New research has revealed that emodi, which can be extracted from a variety of Chinese herbs, such as Rheum palmatum and Polygonum cuspidatum, has shown potential as an agent that could reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes. A study that gave emodin to mice that had diet-induced obesity found it lowered blood glucose and serum insulin, helped insulin resistance and brought healthier levels of lipid to the blood. It also had the effect of lowering both body weight and central fat mass.
Dr Ying Leng, the lead author of the research, which was published in the said British Journal of Pharmacology, “If repeated in humans, all of these changes would be beneficial for people affected by type 2 diabetes or other metabolic diseases associated with insulin resistance .”
The research showed that that emodin is a potent selective inhibitor of 11ß-HSD1, an enzyme that is involved in the body’s response to sugar contained in a person’s diet. The enzyme increases glucocorticoids’ ability to act, so inhibiting it could limit its effects and improve diabetes and insulin resistance.
Leng added “Our work showed that this natural extract from Chinese herbs could point the way to a new way of helping people with type 2 diabetes as well as other metabolic disorders . To develop it further, researchers would need to develop chemicals that have similar effects as emodi, and see which if any of these could be used as a therapeutic drug .”

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