ScienceDaily has revealed study results that drinking chamomile tea daily with meals may prevent the complications associated with diabetes type 2.
The research findings has sparked interest in the development of a new chamomile-based drug, which is hoped to curb complications including loss of vision, nerve damage, and kidney damage.
Type 2 diabetes has now reached epidemic levels in the UK with a similar pattern being established in the rest of developed world. Formerly referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, the metabolic disorder is defined as an insulin deficient condition that can cause hyperglycemia. It is a disorder that is preventable and managed through exercise and changes in diet, but as the disorder progresses, the patient is usually prescribed insulin.
Previously, adults aged over 40 years were candidates for the disease, however, it is increasingly diagnosed in children and adolescents, with a supposed link to obesity levels.
The recent study, conducted by Atsushi Kato et al. recognised that chamomile has been used as a traditional generic medicine for many years. Used to treat conditions such as inflammation, skin diseases, wounds, gout , and ulcers, it has also been implicated as an effective suppressant of cancer cell growth.
Although its use in the treatment of diabetes had been hypothesised in the past, its benefit as a medicinal therapy has now produced convincing results. A supplement of chamomile extract was given to a group of diabetic rats for 21 days. At the end of this period, the group showed a significant decrease in blood glucose levels, compared with the non-supplemented rats. The chamomile was also found to inhibit ALR2 enzymes and sorbital (increased levels of these components are linked to the complications associated with diabetes). The report states: “These results clearly suggested that daily consumption of chamomile tea with meals could contribute to the prevention of the progress of hyperglycemia and diabetic complications”.
However, Dr Victoria King, from the charity Diabetes UK, warned: “More research would be needed before we can come to any firm conclusions about the role chamomile tea plays in fighting diabetes-related complications.” She added: “Diabetes UK wouldn’t recommend people with diabetes increase their chamomile tea intake just yet.
“Eating a healthy balanced diet, taking regular physical activity and adhering to any prescribed medicines remain key ways to effectively control blood glucose levels, blood pressure and blood fats.” Said King, “Good diabetes management will help reduce the risk of serious complications such as heart disease, stroke and blindness.”
The study is published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.