There is a global increase in the incidence of diabetes mellitus (DM). Hyperglycemia is one of the prevailing conditions which gives rise to various diabetic complications. The major complications include diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy, delayed wound healing, heart attack, peripheral vascular disturbances and diabetic ketoacidosis. Treatment of complications due to DM always poses a challenge to the attending clinician. Alongsideallopathic medicines, DM and its complications were reported to be effectively treated with various natural products. In the present review, we discuss the role of different phytochemicals which were reported to be beneficial in the treatment of hyperglycemic conditions in DM. Most medicinal plants contain micronutrients, amino acids and proteins, mucilages, essential oils, sterols and triterpenoids, saponins, carotenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, tannins, bitter principles and coumarins. We discuss the effective role of these phytochemicals with an emphasis on secondary metabolites which mimic the action of insulin, and highlight their importance as future antidiabetic agents.
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