Metformin: its botanical background

C.J. Bailey*, C. Day

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article traces the roots of the antihyperglycaemic biguanide metformin from the use of Galega officinalis (goat's rue or French lilac) as a herbal treatment for the symptoms of diabetes. G. officinalis was found to be rich in guanidine, as a substance with blood glucose-lowering activity that formed the chemical basis of metformin. This insulin sensitising drug was introduced in 1957. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-117
Number of pages3
JournalPractical Diabetes International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004


  • antidiabetic
  • Galega officinalis
  • metformin


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