Diabetes mellitus is caused due to deficiency in production of insulin by the pancreas, or by the ineffectiveness of the insulin produced. It is a global problem and number of those affected is increasing day by day. The plants provide a potential source of hypoglycemic drugs because many plants and plant derived compounds have been used in the treatment of diabetes. Several medicinal plants have found potential use as hypoglycemic in the Indian system of medicines, including ayurveda. Many Indian plants have been investigated for their beneficial use in different types of diabetes and reports occur in numerous scientific journals. This article aims to provide a comprehensive review on various plant species from Indian biosphere and their constituents, which have been shown to display potent hypoglycemic activity. The use of herbs as hypoglycemic is a major avenue in Indian perspectives particularly for treating diabetes, which require to be explored more effectively as there are so many literatures available on these aspects. This paper describes the chemistry, activity and usage of the constituents isolated from these plants from India for the treatment of diabetes. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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