Background of the Study
Diabetes mellitus is a serious metabolic disorder wherein the person has high blood glucose level either due to inadequate insulin production or the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin (Nordqvist, 2010). There are three main types of diabetes namely Type I (insulin-dependent), Type II, and gestational diabetes. All these types are characterized by hyperglycemia or high blood glucose level. A person with diabetes may experience many symptoms such as high blood sugar, high glucose content in urine, weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, infections, blurred vision, and lethargy or coma (NDIC, 2013).
Diabetes is continuing to be a major health problem in the world. The number of people with diabetes is increasing because of population growth, aging, urbanization, and increasing prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity. Globally in, 382 million people have diabetes in 2013 and by 2035, it is projected to rise to 592 million (IDF, 2013). Approximately 90% of diabetes cases worldwide are type II. Diabetes is the main cause of blindness, amputation, and kidney failure and the WHO projects that it will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. In 2010, an estimated 3.4 million people died due to the consequences of high blood sugar (WHO, 2013). Diabetes was the ninth leading cause of death from 1999 to 2002 in the Philippines. As of 2005, diabetes affected one in every 25 Filipinos. In the Philippines, there were 3.4 million diabetes cases in 2010, representing a prevalence rate of 7.7 percent and by 2030, the prevalence rate is projected to rise to 8.9 percent or 6.16 million cases (Valisno, 2013).
At present, the management of diabetes is still a global problem and a successful treatment is not yet discovered. Although a lot of diabetes drugs are already available commercially, many people are still seeking for less expensive and safer treatments. The commercially available diabetes medications such as insulin are costly and have different side effects. The World Health Organization recommends the use of traditional and plant based medicine for the management of diabetes mellitus (WHO, 1994). The Department of Health (Philippines) is also promoting the use of herbal medicine as an alternative treatment for diabetes. It advocates the rational use of safe and effective medicinal plants by the public and health care providers (NIH, 2010). Herbal medicine (botanical medicine or phytomedicine) refers to using a plant's seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbal medicine is an alternative method for treating diabetes due to their perceived effectiveness, safety, affordability, and acceptability with minimal side effects in clinical experience (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2013). Thus it is important to study plants in order to produce natural hypoglycemic agents.
This research aims to find out if Gynura procumbens (Lour.) Merr. (Sabungai) leaf extract is an...