Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), a possible intervention for diabetes
KAV Sumudunie, DI Uluwaduge, J Wijayabandara, GAS Premakumara
Okra or Lady’s fingers (Abelmoschus esculentus, synonym; Hibiscus esculentus) is a popular vegetable of the Malvaceae family. Several pharmaceutical benefits of okra fruit have been documented. Nevertheless, only a little attention has paid on the therapeutic use of this vegetable. Okra is prepared in various recipes throughout the world. This study investigated the blood glucose regulating effect of mucilage of okra (crude water extract) with a view to improve the therapeutic use while cooking. Crude water extract (500 and 1000 mg/kg body weight), hot water extract (500 mg/kg body weight) and the water fraction of okra (50 mg/kg body weight) was provided to normoglycaemic rats for one week. The effect of treatment of okra fruit (500 mg/kg body weight) on serum glucose levels of rats subjected to a glucose challenge was also determined. Crude water extract (500 and1000 mg) and the water fraction of okra (50 mg) had the potential to reduce (p< 0.01) serum glucose levels of rats in the test group. The maximum hypoglycaemic effect was shown by 500mg/ kg dose which is equivalent to the human therapeutic dose. The hot water extract was not effective in reducing blood glucose levels of normoglycaemic, rats. The present study confirms that the fruit of okra possess hypoglycaemic and antihyperglycaemic properties. Application of mild heat, while cooking is needed to preserve the therapeutic efficacy.