, Department of Ilmul Advia, Faculty of Unani Medicine, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh, India. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3476-5197
  • Abdul Khalique Assistant Professor, Department of Ilmul Atfal, State Takmeel-ut-Tib College & Hospital Lucknow, U.P., India.


Diabetes Mellitus, Ziabetus Shakari, Gurmarbooti, Hulba, Tukhm-e-Hayat, Jamun


Diabetes Mellitus is a major challenge of 21st century in health care system. This chronic and incurable Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) is largely preventable but remains responsible for millions of deaths annually and many life-threatening complications across the globe. No country, rich or poor, is immune to this disease prevailing epidemically. In Unani System of Medicine it is commonly described as Ziabetus Shakari which is caused mainly by the derangement of temperament of kidneys. As the people are becoming aware of the potency and side effects of synthetic antidiabetic drugs available globally, there is an increasing curiosity in the natural product therapies with a basic approach towards the nature. Unani Medicine also possesses many single as well as polyherbal formulations that have long been using to manage diabetes mellitus. Keeping in view of the significant effects of antidiabetic drugs mentioned in Unani classical literatures, it was aimed to present an overview on some of the Unani herbal drugs namely Gurmarbooti, Hulba, Tukhm-e-Hayat and Jamun which are mentioned in classical literatures as antidiabetic agents and are still in the practice effectively.

How to cite this article:

Rauf A, Khalique A. Unani Herbal Drugs: A Ray of Hope for the Management of Diabetes Mellitus J Integ Comm Health 2019; 8(2): 21-26.


Kumar PJ, Clark M. Textbook of Clinical Medicine. Pub: Saunders (London). 2002; 1099-1121.

www.oedg.at/pdf/1606_IDF_Atlas_2015_UK.pdf. PP.10-17.

Ahmad KM. Maraz Ziabetus me Tukhm-e-Hulba, Maghz-e-Panbadana, aurTukhm-e-Haloon Ki Ifadiyat ka Tahqeeqi Mutala, MD Thesis, Department of Moalejat, Faculty of Unani Medicine, Aligarh Muslim University. Aligarh. 1998; 29.

Razi, Abu Bakar Mohammad Bin Zakariya. Kitab Al-Hawi Fil-Tibb, Vol. X, 1st Edition, Majlis Dairatul-Maarif AlUsmania Press, Hyderabad. 1961; 189-215.

Razi, Abu Bakar Mohammad Bin Zakariya. Kitab Al-Hawi Fil-Tibb, Vol. X, Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, New Delhi. 2002; 181-206.

Kokar R, Mantha SV. Increased oxidative stress in rat liver & pancreas during progression of streptozotocin induced diabetes. J Clinical science 1998; 623-632.

Kumar N, Wani Z A, Dhyani S. Ethnobotanical study of the plants used by the local people of Gulmarg and its allied areas, Jammu & Kashmir, India. International Journal of Current Research in Bioscience and Plant Biology 2015; 2(9): 16-23.

Chopra RN, Nayar S, Chopra IC. Glossary of Indian Medicine. CSIR Publication, New Delhi. 1996; 128.

Kirtikar KR, Basu BD. Indian Medicinal Plants. Vol. 3. Bishen Sigh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun. 1984; 1625.

Chakravarthi DC. Isolation of gymnemagenin, the sapogenin from Gymnema sylvestre R.Br. (Asclepiadaceae). J Inst Chemist 1981; 53: 155-158.

Yoshikawa K, Arihara S, Matsuura K, Miyaset T. Dammarane saponins from Gymnema sylvestre. J Physiol Chem 1992; 31: 237-241.

Sahu NP, Mahato SB, Sarkar SK, Poddar G. Triterpenoidal saponins from Gymnema sylvestre. J Physiol Chem 1996; 41(4): 1181-1185.

Sairam RP, Rama Gopal G, Lakshmi Sita G. In vitro multiplication of Gymnema sylvestre R.Br.- An important medicinal plant. Curr Sci 1998; 75(8): 843-845.

Nakamura Y, Tsumura Y, Tonogai Y, Shibata T. Fecal steroid excretion is increased in rats by oral administration of gymnemic acids contained in Gymnema sylvestre leaves. J Nutr 1999; 129: 1214-1222.

Persaud SJ, Al-Majed H, Raman A, Jones PM. Gymnema sylvestre stimulates insulin release in vitro by increased membrane permeability. J Endocrinol 1999 163: 207212.

