Calabash fruit found potential in lowering blood sugar that can be use in treating hyperglycemia
Calabash scientifically known as Cresentia cujete is a popular folkloric medicine in treating many illnesses. Its leaves are used for treating diarrhoea, hypertension and stomach aches. Its fruit is used in treating respiratory illnesses like colds, cough,, asthma, and bronchitis. Calabash fruit is also believe to have laxative, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycaemic (blood-sugar lowering) effects. Because of its many (believed medicinal) uses, calabash fruit is regarded as miracle fruit in Southern Philippines.
In a study conducted by Davao Medical School Foundation in Davao City confirmed that Calabash fruit has a hypoglycemic or blood sugar lowering effects to tested animals.
Meanwhile, hyperglycemia is a condition in which a person has an increased blood sugar (glucose). At normal condition, human body produces insulin, a hormone that moves glucose into cells for energy. Hyperglycaemia occurs when insulin supply is not enough to regulate glucose in the body.
To determine the effects of calabash fruit (as treatment for hyperglycemia), the researchers administered calabash fruit decoction (juice from boiled calabash fruit) to hyperglycemia-induced rabbits and compared effects to Metformin, a standard drug for the treatment of diabetics (positive control) and a mineral water treatment (negative control).
Analysis revealed that calabash fruit decoction and Metformin treated rabbits showed a significant decreased in the amount of blood sugar in the body. While rabbits administered with mineral water solution have constant high blood sugar levels.
According to the study, the decrease of blood sugar level was attributed to the effects of phytochemicals found in calabash fruit responsible for the release of insulin that lowers blood sugar in the tested animals.
The researchers also tested calabash fruit for toxicity. They administered calabash fruit decoction to mice up to 5000 mg/kg, the highest dose in determining oral toxicity (for this study), but no changes were observed to tested mice. The researchers concluded that calabash fruit decoction is not toxic to the tested animals.
With these findings, the researchers concluded that calabash fruits are potential natural resource for the development of cheaper and locally available hypoglycemic drugs.