Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found a chemical in the fruit of a Gardenia used in traditional Chinese medicine that may provide a treatment for type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, is at epidemic proportions among Americans and continues to increase. However, type 2 diabetes may also affect children and may also require treatment with insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas often makes enough insulin, but the body has trouble using it. Type 2 diabetes frequently responds well to natural therapies.
People with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease, atherosclerosis, cataracts, retinopathy, stroke, poor wound healing, infections, and damage to the kidneys and nerves. There are no current drug based therapies for curing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers have uncovered a specific compound in the fruit of the gardenia that may block certain chemical processes in the body that trigger the disease. The experiments were conducted on mice. The study found that a small molecule fount in the plant, genipin, helps the body better regulate, at a cellular level, the sugar and insulin production that can result in diabetes.