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Insulin Plant Benefits and its Uses: How to Maximize Healing

Insulin Plant Benefits and its Uses: How to Maximize Healing

Insulin plant (Costus igneus, Chamaecostus cuspidatus) is an herb that is part of the family Costaceae. Other common names for insulin plant include fiery costus and spiral flag. What are some insulin plant benefits?


Insulin plant benefits include controlling blood glucose levels. It can also be a source of protein, iron, and antioxidants.

The plant is native to Brazil, but was later introduced to India and other parts of South and Central America. The flower is usually bright orange with large, dark green leaves with purple underneath.

Insulin plant has properties that can treat symptoms of:

How does it work?

Insulin plant gets its name because of its ability to effectively lower blood sugar levels, much like the endogenous insulin made by the body and synthetic forms used as injections.

This is beneficial to people with diabetes mellitus, obesity, and other metabolic disorders.

The insulin plant benefits come from its phytochemical content.

The triterpenoids, flavonoids, proteins, and fatty acids contained in the plant work to delay carbohydrate absorption, increasing glucose uptake and storage, and enhance the effect of endogenous insulin.

In the numerous studies conducted to learn more about insulin plant benefits, both crude extracts and refined extracts produced similar levels of effectiveness.

Interestingly, it seemed to lower blood sugar in diabetic patients, but did not cause hypoglycemia in normal patients.

Hypoglycemic and Hyperglycemic Episodes: How Are They Different?

Precautions & Warnings

Herbal supplements are generally safe to take in moderate amounts, as directed by a health professional.

However, because most herb and food supplements are not approved by the FDA for treating and preventing specific diseases, recommended daily values are not always established.

What should I know before using insulin plant?

Despite being advertised as “all-natural” or “safe”, natural or food supplements must be treated as conventional medication.

Certain herbal preparations can interact with other medications you are taking, increasing the risk of adverse drug reactions and toxicity.

Before using any insulin plant preparation to get its benefits, inform your doctor if:

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to insulin plant or other supplements.
  • Have a history of allergy to other medications, food, or other substances.
  • Are taking other medications especially hypoglycemic agents or insulin.
  • You have underlying health conditions, such as kidney or liver impairment.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There is insufficient data regarding the use and safety of this supplement during pregnancy.

Insulin plant should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits justify the potential risks to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.

It is not known if the active compounds are excreted into breast milk.

This supplement should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.

Side Effects

All supplements have the potential to elicit side effects even with normal use.

Many side effects are dose-related and will resolve when it is adjusted or at the end of therapy.

What side effects can occur from insulin plant?

Potential side effects while using this supplement include:

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Skin irritation (if applied to the skin)
  • Hypoglycemia

You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above.

If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

insulin plant benefits


To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and inform your doctor and pharmacist.

Potential Drug Interactions

Avoid using other diuretics while taking this supplement, as it may cause excessive urination, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance.

The liquid extract preparation of this medication may contain alcohol.

Avoid taking the following together with this preparation:

  • Antihistamines
  • Sedatives
  • CNS depressants

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication.

Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan.

Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.

Does food or alcohol interact with insulin plant?

This medication may be taken with or without food.

If you experience any gastrointestinal discomfort, taking this medication with meals may prevent this symptom.

It is important to drink enough water while taking this medication.

The liquid extract preparation of this medication may contain alcohol.

Thus, alcohol consumption should be limited to prevent intoxication, especially in children or adults who need to drive or operate machinery.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.

What health conditions may interact with insulin plant?

This supplement should be taken with caution if you have an allergy to any of its ingredients.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.


The information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using insulin plant.

What is the dose of insulin plant for an adult?

The recommended dosage of this drug has not been established for treating any specific disease or condition.

Consult with a doctor for the appropriate indication and dosage.

What is the dose of insulin plant for a child?

This supplement is not recommended for use in children and the recommended dose has not been established.

Consult with a doctor or pharmacist for alternatives and more information.

How is insulin plant available?

This supplement is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Liquid extract
  • Dried powder
  • Tea
  • Capsule

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of this supplement, take it as soon as possible.

However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled.

Do not take a double dose.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Shetty AJ, Parampalli S.M, Bhandarkar R, Kotian .S. EFFECT OF THE INSULIN PLANT (Costus igneus ) LEAVES ON BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS IN DIABETIC PATIENTS: A CROSS SECTIONAL STUDY. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research [serial online] 2010 June

https://www.jcdr.net/articles/PDF/766/785_E(C)_F(P)_R(P)_PF_p.pdf Accessed November 1, 2020

A review on Insulin plant (Costus igneus Nak) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931203/ Accessed November 1, 2020

Effect of the insulin plant (Costus igneus) leaves on dexamethasone-induced hyperglycemia, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924971/, Accessed April 8, 2021

Effect Of The Insulin Plant ( Costus Igneus ) Leaves On Blood Glucose Levels In Diabetic Patients: A Cross Sectional Study, https://www.jcdr.net/article_fulltext.asp?id=766, April 8, 2021

Insulin plant (Costus pictus) extract improves insulin sensitivity and ameliorates atherogenic dyslipidaemia in fructose induced insulin resistant rats: Molecular mechanism, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464615003187, Accessed Sept. 8, 2021

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Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Sep 08, 2021