Egyptian scientists to make diabetes drug from bitter fruit
[CAIRO] Bitter gourd, a plant long held to have anti-diabetic properties, is to be turned into tablets that Egyptian scientists hope will provide an alternative to insulin injections.
A national pharmaceutical company and the National Research Centre (NRC) signed a contract last month for the manufacture of a drug based on an extract from the fruit, which is also known as balsam pear (Momordica charantia).
The deal follows research done by the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Department of the NRC.
Souad El Gengaihi, professor of medicinal and aromatic plants at the NRC, and lead researcher on the new treatment, told SciDev.Net that balsam pear, which grows in Asia and parts of Latin America in hot, sandy locations, is traditionally used in Asian medicine.
“Its most basic use is to help with gastrointestinal issues, but many studies done in different countries have shown that it can help people who are coping with diabetes,” she said.
Traditionally known as desert melons. Bitter Gourd, or حنضل, grows all over south Sinai and is used medicinally by the Bedouin to treat arthritis, as well as other ailments.