Costus is a beautiful herbaceous plant found growing in the Western Ghats. It is closely related to ginger and belongs to the family Costaceae. It has a spiraling shoot, succulent flowers and can be propagated by stem cuttings. The plant is traditionally known for its use in controlling blood sugar levels and has come to be known as the “Insulin Plant”. Recent laboratory studies have substantiated this and found that people with diabetes eating fresh or dried leaves or rhizomes show a decrease in the fasting blood sugar levels (Devi and Urooj 2008, Revathi et al., 2014). Additional studies have also shown a protective function towards the liver, reducing triglycerides, total cholesterol, phospholipids, low density lipoprotein (LDL), and an increase in liver glycogen, insulin and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (Shruti et al., 2011, Revathi et al., 2014). It has become popular in ayurvedic control of diabetes-related problems.


Devi, V.D. and Urooj , A. (2008) Hypoglycemic potential of Morus indica. L and  Costus igneus  Nak.—A preliminary study.  Indian J. Exp. Biol. 46 (8) 614–616. PMID 18814491

Revathy, J., Abdullah, S.S. and Kumar, P.S. (2014) Antidiabetic effect of Costus Speciosus rhizome extract in alloxan induced albino rats. Journal of Chemistry and Biochemistry 2 (1) 13-22.

Shruti Srivastava, S., Singh, P., Mishra, G., Jha, K.K. and Khosla, R.L. (2011) Costus speciosus (Keukand) : A review . Pelagia Research Library, Der Pharmacia Sinica 2 (1) 118-128.