Liu X, Ye W, Yu B, Zhao S, Wu H, Che C. Two new flavonol glycosides from Gymnema sylvestre and Euphorbia ebracteolata. J Carb Res 2004; 39(4): 891-895.

Sagar PK, Husain KM, Rasheed MA. HPTLC. Finger printing and standardization comparative screening, assessment of Anti-diabetic effect of Gurmar buti leaves (Gymnema sylvestre R.Br.) samples. J Med Chem Drug Disc 2015; 3: 20-36.

Romaiyan A, Liu B, Asar-Anane H, Maity CR, Chatterjee SK, Koley N et al. A noval Gymnema sylvestre extract stimulate insulin secretion from human islets in vivo and in vitro. J Physiol Res 2010; 24(9): 1370-1376.

Gupta SS, Variyar MC. Experimental studies on pituitary diabetes IV: Effect of Gymnema sylvestre and Coccinia indica against the hyperglycaemic response of somatotropin and corticotropin hormone. Indian J Med Res 1964; 52: 200-207.

Shanmugasundaram E, Gopinath K, Shanmugasundaram K, Rajendran V. Possible regeneration of the Islets of Langerhans in Streptozotocin-diabetic rats given Gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol 1990; 30: 265-279.

Mozersky RP. Herbal products and supplemental nutrients used in the management of diabetes. J Am Osteopath Assoc 1999; 12: S4-S9.

Raghuram TC, Sharma RD, Sivakumar B, Sahay BK. Effect of fenugreek seeds on intravenous glucose disposition in Non-insulin-dependent diabetic-patients. Phytother Res 1994; 8: 83-86.

Neeraja A, Rajyalakshmi P. Hypoglycaemic effect of processed fenugreek seeds in humans. J Food Sci Technol 1996; 33: 427-430.

Sauvaire Y, Baissac Y, Leconte O, Petit P, Ribes G. Steroid saponins from fenugreek and some of their biological properties. Adv Exp Med Biol 1996; 405: 37-46.

Sauvaire Y, Petit P, Broca C, Manteghetti M, Baissac Y, Fernandez-Alvarez J et al. 4-Hydroxyisoleucine: a novel amino acid potentiator of insulin secretion. Diabetes 1998; 47: 206-210.

Basch E, Ulbricth C, Kou G, Szapary P, Smith M. Therapeutic application of fenugreek. Alt Med Review 2003; 8(1): 20.

Hannan JM, Ali L, Rokeya B, Khaleque J, Akhter M, Flatt PR et al. Soluble dietary fibre fraction of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seed improves glucose homeostasis in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes by delaying carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancing insulin action. Br J Nutr 2007; 97: 514-521.

Lu F, Shen L, Qin Y, Gao L, Li H, Dai Y. Clinical observation on Trigonella foenum-graecum L. total Saponins in combination with sulfonylureas in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Chin J Integr Med 2008; 14: 56-60.

Moorthy R, Prabhu KM, Murthy PS. Anti-hyperglycemic compound (GII) from fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum Linn) seeds, its purification and effect in diabetes mellitus. Indian J Exp Biol 2010; 48: 1111-1118.

Uemura T, Hirai S, Mizoguchi N, Goto T, Lee JY, Taketani K et al. Diosgenin present in fenugreek improves glucose metabolism by promoting adipocyte differentiation and inhibiting inflammation in adipose tissues. Mol Nutr Food Res 2010; 54: 1596-1608.

Singh AB, Tamarkar AK, Narender T, Srivastava AK. Antihyperglycemic effect of an unusual amino acid (4-hydroxyisoleucine) in C57BL/KsJ-db/ db mice. Nat Prod Res 2010; 24: 258-265.

Modak M, Dixit P, Londhe J, Ghaskadbi S, Thomas Paul A. Indian Herbs and Herbal Drugs Used for the Treatment of diabetes. J Clin Biochem Nutr 2007; 40: 163-173.

Neelakantan N, Narayanan M, de Souza RJ, Van Dam RM. Effect of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) intake on glycemia: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Nutrition Journal 2014; 13: 7: 1-11. http://www. nutritionj.com/content/13/1/7.

Zhou J, Chan L, Zhou S. Trigonelline: a plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for diabetes and central nervous system disease. Curr Med Chem 2012; 19: 3523-3531.

