Popularly called by researchers as ‘Plant Insulin’. M. charantia has been so named because the fruit contains a polypeptide made of 17 amino acids out of which 16 are similar to crystalline insulin of 1,2 bovine origin which has also been found to be effective in clinical 3,4 trials in primary diabetes . Understandably most of the anti-5 diabetic actions of M. charantia are insulin-like , due to polypeptide & charantin:

  • Decreases glycogenolysis.
  • Decreases gluconeogenesis.
  • Retards proteolysis & promotes protein synthesis.
  • Retards lipolysis & promotes storage of fatty acids Thus, M.
    charantia exerts its corrective influence in controlling diabetes
    by normalising the insulin deficiency status.

An alternative hypothesis suggests the mediation of anti-diabetic action of M. charantia through its role as a potent scavenger of superoxides & hydroxyl radicals. These radicals have been clearly 6 indicated as causative factors of the diabetic condition. indeed, the body itself possesses enzymes such as a superoxide dismutase which routinely protect the B-cells in pancreas through their 7,8,9 scavenging action. The free radical scavenging anti-diabetic role of M. charantia suggests an additional prophylactic role as many diabetogenic chemicals like alloxan, streptozotocin, pyrinuron, 10,11 food nitrosoamines, cyanogenic glycosides such as linarnarin & other sources of dietary cyanide induce diabetes through damage. 12 to pancreatic B-cells via free radical generation.

I -CH(CH3)2 B-D-glucoside
II -(CH )C=CH B-glucosyl

B-sitosterol B-D-glucoside (1) and a new 5,25-stigmastadiene – 3-B-ol-B-D- glucoside (II) named as Charantin.