The dahlia plant may have proved it is more than just a pretty face with researchers finding the garden flower could aid in the prevention treatment of diabetes.
Diabetes blood-sugar test
Source: 1 NEWS
The University of Otago study found an extract from a specific variety of dahlia considerably reduces blood-glucose levels in mice.
Researchers now want to begin the first human trial of the supplement and are looking for at least 20 men in the Wellington area, aged between 18 and 65, with early warning signs of diabetes, known as prediabetes.
University of Otago endocrinologist Jeremy Krebs says the product could help the 25 per cent of the adult population who have prediabetes.
"Seventy per cent of people with prediabetes will go on to develop diabetes at some time if they don't do anything about it. So it is a time when there is a chance to reverse the process," he said.
Dr Krebs said there had been no observed side effects from high doses or prolonged intake of dahlias, and it had been recognised as safe by the Australian Therapeutic Administration.
"It is a natural extract from an edible plant, so we can anticipate it to be very safe," he said.
Fellow researcher Dr Alexander Tups said if the extract was taken early enough, it could stop the onset of diabetes.
"It might be prescribed together with lifestyle interventions but possibly it may even stop the progression to diabetes if taken on its own," he said.
The product is still in the development stages but has already sparked interest from New Zealand and overseas pharmaceutical companies.
Those, who fit the criteria and are interested in participating, should contact the Endocrine, Diabetes and Research Centre at Wellington Hospital.