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Author Topic: Nigerian researchers confirm potent anti-diabetic plants  (Read 18098 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
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« on: January 01, 2012, 07:17:10 am »


FIVE new plants have been enlisted as novel anti-diabetic drugs. A recent study published in Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, investigated the phytochemistry and hypoglycemic (blood sugar/glucose lowering) activities of aqueous extracts of Anisopus mannii, Daniella olivieri, Detarium macrocarpum, Leptadenia hastate and Mimosa invisa, traditionally prescribed for diabetes mellitus.
The aqueous extracts were tested for phytochemicals and free radical scavenging (antioxidant) activity by the DPPH assay. The anti-diabetic tests were performed in normoglycemic and alloxan induced diabetic mice. High intensity of saponins, xanthones, tannins and glycosides were detected in A. mannii, D. macrocarpum and M. invisa, respectively.

Free radicals are molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage. Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. DPPH is a common abbreviation for an organic chemical compound 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl. It is a cell-permeable, stable free radical that acts as a hydrogen radical scavenger. Useful in inducing free-radical injury to tissues and as a screening tool for detecting free radical scavenging activity of antioxidants.

Normoglycemic means the presence of a normal concentration of glucose in the blood. Alloxan and streptozotocin are widely used to induce experimental diabetes in animals.
According to the study, for the free radical scavenging activity, D. macrocarpum showed the highest activity with an IC50 of 0.027 mg/ml, which was 2.1 folds of ascorbic acid. All extracts showed potent hypoglycemic effects in alloxan induced diabetic mice with the highest fasting blood glucose reduction of 70.39 percent in A. mannii which was 1.54 and 0.98 fold of glibenclamide (diabetes drug) and human insulin, respectively.

A mannii showed the potent hypoglycemic activity, which was 1.54 and 0.98 fold of glibenclamide and insulin, respectively. This study confirmed the traditional use of these Nigerian medicinal plants in diabetes treatment. These plants showed high potential for further investigation to novel anti-diabetic drugs.
The plant Anisopus mannii (family Asclepiadaceae) is known as Sakayau or Kashe zaki (meaning sweet killer) among the Hausas of northern Nigeria, where a cold decoction of the stem is traditionally used as remedy for hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose level).

Commonly called Tallow tree, Ofo in Ibo, Detarium macrocarpum belongs to the family Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae). It occurs in southeastern Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Leptadenia hastata belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae and used as food by many African populations. In some part of northern Nigeria, leaves extract is used for the treatment of stomach upset in children. It is commonly used as a vegetable and is considered as a famine food due to its high content of valuable nutrients.

Leptadenia hastata is called sobotoro, sobotorooji in Fula-Fulfulde, án-bàraáwoò, yaádíyaá and ya, iya in Hausa; kálímbó in Kanuri and iran-aji igbó and isanaje-igbó in Yoruba.
According to The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa by H. M. Burkill, in N Nigeria, the leaves of Leptadenia hastata are boiled and the liquor is drunk for treating gonorrhoea. “Hausa give this liquor to cure stomach-ache (chuwan chiki, Hausa) in children. The sap, or the root in decoction is used for ophthalmia in Senegal. The powdered roots in water are taken in Nigeria as a stomachic. In association with other plants, it is used in Senegal for suckling babies with green diarrhoea, for all vein troubles, varicose veins, bleeding and painful haemorrhoids, poisonings, anuria, syphilis, leprosy, trypanosomiasis, etc. — in short as a general panacea. In N Nigeria it is used with the root of Smilax (Smilacaceae) for tertiary syphilis.”

Mimosa invisa/pudica is commonly called touch -me -not, which closes up when touched and pitcher-an insectivorous plant-which has a mechanism for trapping and enzymes for digesting insects which land on it for nectar collection. Traditional medicine practitioners think that plants sleep during the night and are awake during the day. This is their interpretation of the physiological and bio-chemical processes going on within plants.

Daniella olivieri (Caesalpiniaceae) is called Emi ya in Yoruba, is used in parts of the southeastern Nigerian folk medicine as herbal remedy for hyperglycaemia. Daniella oliveri is a plant found in the Amazon region and other parts of South America and Africa. The tree may reach a height of 100 feet and trunk diameter of four feet. It produces liquid oleoresin, which has been used as medicine by indigenous people for more than 400 years. The oleoresin is produced in the tree’s trunk, stem, and leaves and is traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory agent and in the treatment of a variety of genito-urinary tract diseases and skin ailments.
Meanwhile, another study published in African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology confirmed the hypoglycaemic effect of aqueous stem extract of Anisopus mannii.
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