Van Dijk AE, Olthof MR, Meeuse JC, Seebus E, Heine RJ, van Dam RM. Acute effects of decaffeinated coffee and the major coffee components chlorogenic acid and trigonelline on glucose tolerance. Diabetes Care 2009; 32: 1023-1025.

Choudhary D, Chandra D, Choudhary S, Kale RK. Modulation of glyoxalase, glutathione-S-transferase and Antioxidant enzymes in liver, spleen and erythrocytes of mice by dietary administration of fenugreek seeds. Food and Chemical Toxicology 2001; 39: 989-997.

Balch PA. Prescription for dietary wellness (2ndedn). Penguin group, New York. 2003.

Madar Z, Abel R, Samish S, Arad J. Glucose-lowering effect of fenugreek in non-insulin dependent diabetics. Eur J ClinNutr 1988; 42: 51-4.

Sauvaire Y, Baccou JC. Extraction of diosgenin, (25R)spirost- 5-ene-3-beta-ol; problems of the hydrolysis of the saponins. L loyd 1978; 41: 247-256.

Sharma RD, Raghuram TC, Rao NS. Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type I diabetes. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1990; 44(4): 301-306.

Chaterjee A, Pakrashi SC. The Treatise on Indian Medicinal Plants, Vol. IV, Publication & Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi. 1995; 207-208. 18-19.

Kirtikar KR, Basu BD. Indian Medicinal Plants, Vol. III, 2nd edition, Periodical Expert book Agency, Delhi. 1935; 1777-1778.

Gupta V, Keshari BB. Withania coagulans Dunal. (paneer doda): A Review. International Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine 2013; 3(5): 1330-1336.

Hemalatha S, Wahi AK, Singh PN, Chansouria JPN. Hypoglycemic Activity of Withania coagulans Dunal in Streptozotocin induced Diabetic Rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, (Elsevier) Aug 2004; 93: 261-264.

Anonymous. The Wealth of India, Vol. X: (Sp-W), Publication & Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi. 299-306, 580-581. 1996.

Shukla K, Dikshit P , Shukla R, Gambhir JK. The Aqueous Extract of Withania coagulans Fruit Partially Reverses Nicotinamide/ Streptozotocin Induced Diabetes Mellitus in Rats. J Med Food August 2012; 15(8): 718725.

Jaiswal D, Rai PK, Watal G. Antidiabetic effect of Withania coagulans in experimental rats. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry 2009; 24(1): 88-93.

Akhtar MW, Naseer M, Siddiqi M. Anti-Hyperglycemic Effect of Some Unani Formulations in the Management of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. International Journal of Universal Pharmacy and Bio Sciences 2016; 5(3): 213224.

Maurya R, Akanksha, Jayendra, Singh AB, Srivastava AK. Coagulanoide, A withanolide from Withania coagulans fruits and antihyperglycemic activity. Bioorganic and Medicinal chemistry letters 2008; 18: 6534.

Anonymous. The Wealth of India, Vol. I:, Publication & Information Directorate, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. 1948; 33-34, 140-142.

Anonymous. The Wealth of India, Vol. VI: (Sp-W), Publication & Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi. PP. 408. Vol. X, 100-104. 1996.

Anonymous. The Wealth of India, Vol. VII: (N-Pe), Publication & Information Directorate, (CSIR), New Delhi. 63-65, 91-92. 1996.

Rizvi SI, Mishra N. Traditional Indian Medicines Used for the Management of Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of Diabetes research 2013.

Raza A, Saiful-Mulook, Shahzad N, Qasrani SA, Sharif MN, Akram MN, Ali MU. Extraction of Bioactive Components from the Fruit and Seed of Jamun (Syzygium cumini) Through Conventional Solvent Extraction Method. American-Eurasian J Agric & Environ Sci 2015; 15(6): 991-996.

Alam MR, Rahman AB, Moniruzzaman M, Kadir MF, Haque MA, Razi-ul-Hasan Alvi M, Ratan M. Evaluation of antidiabetic phytochemicals in Syzygium cumini(L.) Skeels (Family: Myrtaceae). Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 2012; 2(10): 094-098.

Swami SB, Thakor NSJ, Patil MM, Haldankar PM. Jamun (Syzygium cumini (L.)): A Review of Its Food and Medicinal Uses. Food and Nutrition Sciences 2012; 3: 1100-1117.

Singh U, Singh S, Kochhar A. Therapeutic potential of antidiabetic nutraceuticals. Inforesights Publishing UK. Phytopharmacology 2012; 2(1): 144-169.