About a year back, a wonderful local herbalist asked me whether I wanted to see a herb called insulin plant. Nothing makes me more happier than getting to know new herbs and when I nodded my head in agreement he took me to his backyard and showed me the plant. I still remember staring at the plant mesmerized as the herbalist explained its wonderful benefits and medicinal uses, especially for diabetic patients.
It is a recent introduction to India from America and it is widely sold in herb nurseries. Even if they don’t have it most nurseries will get it for us for a price easily. It is a perennial upright plant with attractive flowers and spirally arranged long leaves. Here in Southern India, the plant is grown for both ornamental and medicinal purposes (mainly for diabetes).
Insulin Plant Common Names:
The botanical name of the plant is Costus Igneus, many know it as only insulin plant in Tamil Nadu but some call it Kostum too. It is called Jarul | Keukand in Hindi.
Insulin Plant Medicinal Uses:
1. Insulin Plant For Diabetes:
The leaves of the plant are very very popular for its use in treating diabetes as it reduces blood sugar levels very very effectively, which is why it is aptly named as insulin plant.
Usually, a small leaf of the plant is taken for reducing blood sugar levels and I found more than 15 clinical studies to prove this use! You can read the study that proves the use here (in the study the diabetes that was induced in the rats was type 2 diabetes).
2. Insulin Plant For Diabetes-Induced High Cholesterol:
The leaves when taken by diabetic patients not only reduced their blood sugar levels, it also brought diabetes-induced cholesterol levels
down which is a huge added benefit.
3.Insulin Plant Antioxidant Properties:
Insulin plant also has wonderful anti-oxidant properties which is especially useful for diabetic patients as it helps to reverse the oxidative stress of the liver, kidney, and pancreas caused due to diabetes. It also has anti-microbial, diuretic, and cancer preventing properties.
4. Reduces Kidney Stones:
The water & ethanolic extracts of the plant and two isolated compounds of the plant (lapel and stigmasterol) have been proven
to reduce kidney stones. The deposition of calcium
and oxalate was significantly lowered with the extracts. Treatment with lupeol and stigmasterol also significantly reduced the deposition of calcium and oxalate in the kidney, and also in the blood serum.
Insulin Plant Side Effects:
Even at very large doses of the plant does not cause mortality but at certain levels, it does get toxic. Prolonged use of the leaves at large doses will lead to toxicity. I would kindly suggest using the plant leaves in the correct dosage and to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking it. It is best to take it only under expert guidance.
Different Forms Of Taking Insulin Plant Leaves:
1. Insulin Plant Tea:
If you are not able to chew on the fresh leaf, you can make a decoction by pounding a leaf and boiling it in water till it reduces in half.
2. Plant Powder:
You can also make a powder of the plant by collecting the leaves, shade drying them and then powdering in a dry mixer to get a very very fine powder. The usual recommended dosage for the powder is 1/2 to 1 tsp per day.
3. Chewing Leaf :
Chew one fresh leaf after washing it thoroughly to reduce blood sugar levels.
- The dosage given is general and I would strongly suggest consuming the leaves under medical supervision.
- If you still want to take the leaves on your own, I would suggest monitoring your blood sugar levels closely and starting at the lowest dosage.