World Journal of Nutrition and Health
ISSN (Print): 2379-7819 ISSN (Online): 2379-7827 Website: Editor-in-chief: Srinivas NAMMI
Open Access
Journal Browser
World Journal of Nutrition and Health. 2019, 7(1), 18-22
DOI: 10.12691/jnh-7-1-4
Open AccessReview Article

Antidiabetic Herbs and Spices

ADENIYI Paulina O.1, and SANUSI Rasaki A.2

1Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Obafemi Awolowo University, Apata, Ibadan, Nigeria

2Department of Human Nutrition, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Pub. Date: July 01, 2019

Cite this paper:
ADENIYI Paulina O. and SANUSI Rasaki A.. Antidiabetic Herbs and Spices. World Journal of Nutrition and Health. 2019; 7(1):18-22. doi: 10.12691/jnh-7-1-4


The increasing prevalence of diabetes mellitus is gradually becoming a public health threat globally. Most existing therapeutic regimens are not without limitations and constraints, hence, the need for easy, feasible and cost effective alternative cannot be overemphasized. Some herbs and spices have been observed to exert antidiabetic activity. This review therefore compiles antidiabetic herbs and spices with the places of origin, conditions for growth, culinary uses and mechanisms of action of the antidiabetic effect with a view of encouraging their possible use as an antidiabetic food adjunct in cuisines towards the prevention and management of the diabetes. The search engines accessed were Google Scholar, Scopus, HINARI and PubMed. Antidiabetic herbs and spices compiled include; African nutmeg, Basil, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Curry leaves, Dandelion, Dill, Fenugreek seeds, Garlic, Ginger, Mustard seed, Nutmeg, Onion, Rosemary and Turmeric. Some of these are most suitable only in savoury dishes while others are applicable in both sweet and savoury dishes. The possible mechanisms of the antidiabetic activity are: inhibition of the activities of α-amylase, α-glucosidase, hexokinase, Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), glycogenolytic and gluconeogenic enzymes; activation of antioxidant enzymes, Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK); free radical scavenging activity; mimicry of insulin action; enhancement of insulin secretion; enhancement of Glucose transporter-4 (GLUT-4) translocation and antiplatelet activity. Some herbs and spices are indeed antidiabetic. However, their application in cuisines could be an easy, feasible and cost effective measure to prevent and manage diabetes globally.

