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Trials indicate Kokum may reduce sugar levels

Bangalore, July 15, 2013, DHNS: 1:45 IST
A study conducted by scientist B S Chandrashekhar and his team from the Bangalore-based Institute of Wood Science Technology has found that Garcinia indica Choisy, commonly known as Kokum, could bring down sugar levels.

Two separate pharmacological evaluations conducted on albino rats has showed significant reduction in glucose levels. “For the evaluation purpose, albino rats were used for glucose tolerance and alloxan (toxic glucose) was induced for diabetic tests. Later, these rats were fed with Kokum extracts orally using syringe and it was found that the sugar levels in these animals had reduced to nearly 49.71 percent,” Chandrashekar said.

The experiment is still in its infant stage as this was just the phase I of the pharmacological evaluation as further research including toxicity studies and clinical trials are planned in phase II of the project. But, the project funded by the Union Government seems to have been stalled due to lack of money. Once funds are released, the project can be restarted and concluded with concrete evidence, he added.

The Kokum fruit, which is largely used in the coastal districts of the state, is extensively used in the form of squash drink (sherbet), bright red in colour. The Kokum fruit that is not much popular in Bangalore-Mysore region is also considered a good cooling agent which improves digestion. People in the coastal districts of the state often use it as a supplement to tamarind.

‘Evidence needed’

Commenting on the Kokum research, Dr Dhanya Kumar, director, Health and Family Welfare, said that unless the research is proved with evidence, the government will not take anything into account. “Even in terms of using food supplements, we will only recommend those which have been approved by the therapeutic committee,” he added.

However, if the study proves that the fruit is efficient in controlling sugar levels, it could be a boon for residents of Bangalore, the diabetic capital of the country.

According to officials from the Health and Family Welfare department, the government does not have statistics on the number of diabetics in the State. But, under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS), in Shimoga, Kolar, Tumkur, Chikamagalur and Udupi districts, over 16.5 lakh persons were screened and nearly 9.5 lakh of them were found to be diabetics. These diabetics are being supplied free drugs at the public health and community health centres.

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