Current Diabetes Reports

, 18:72 | Cite as

Medicinal Plants with Multiple Effects on Diabetes Mellitus and Its Complications: a Systematic Review

  • Zeinab Nazarian-Samani
  • Robert D. E. Sewell
  • Zahra Lorigooini
  • Mahmoud Rafieian-KopaeiEmail author
Pharmacologic Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes (HE Lebovitz and G Bahtiyar, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Pharmacologic Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes


Purpose of Review

This systematic review describes evidence concerning medicinal plants that, in addition to exerting hypoglycemic effects, decrease accompanying complications such as nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia among individuals with diabetes mellitus (DM).

Recent Findings

Studies on the antidiabetic mechanisms of medicinal plants have shown that most of them produce hypoglycemic activity by stimulating insulin secretion, augmenting peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), inhibiting α-amylase or α-glucosidase, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion, advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation, free radical scavenging plus antioxidant activity (against reactive oxygen or nitrogen species (ROS/RNS)), up-regulating or elevating translocation of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4), and preventing development of insulin resistance.


Not only are medicinal plants effective in DM, but many of them also possess a variety of effects on other disease states, including the complications of DM. Such plants may be appropriate alternatives or adjuncts to available antidiabetic medications.


Diabetes mellitus Medicinal plants Nephropathy Neuropathy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Zeinab Nazarian-Samani, Robert D. E. Sewell, Zahra Lorigooini, and Mahmoud Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major Importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zeinab Nazarian-Samani
    • 1
  • Robert D. E. Sewell
    • 2
  • Zahra Lorigooini
    • 3
  • Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Basic Science Department, Veterinary Medicine FacultyShahrekord UniversityShahrekordIran
  2. 2.Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  3. 3.Medical Plants Research Center, Basic Health Sciences InstituteShahrekord University of Medical SciencesShahrekordIran

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