Assessment of antidiabetic properties of momordica charantia powder
Rapidly increasing diabetes mellitus is becoming a serious threat to mankind health in all parts of the world. With regard to this problem, plants represent a vast source of potentially useful dietary supplements for improving blood glucose control and preventing long-term complications in Type II diabetes mellitus. Plant sources of antidiabetic promoting substances are likely to have no side effects and can counter the high cost and poor availability of the synthetic drugs. This study was designed to determine the antidiabetic potential Momordica charantia as a food supplement using both in vivo and in vitro methods. A survey was conducted to determine the sources, uses and preparation methods of the bitter gourd in the local community. This data was collected with the use of a key informant interview questionnaire. It was established that majority of the fruit's users were of Asian origin. It was also highly recommended for blood sugar control among Type II diabetics. Methanolic and aqueous extract of the fresh and dried fruit were prepared and their antidiabetic effects studied in vitro, based on their inhibition of the activity of alpha amylase enzyme. Alpha amylase inhibition activity was determined using the 3, 5-dinitrosalicylic acid assay. The amount of maltose released by the enzyme from starch in the presence of the extract was determined and used to calculate the percent inhibition activity. The methanolic extract was found to exhibit the greatest alpha amylase inhibition activity out of the two extracts used (9.71 U/mg). The blood glucose lowering effect of the dried fruit powder was then determined by administering it orally to normal rats. Glucose tolerance tests were carried out in normal, control and extract treated rats. Two doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight of the powder were administered orally to the study rats. Blood samples were collected from the base of the tails of each rat and blood sugar levels estimated using a glucose estimation kit. After repeated administration oftreatment, the dose of 400 mg/kg was identified as the most effective dose. These results clearly indicate that dried fruit powder of Momordica charantia can be employed at the rate of 400 mg/kg body weight to reduce blood glucose.