With high rates of obesity and associated incidences of cancer, heart disease and diabetes on the rise across the World, particularly in western countries, there has been a major drive to find new treatment options.
The scientists from Germany recently found that extracts of a traditional herbal remedy, derived from ‘Tabebuia impetiginosa’ can actually delay the absorption of dietary fat in animal models.
The results that were presented by Dr. Nils Roos and his team showed that Tabebuia extract reduces high levels of triglycerides in rats that were fed with fatty meal.
Dr. Roos explains that this result indicates that the extract could possibly help in treating obesity. As for diabetes and coronary heart disease, it is associated with high triglyceride levels after eating, and hence a food supplement derived from Tabebuia may reduce the incidences of these diseases too. Moreover, with obesity commonly found in developing countries, these extracts when taken in capsule form or added to food, may be a cheaper alternative for rural population.
However, although Tabebuia extract can inhibit absorption of dietary fat, the scientists are yet to identify the exact compounds within the extract that are responsible for the effects. The actual substances involved are more active than the extract.
According to Dr. Roos, these compounds are currently being identified, and their long-term efficacy and safety in miniature pigs, whose physiology is similar to that of humans is being tested before proceeding onto human trials.
Dr.Roos concludes that the extract may be developed either as a food supplement or in a medical context.