Ayurveda has always offered treatment for diabetes. While many religiously sought it and claimed to benefit from it, there was no actual scientific proof to strengthen the claim. However, detailed and systematic research into the ‘Bhasmas’ or metallic preparations unique to the healthcare tradition of Ayurveda has helped develop an innovative nano-particle-based drug as a treatment for diabetes.
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What is Bhasma?
The powdery preparation called Bhasma is a tradition with Ayurveda and is used for the treatment of several conditions. Bhasma literally means ‘ash’ and is prepared from metals that go through a purification and incineration process that reduces them to ash. Of these, Jasada Bhasma based on the ash of zinc is indicated as a treatment for diabetes.
According to the study made by researchers at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) in Pune, the nano-medicine can be used to treat both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes. The results of the study were published in a recent issue of the journal “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine”.
During this proof-of-concept study that was carried out in laboratory rats with chemically induced diabetes, zinc oxide nano particles (ZON) was orally administered and resulted in a significant reduction of blood glucose levels and increased insulin levels. Treatment with Jasada Bhasma reduced a blood sugar levels in rats with Type-1 diabetes, its effect being comparable to the popularly administered drug glibenclamide.
Meanwhile, the response in rats with Type-2 diabetes, treated with Jasada Bhasma was found comparable to those treated with the drug pioglitazone.
However, production of Jasada Bhasma is a laborious and time-consuming process. Therefore, researchers studied the composition of the Bhasma and isolated ZON as the ingredient that exerted anti-diabetic properties.
Further research needs to be done before ZON is developed as an anti-diabetic agent and marketed as a treatment for diabetes. The need of the hour is a single cost-effective oral drug that can effectively combat diabetes. Once the active-ingredients of Jasada Bhasma are identified and a way discovered to process it by simple methods, it can be officially marketed as a treatment for diabetes. This can also lead to the synthesis of other metal based medicines for treating other serious ailments.