Scientists at the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) have found leaves of dhaincha (Sesbania bispinosa) -- a plant grown for fodder and as a green manure -- is a good source of pinitol, an anti-diabetic compound.
In a paper published in Current Science (Vol 87, No 11), scientists L N Misra and S A Siddiqui reported they could extract pinitol from sun-dried leaves of dhaincha. CIMAP has patented the process. Says Misra, "Being a fast growing plant even in poor soil and with huge herbage, dhaincha should be a promising crop for producing pinitol."
Found mainly in certain leguminous (pod-bearing) plants, pinitol was first isolated by US scientists in 1996 from the leaves of bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis) plants.
The US scientists had found pinitol quite effective in treating resistance to insulin (a hormone that regulates break down of sugar). Insulin resistance can lead to a build up of glucose in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar or Type 2 diabetes.
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