Before the discovery of insulin in the early 1920s and the later development of oral hypoglycaemic agents, the major form of treatment of diabetes mellitus involved starvation, dietary manipulation and the use of plant therapies. More than 400 plants worldwide have been documented as beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. However, most of these await proper scientific or medical evaluation, and the World Health Organization (1980) has recommended accordingly that assessment of traditional plant treatments for diabetes merits further investigation.
Coriandrum sativum (coriander) has been reported to have a number of possible medicinal attributes including antispasmodic, carminitive and stomachic properties. Additionally, coriander has been advocated as an anti-diabetic remedy. More recent studies have confirmed the antihyperglycaemic effect of coriander in streptozotocin-diabetic mice, suggesting that further studies are warranted on the antihyperglycaemic actions of this plant. Anti-diabetic agents can exert beneficial effects in the diabetic environment by improving and/ or mimicking insulin action and/or by enhancing insulin secretion. To understand better the mechanisms by which coriander ameliorates hyperglycaemia, the present study investigated in vitro actions of aqueous extracts of coriander on glucose metabolism by isolated murine abdominal muscle and on insulin secretion by a clonal B-cell line (BRIN-BD11).