Scientists in West Bengal claim that the seeds of the big leaf mahogany tree, that are used to treat diabetes in folk medicines, are non-toxic and safe natural product.
Scientists at the department of Food Technology and Biochemical Engineering at the Jadavpur University say they have clinching evidence that the seeds of the mahogany may be a potent non-toxic addition to the arsenal of safe natural products for the treatment of diabetes -- a major metabolic disorder of recent time.
Local people of East Midnapore, West Bengal, use a crude concentrated extract of its seeds for diabetes treatment.
"In the animal model-based toxicity study, aqueous (water-based) extracts of the seeds were repeatedly given orally to groups of Wister albino rats for a period of 28 days, at levels of 0, 500, 1500 and 2000 mg per kg of body weight," says Utpal Raychaudhuri of the Jadavpur University.
According to the study published in 2012 in the Science and Culture Journal - a journal published by the Indian Science News Association - the extract did not produce any mortality in the animals even up to the dose level of 2,000 mg a kg.
Also, the results of various blood and biochemical tests were normal. Further no changes were noticed in the liver, intestine, heart, kidney and stomach of the animals.
According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes mellitus or simply diabetes is a major metabolic disorder of recent time.
It may trigger major complications such as hypoglycemia (where blood sugar - glucose - is too low) or cardiovascular (heart-related) problems.
Plant constituents with the ability to prevent diabetes-related complications provide an encouraging prospect, but it is of paramount importance to test them for any toxic effects.
One of such plants is the big leaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) - a beautiful, lofty, evergreen tree native to central America, Mexico, south America and India.
The seeds of the big leaf mahogany may, therefore, be a potent non-toxic addition to the arsenal of safe natural products in the battle against diabetes.