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Insulin Plant (Costus igneus)


  Insulin Plant (Costus igneus)

  Costus igneus a medicinal plant is a Magic Cure for Diabetes. Its leaves helps to build up insulin in the human body so it is commonly known as insulin plant in India This plant was grown in America and is becoming popular in India because of its medicinal chemicals. It is now accepted and used widely as an Ayurvedic medicinal herb. Consumption of the leaves are believed to lower blood glucose levels, and diabetics who consumed the leaves of this plant did report a fall in their blood glucose levels.

     Costus igneus plant leaves

   Costus igneus plant leaves

  Insulin Plant

  Insulin plant (Costus igneus) is native to Southeast Asia, especially on the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is a relatively new entrant to Kerala and India. The plant is characterized by large fleshy looking leaves. The undersides of these  large, smooth, dark green leaves have light purple shade. The leaves are spirally arranged around the stem, forming attractive, arching clumps arising from underground rootstocks.

  Costus igneus plant flower

 Costus igneus plant flower

The maximum height of these plants is about two feet. The flowers are orange in color and are beautiful, 1.5-inch diameter. Flowering occurs during the warm months. And they appear to be cone-like heads at the tips of branches. The flower petals are quite sweet and nutritious. It's a lower grower and makes a great ground cover. The long red flower spikes of Costus pulverulentus are unique to the family.

  Costus igneus plant grows very quickly. Propagation of this plant is by stem cutting. It needs sunshine but it also grows in slightly shady areas. Costus does not have a problem with pests and diseases. Outdoor plants might be chewed by caterpillars, and in indoors plants might be affected by red spider mite.

Common name

  Botanical name: - Costus igneus. Costus igneus common name is *Fiery Costus* or *Spiral Flag*, is a species of herbaceous plant in the Costaceae family.  Insulin plant (Costus igneus) common name in Hindi is keukand and in Gujarati - pakarmula.  In Marathi, Malayalam and Sanskrit is -  pushkarmula  and in Tamil is kostam

  Medicinal use

 In Ayurvedic treatment diabetes patients are advised to chew down the Insulin plants leaves for a month. The patient has to take two leaves per day in the morning and evening for one week. The leaves must be chewed well before swallowing. After one week the patient should take one leaf each in the morning and evening. This dosage should be continued for 30 days. Allopathic doctors too recommend it and it is found to be effective in bringing blood sugar levels under completely under control. There is also dried and ground powder of the leaves now available in the market.

 In Traditional Medicine it is also used to  Promotes longevity, Treats rash,  Reduces fever, Treats asthma , Treats bronchitis and to  Eliminates intestinal worms. This  plant is mentioned in the Kama Sutra as an ingredient in a cosmetic to be used on the eyelashes to increase sexual attractiveness.

What is Insulin?

  Insulin is a peptide hormone, produced by beta cells of the pancreas to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood. In the liver and skeletal muscles, glucose is stored as glycogen, and in fat cells (adipocytes) stored as triglycerides .Insulin stops the use of fat as an energy source by inhibiting the release of glucagon .

  With the exception of the metabolic disorder diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome, insulin is provided within the body in a constant proportion to remove excess glucose from the blood, which otherwise would be toxic. When blood glucose levels fall below a certain level, the body begins to use stored sugar as an energy source through glycogenolysis, which breaks down the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles into glucose, which can then be utilized as an energy source. As a central metabolic control mechanism, its status is also used as a control signal to other body systems (such as amino acid uptake by body cells). It has several other anabolic effects throughout the body.

  When control of insulin levels fails, diabetes mellitus can result. As a consequence, insulin is used medically to treat some forms of diabetes mellitus. Patients with type 1 diabetes depend on external insulin ( commonly injected subcutaneously) for their survival because the hormone is no longer produced internally. Patients with type 2 diabetes are often insulin resistant and, because of such resistance, may suffer from a "relative" insulin deficiency. Some patients with type 2 diabetes may eventually require insulin if other medications fail to control blood glucose levels adequately. Over 40% of those with Type 2 diabetes require insulin as part of their diabetes management plan. The human insulin protein is composed of 51 amino acids.

  In 1923 J. B Collip and C.H. Best received Nobel Prize for Medicine for co-discovery of insulin with Banting and MacLeod. Pancreatic insulin was discovered in 1921-1922 and insulin was established as the universal drug for the treatment of diabetes. Right after the discovery of insulin, J. B. Collip and C. H. Best reported the presence of insulin-like substances in plant materials like green tops of onions, lettuce leaves, green bean leaves, barley roots, etc.


 According to International Journal of Ayurveda Research a new study on Insulin plant (Costus igneus) was published recently. The leaves of insulin plant (Costus igneus) reduced the fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels, bringing them down towards normal, in dexamethasone-induced hyperglycemia in rats. Reduction in the fasting and the postprandial blood sugar levels with leaves of insulin plant was comparable with that obtained with Glibenclamide 500 g/kg at 250 mg/kg/day and 500 mg/kg/day of powdered leaves of the insulin plant (Costus igneus).


 1. Devi VD, Urooj A (August 2008). "Hypoglycemic potential of Morus indica.. L and  Costus igneus./ Nak.A preliminary study"
  2. Arun N, Udhaya A & Rajaguru P (December 2011). "In vitro  root induction and studies on antibacterial activity of root extract of Costus igneus on clinically important human pathogens." 
  3. Babu V, Gangadevi T, Subramonium A. Antidiabetic activity of ethanol extract of Cassia "Kleinii"  leaf in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats and isolation of an active fraction and toxicity evaluation of the extract. Indian J Pharmacol. 2003 
  4. Sathyaprakash R, Henry RR. Preventing diabetes by treating aspects of the metabolic syndrome.

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