Houm Plant Extract (Ephedra), An Iranian Traditional Remedy for Insulin Resistance

  • Elham Ehrampoush
  • Amin Koohpayeh
  • Noushid Zare
  • Layla Shojaie
  • Reza Homayounfar
  • Amin Almasi
  • Saied Taghizade
  • Reza Alipoor
Keywords: Ephedra, insulin resistance, cholesterol, rat


Objectives: Houm plant (ephedra) extract for many years has been used in traditional Iranian medicine for the treatment of heart problems and diabetes. The objective of this study was to determine the short- and long-term effects of this extract on weight, lipid profile, and insulin sensitivity. Material and Method: In a randomized experimental study five groups of rats received high- calorie and high-fat diet, with 416 calorie energy per 100 grams. For three groups, Houm extract of 5, 30, and 100 mg was started at the end of the 4th week in the form of gavage feeding, while 150 mg of Houm extract was given to one group in the form of acute dose. One of the groups received high-calorie and high-fat diet without intervention, while another group was the control group. Results: Receiving Houm extract at 5, 30, and 100 mg dose reduced the weight gain trend, while 150 mg of Houm extract reduced weight compared to high energy diet (306.00±57.34 vs. 348.00±43.73 P.value<0.05). 5 and 30 mg groups did not cause significant changes in lipid profile, blood sugar, and insulin. Further, 100 mg dose of Houm extract reduced the cholesterol level (56.40±6.50 vs. 63.54±8.39; P.value<0.05) and the insulin level (2.78±1.19 vs. 3.90±1.45 P.value<0.05). The acute dose of 150 mg of Houm significantly reduced cholesterol, triglyceride, and HDL levels. In this group, insulin significantly decreased (2.66±0.63 vs. 3.90±1.45 P.value<0.05). Conclusions: Houm extract could be used as a supplement to optimize lipid profile, sensitize tissues to insulin, and reduce weight in emergency cases.


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Original Research