The Assam Kaziranga University

Joha rice, a fragrant variety cultivated in the Northeastern region of India, primarily in Assam, has been found to be effective in reducing blood glucose levels and preventing the onset of diabetes. This discovery positions Joha rice as an ideal nutraceutical for diabetes management, according to the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

Joha rice, known for its remarkable aroma and taste, is a short-grain winter paddy. Traditional beliefs suggest that consuming Joha rice correlates with a lower prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. To validate these claims, scientists from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, embarked on a study to explore the nutraceutical properties of aromatic Joha rice.

Led by researchers Rajlakshmi Devi and Paramita Choudhury, the study conducted in vitro laboratory analyses to identify the essential fatty acids present in Joha rice. Two unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3), were discovered. These fatty acids, which the human body cannot produce, play a crucial role in maintaining various physiological functions. Omega-3 fatty acid, in particular, has been associated with preventing metabolic disorders like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Additionally, Joha rice demonstrated its efficacy in lowering blood glucose levels and preventing diabetes onset in diabetic rats.

The researchers also noted that scented Joha rice exhibited a more balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids compared to widely consumed non-scented rice varieties. The ideal ratio of these essential fatty acids for a healthy diet is approximately one. Leveraging this discovery, the team developed rice bran oil from Joha rice, a patented product claimed to be effective in managing diabetes.

Apart from its impact on diabetes, Joha rice boasts abundant antioxidants, flavonoids, and phenolics. Some of the bioactive compounds identified include oryzanol, ferulic acid, tocotrienol, caffeic acid, catechuic acid, gallic acid, and tricin. These compounds exhibit antioxidant, hypoglycemic, and cardio-protective properties.

This groundbreaking research provides scientific validation for the traditional claims surrounding Joha rice’s health benefits, particularly in diabetes management. Further studies are required to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and explore potential applications in the realms of nutrition and healthcare.

The Assam Kaziranga University