According to a recent study from Iran, stinging nettle leaves (Urtica dioica) and walnut leaves (Juglans regia) may have potential in antidiabetic therapy. Diabetes affects over 100 million people worldwide. This disease condition causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise, because people with diabetes either do not make enough insulin or are unable to use insulin properly. Normally, Insulin helps glucose from blood enter muscle, brain and liver cells where it is used to generate energy. When glucose levels build up in blood, these cells become starved for energy. Over time, high blood glucose levels also damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. Carbohydrates are a major component of our daily diet. They are broken down in the gut into simple compounds called monosaccharides by the enzyme alpha-amylase before they are absorbed into the blood. Blocking the activity of alpha-amylase prevents carbohydrate digestion and has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels. In fact, ‘alpha-amylase inhibitors’ have been developed to treat diabetes in this way. While currently available alpha-amylase inhibitors do provide short-term diabetes control, they also cause serious side effects. This is why scientists are studying natural extracts from over 400 traditional medicinal plants with alpha-amylase blocking activity for their exciting potential as effective, and likely safer, antidiabetic therapies. In this study from Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences in Bandar Abbas in Iran, researchers examined the effects of leaf extracts from Urtica dioica and Juglans regia on alpha-amylase activity. U. dioica, known as the common nettle or stinging nettle, has a long history as a medicine and as a source of both food and fiber. J. regia – known as the English walnut, common walnut or California walnut – is a common food. Walnut leaves also have a long history of medicinal use. Extracts of both plants strongly blocked alpha-amylase activity. Nettle caused a 60% inhibition of the enzyme with 2 mg/ml of the extract, and walnut leaf extract required only 0.4 mg/ml for the same inhibition. This effect increased with time and dose of extract. In conclusion, the medicinal plants Urtica dioica and Juglans regia may have potential as antidiabetic therapies.