diabetes herbs spices mechanism of action

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Wild S., Roglic G., Green A., Sicree R., and King H. (2004). Global prevalence of diabetes: Estimates for the year 2000 and projection for 2030. Diabetes Care; 27(5): 1047-1053.
[2]  Shaw J.E., Sicree R.A. and Zimmet P.Z. (2010). Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2010 and 2030. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice; 87(1): 4-14.
[3]  Whiting D.R., Guariguata L., Weil C. and Shaw J. (2011). IDF Diabetes Atlas: Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2011 and 2030. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice; 94(3): 311-321.
[4]  Russell-Jones D.and Khan R. (2007), Insulin-associated weight gain in diabetes- causes, effects and coping strategies. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; 9(6): 799-812.
[5]  Ratner R.E., Gough S.C.L., Mathieu C., Prato S.D., Bode B., Mersebach H. et al., (2013). Hypoglycemia risk with insulin degludec compared with insulin glargine in type 2 and type 1 diabetes: a pre-planned meta-analysisof phase 3 trials. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; 15(2): 175-184.
[6]  Tillner J., Posch M.G., Wagner F., Teichert L., Hijazi Y., Einig C., et al (2019). A novel dual glucagon-like peptide and glucagon receptor agonist SAR425899: Results of randomized, placebo-controlled first-in-human and first-in-patient trials. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; 21(1): 120-128.
[7]  Weiss E.A. (2002). Spice crops. CABI Publishing, England, pp102-103.
[8]  Barwick M. (2004). Tropical and Subtropical Trees- A worldwide Encyclopaedia Guide. Thames and Hudson, London.
[9]  Okonji R.E., Akinwumi K.F., Madu J.O., Bamidele F.S. and Funmilola A. (2014). In vitro study on α-amylase inhibitory activities of Digitaria exilis, Pentadiplandra brazzeana (Baill) and Monodora myristica. International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences; 8(5): 2306-2313.
[10]  Markinen S.M. and Paakkonen K.K. (1999). Processing and use of Basil in foodstuffs, beverages and in food preparation, In Basil: The Genus Ocimum. Harwood Academic Publishing, United Kingdom, pp 142-157.
[11]  Kadan S., Saad B., Sasson Y. and Zaid H. (2016). In vitro evaluation of antidiabetic activity and cytotoxicity of chemically analysed Ocimum basilicum extracts. Food Chemistry; 196(1): 1066-1074.
[12]  El-Beshbishy H.A. and Bahashwan S.A. (2012). Hypoglycemic effect of basil (Ocimum basilicum) aqueous extract is mediated through inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase activities: An in vitro study. Toxicology and Industrial Health; 28(1): 42-50.
[13]  Lin G.M., Hsu C.Y. and Chang S.T. (2018). Antihyperglycemic activities of twig extract of indigenous cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum) on high-fat diet and streptozocin-induced hyperglycaemic rats. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture; 98(15): 5908-5915.
[14]  Beji R.S., Khemir S., Wannes W.A., Ayari K. and Ksouri R. (2018). Antidiabetic, antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant influences of the spice cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicumon) in experimental rats. Brazilian Journal of Pharceutical Science; 54(2).
[15]  Milind P. and Deepa K. (2011). Clove: A champion spice. International Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Pharmacy; 2(1): 47-54.
[16]  Tahir H.U., Sarfraz R.A., Ashraf A. and Adil S. (2016). Chemical composition and antidiabetic activity of essential oils obtained from two spices (Syzygium aromaticum and Cuminum cyminum). International Journal of Food Properties; 19(10): 2156-2164.
[17]  Prasad R.C., Herzog B., Boone B., Sims L. and Law M.W. (2005). An extract of Syzygium aromaticum represses genes encoding hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology; 96(1-2): 295-301.
[18]  Carrubba A., la Torre R. and Calabrese I. (2002). Cultivation trials of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) in a semi arid Mediterranean environment. Acta Hortic; 576: 237-242.
[19]  Aligita W., Susilawati E., Septiani H. and Atsil R. (2018). Antidiabetic activity of coriander (Coriandrm sativum L.) leaves’ ethanolic extract. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Phytopharmacological Research; 8(2): 59-63.
[20]  Aissaoui A., Zizi S., Israili Z.H., and Lyoussi B. (2011). Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of Coriandrum sativum L. in Meriones shawi rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology; 137(1): 652-61.
[21]  Mohamed D.A., Hamed I.M. and Fouda K.A. (2018). Antioxidant and antidiabetic effect of cumin seeds crude ethanol extract. Journal of Biological Sciences; 18: 251-259.
[22]  Al-Ani I.M., Santosa R.I., Yankuzo M.H., Saxena A.K. and Alazzawi K.S. (2017). The antidiabetic activity of curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) on the glucose levels, kidneys and islets of Langerhans with streptozocin-induced diabetes. Makara Journal of Health Research; 21(2): 54-60.
[23]  Gangwar R. and Rao C.H. (2017). Antidiabetic efficacy of Murraya koenigii in streptozocin-induced diabetes mellitus in albino Wistar rats. Journal of Scientific Research in Allied Sciences; 3(6): 442-451.
[24]  Escudero N.L., De Arellano M.L., Fernandez S., Albarracih G. and Mucciarelli S. (2003). Taraxacum officinale as a food source. Plnt Foods for Human Nutrition; 58(3): 1-10.
[25]  Choi J., Yoon K.D. and Kim J. (2018). Chemical constituents from Taraxacum officinale and their α-glucosidase inhibitory activities. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters; 28(3): 476-481.
[26]  Mir M.A., Sawhney S.S. and Jassal M.M.S. (2015). In vitro antidiabetic studies of various extracts of Taraxacum officinale. The Pharma Innovation; 4(1): 61-66.
