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Local Plants’ Combo Could Provide Diabetes Cure

Views:22     Author:Golden Horizon Biologics     Publish Time: 2016-11-25      Origin:Golden Horizon Biologics

There is no cure for diabetes! But recent studies suggest that a combination of local plants with lifestyle changes especially increase in physical activities and skipping dinner could be used to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and effectively manage and stop complications in those already with the disease. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes on the combination of local plants that could provide the next novel drug for the condition.


Several studies have shown that there is rise in cases of diabetes in the country with the attendant complications including kidney damage, limb amputation, irreversible blindness, erectile dysfunction, hypertension to mention but a few.


But a new study has shown that a combination of scent leaf (Ocimum basilicum), stonebreaker (Phyllanthus niruri) and mistletoe (Viscum album) may provide the remedy.

Earlier studies had validated bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), bitter kola (Garcinia kola) and bitter gourd or melon (Mormodica charantia) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. According to the Second Edition of Handbook of African Medicinal Plants by Maurice Iwu, a peptide designated as P-insulin has been reported from Mormodica. A preparation of Vernonia amygdalina has also received United States Patent for treatment of diabetes and cancer.


The new study titled “Antidiabetic property of some Nigerian medicinal plants” was published in Journal of Medicinal Plants Research.


The authors were led by Prof. Maurice M. Iwu of the International Centre for Ethnomedicine & Drug Development (INTERCEDD), Nsukka, Enugu State;Michel K. Tchimene of the Department of Pharmacognosy & Environmental Medicine, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; and Charles O. Okoli of the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

 Local Plants’ Combo Could Provide Diabetes Cure

The anti-diabetic properties of extracts of three Nigerian medicinal plants:
Ocimum basilicum (Lamiaceae, formerly Labiatae); Phyllanthus niruri (Euphorbiaceae); and Viscum album (Viscaceae or Loranthaceae) parasitic on Psidium guajava (Myrtaceae) on normoglycemic (normal glucose level) and alloxan-induced diabetic rats were studied. Alloxan is a drug used to induce diabetes in laboratory models.


The extracts (258.3 g, 6.89 per cent w/w of P. niruri, 189.17 g, 6.76 per cent w/w of V. album and 131.50 g, 6.41 per cent w/w of O. basilicum), obtained by 48 hour cold maceration in methanol: methylene chloride (1:1), were evaluated for hypoglycemic and oral glucose tolerance effects in normoglycemic rats and anti-hyperglycemic effect in alloxan (100 mg/kg i.p) diabetic (blood glucose level ≥200 mg/dl) rats.

The results showed that acute oral administration of the extracts to normoglycemic rats caused a mild to moderate non-dose-related reduction in blood glucose levels.


The extracts significantly suppressed the acute postprandial rise in blood glucose to varying extents. Extract of O. basilicum lowered the elevated glucose level to 13.67 per cent at 180 minutes while P. niruri and V. album reduced the glucose level to 16.87 and 17.33 per cent, respectively. In alloxan diabetic rats, the extracts caused a significant non-dose-related reduction in blood glucose with 52.31 (O. basilicum), 44.29 (P. niruri) and 16.71 per cent (V. album) maximum reduction at six hours.

Momordica charantia, commonly called bitter melon, bitter gourd, African cucumber or balsam pear; belongs to the plant family Cucurbitaceae. In Nigeria, bitter melon is called ndakdi in Dera; dagdaggi in Fula-Fulfulde; hashinashiap in Goemai; daddagu in Hausa; iliahia in Igala; akban ndene in Igbo (Ibuzo in Delta State); dagdagoo in Kanuri; akara aj, ejinrin nla, ejinrin weeri, ejirin-weewe or igbole aja in Yoruba.


Commonly called scent leaf and basil, Ocimum basilicum is a shrub belonging to the family Lamiaceae. It is called Nchu-anwu in Igbo, Efinrin in Yoruba, Aramogbo in Edo and Daidoya in Hausa.

Intercedd Health Products (IHP) is blazing the trail with the introduction of Vernonia Ocimum Tea into the Nigerian market. Vernonia Ocimum Tea is made from Vernonia amaygdalina (bitter leaf) and Ocimum gratissimum (scent leaf).


The indication on the product reads: “Vernonia amaygdalina is a shrub that grows in tropical Africa. It is commonly called bitter leaf because of its bitter taste. The bitterness is as a result of the presence of the sesquiterpenes lactones and steroid glycosides, which are responsible for the activity.

“Ocimum gratissimum, scent leaf, is rich in alkaloids, tannins; flavonoid, phytates and oligosaccharides which are responsible for its medicinal properties. Vernonia Ocimum Tea has immense health benefits such as body weight management, easy bowel evacuation, cleansing of the body system and control of body sugar.” Commonly called stonebreaker, Phyllanthus niruri also known as “Chanca piedra” belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. Phyllanthus niruri is similar to Phyllanthus amarus, which also belongs to the same family. In Nigeria, it is called enyikwonwa and ngwu in the Ibo, oyomokeso amanke edem in Efik, geeron-tsuntsaayee (bird’s millet) in Hausa, ehin olobe and yin-olobe in Yoruba.


Mistletoe (Viscum album) has been used in the treatment and management of many diseases for many years.

According to Iwu, due to their widespread documented use in the treatment of diabetes, O. basilicum, P. niruri and V. album were selected for study to compare the potency of their anti-diabetic activity and identify the most promising for further development.

Iwu is professor of pharmacognosy from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP), a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO). A subsidiary of BDCP, Intercedd Health Products (IHP), produces and markets drugs developed by the International Center for Ethnomedicine and Drug Development (InterCEDD), a Research and Development (R&D) centre based in Nsukka, Enugu State.


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