[27]  Oshaghi E.A., Khodadadi I., Tavilani H. and Goodarzi M.T. (2016). Aqueous extract of Anethum graveolens L. has potential antioxidant and antiglycation effects. Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences; 41(4): 328-333.
[28]  Mehrafarin A., Rezazadeh S., Naghdi B.H., Noormohammadi G., Zand E. and Qaderi A.A. (2011). A review on biology, cultivation and biotechnology of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) as a valuable medicinal plant and multipurpose. Journal of Medicinal Plants; 1(37): 6-24.
[29]  Charles D.J. (2012). Antioxidant properties of spices, herbs and other sources. In: Fenugreek. Sprringer, New York, U.S.A. pp 295-303.
[30]  Herrera T., del Hierro J.N., Fornari T., Reglero G. and Martin D. (2019). Inhibitory effect of quinoa and fenugreek extracts on pancreatic lipase and α-amylase in vitro traditional conditions and intestinal stimulated conditions. Food Chemistry; 270(1): 509-517.
[31]  Fernando W.T., Attanayake A.M.K.C., Perera H.K.I., Sivakanesan R., Jayasinghe L., Araya H. and Fujimoto Y. (2019). Isolation, identification and characterization of pancreatic lipase inhibitors from Trigonella foenum-graecum seeds. South African Journal of Botany; 121: 418-421.
[32]  Hajra D. and Paul S. (2018). Study of glucose uptake enhancing potential of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) leaves extract on 3T3-L1 cells line and evaluation of its antioxidant potential. Pharmacognosy Research; 10(4): 347-353.
[33]  Kamenetsky R. (2007). Garlic: Botany and Horticulture. In: Horticulture Reviews, Ed. Janick J.. John Wiley and Sons Publishing, New Jersey, U.S.A. Volume 33; p 123-138.
[34]  Oboh G., Ademiluyi A.O., Agunloye O.M., Ademosun A.O. and Ogunsakin B.G. (2018). Inhibitory effect of garlic, purple onion and white onion on key enzymes linked with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Journal of Dietary Supplements.
[35]  Chongtham T., Chatterjee K., HYNANITE V., Chattopadhyay P.K. and Khan S.A. (2013). Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) germplasm evaluation for yield and quality in southern West Bengal .Journal of Spices and Aromatic Crops; 22(1): 88-90.
[36]  Adeniyi P.O., Sanusi R.A. and Obatolu V.A. (2014). Effect of raw and cooked ginger (Zingiber officinale) extracts on serum insulin in normal and diabetic rats. International Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2(4): 69-73.
[37]  Adeniyi P.O., Sanusi R.A. and Obatolu V.A. (2017). Dietary ginger extracts enhanced glucose uptake by muscle and adipose of normal and diabetic rats via mimicry of insulin action. American Journal of Biomedical Research; 5(3): 46-56.
[38]  Shekhawat K., Rathore S.S., Premi O.P., Kandpal B.K. and Chauhan J.S. (2012). Advances in agronomic management of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.): An overview. International Journal of Agronomy; 2012.
[39]  Khan B.A., Abraham A. and Leelamma S., (1995). Hypoglycemic action of Murraya koenigii (curry leaf) and Brassica juncea (mustard): mechanism of action. Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics; 32(2): 106-108.
[40]  Thirumalai T., Therasa S.V., Elumalai E.K. and David E. (2011). Hypoglycemic effect of Brassica juncea seeds on streptozocin-induced diabetic male albino rats. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine; 1(4): 323-325.
[41]  Brixius D. (2018). A hard nut to crack: nutmeg cultivation and the application of natural history between the Maluku islands and Isle de France (1750s-1780s). The British Journal for the History of Science; 51(4): 585-606.
[42]  Muchtarich M., Low K. and Lestari K. (2016). The in silico study of nutmeg seeds (Myristica fragrans Houtt) as peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma activator using 3D-QSAR pharmacophore modelling. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science; 6(9): 48-53.
[43]  Ko E.Y., Nile S.H., Tung Y.S. and Keum Y.S. (2018). Antioxidant and antiplatelet potential of different methanol fractions and flavolols extracted from onion (Allium cepa L.). Biotechnology; 8: 155.
[44]  Gavan-Capararros P., Llanderal A., Rodriguez J.C., Maksimovic I., Urrestarazu M. and Lao M.T. (2018). Rosemary growth and nutrient balance: leachate fertigation with leachates versus conventional fertigation. Scientia Horticulture; 242(19): 62-68.
[45]  Salim B., Hocine A. and Said G. (2017). First study on antidiabetic effect of Rosemary and Salvia by using molecular docking. Arabian Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants; 5(6): 56-71.
[46]  Naimi M., Vlavcheski F., Murphy B., Hudlicky T. and Tsiani E. (2017). Carnosic acid as a component of rosemary extract stimulates skeletal uscle cell glucose uptake via AMPK activation. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology; 44(1): 94-102.
[47]  Choudhary V.K. and Sureshkumar P. (2019). Weed suppression, nutrient leaching, water use and yield of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) under different land configurations and mulches. Journal of Cleaner Production; 210: 795-803.
[48]  Prasad S. and Aggarwal B.B. (2011). Turmeric, the golden spice. In : Traditional medicine to modern medicine. Taylor and Francis Publishing, England, United Kingdom. Chapter 13, pp 843-917.
[49]  Wojcik M., Krawczyk M. and Wozniak L.A. (2018). Antidiabetic activity of curcumin: insight into its mechanisms of action. Nutritional and Therapeutic Interventions for Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome; 2: 385-401.
[50]  Pujimulyani D., Yahanto W.A., Setyawati A., Arumwardana S, Amalia A., Annisa K. et al. (2018). Amylase inhibition and free radical scavenging activities of white turmeric extract and fractions. Journal of Food Technology and Industry; 29(1): 10-18.