Tag Archives: diabetes

Medicinal Plants Used in Iran to Treat Hyperglycemia & Diabetes


Traditional uses of medicinal plants to prevent and treat diabetes; an updated review of ethnobotanical studies in Iran

Asadi-Samani M, Moradi MT, Mahmoodnia L, Alaei S, Asadi-Samani F, Luther T
J Nephropathol. 2017 Jul;6(3):118-125
PubMed Central: PMC5607970

Investigators at Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences and the University of Michigan conducted a database search to identify medicinal plants and their traditional uses to prevent and treat diabetes according to ethnobotanical studies undertaken in different regions of Iran.

Urtica dioica
Urtica dioica [Photo: WAH]
Writing in the Journal of Nephropathology, the team records 49 species of medicinal plants used in different cultures across Iran to treat hyperglycemia and diabetes, including Capparis spinosa, Citrullus colocynthis, Juglans regia, Teucrium polium, Trigonella foenum graecum, and Urtica dioica.

The authors note that many of the medicinal plants identified by their survey contain high concentrations of phenolic compounds, which may help account for their anti-diabetic effects:

“It is believed that oxidative stress contributes to development of vascular complications in patients with diabetes. Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in diabetes may be due to decreased destruction and/or increased production of catalase (CAT–enzymatic/non-enzymatic), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH–Px) antioxidants. The variations in the levels of these enzymes cause the tissues to become susceptible to oxidative stress, leading to development of diabetic complications. The results of this review indicated the majority of the reported plants are from families Lamiaceae (eight species), Asteraceae and Apiaceae (six species) that have high concentrations of phenolic compounds. Anti-diabetic effects of phenolic compounds have already been confirmed. Phenolic compounds may have a protective effect against hyperglycemia-induced chronic diseases through both protection of antioxidants and inhibition of starch digestion. Co-application of phenolic compounds and synthetic enzyme inhibitors may decrease the effective dose of synthetic enzyme inhibitors that are needed to control postprandial glycemia.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnomedicinal Knowledge of the Indigenous People of Malda District, West Bengal


Indigenous knowledge of plants in local healthcare management practices by tribal people of Malda district, India

Saha MR, Sarker DD, Kar P, Gupta PS, Sen A
J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Oct-Dec;3(4):179-85
PubMed Central PMC4576813

Malda District, West Bengal, India
Malda District, West Bengal, India [Source: GDibyendu, Wikimedia Commons]
Investigators from the University of North Bengal conducted an ethnobotanical study aimed at exploring the indigenous knowledge of native tribes on the utilization of wild plant species for local healthcare management in Malda district of West Bengal.

From the Introduction:

“The region is covered with plentiful natural vegetation, which makes it verdant. River beds, ponds, marshy land etc. are good habitats for the wetland undergrowth. Most of the remote villages are covered by jungles, which consist chiefly of thorny scrub bush and large trees showing wide distribution of flora. The soil of the western region of the district is particularly suited to the growth of mulberry and mango, for which Malda has become famous. Various ethnic communities, including Santala, Rajbanshi, Namasudre, Polia, Oraon, Mundas, Malpaharias etc. are the inhabitants of this region. Of these Santala, Oraon is different from others due to their unique culture and tradition. They are quite popular to treat several types of local ailments of human and veterinary purposes.”

Consulting with traditional healers and practitioners, the team documented 53 medicinal plants frequently used to treat 44 types of ailments.

Andrographis paniculata
Andrographis paniculata [Source: J.M. Garg, Wikimedia Commons]
Predominant among the most important medicinal plants used in the treatment of several diseases are Andrographis paniculata, Amaranthus spinosus, Alstonia scholaris, Cuscuta reflexa, Jatropha gossypiifolia, Caesalpinia crista, Tamarindus indica and Sida rhombifolia.

Azoospermia was the most commonly treated disease, followed by different types of pains, ankle sprain, diabetes, dysentery, inflammation, menstrual disorder, rheumatism, skin disorders and leucorrhea.

This first study of ethnomedicinal knowledge of the ethnic people of Malda district could be a crucial first step toward the conservation of cultural traditions and biodiversity in the region:

“Now-a-days the traditional knowledge is in the way of erosion due to environmental degradation, deforestation, agricultural expansion and population pressure. Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and their use by indigenous cultures are not only useful for conservation of cultural traditions and biodiversity but also for community healthcare and drug development at present and in the future. Therefore, recording of indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants is an urgent task.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Formulations of Kuch Healers in Bangladesh


Medicinal formulations of the Kuch tribe of Bangladesh

Rahmatullah M, Haque ME, Mondol MR, Hasan M, Aziz T, Jahan R, Seraj S
J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):428-40
PubMed PMID: 24738615

Sherpur District of Bangladesh
Sherpur District of Bangladesh [source: Nafsadh, Wikimedia Commons]
Mohammed Rahmatullah and colleagues at the University of Development Alternative conducted an ethnomedicinal study to document medicinal formulations of tribal medicinal practitioners in the Kuch (also known as Koche or Koch) indigenous community of the Sherpur district of Bangladesh.

Interviews conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and guided field-walks resulted in documentation of 49 plants used in various preparations.

Justicia adhatoda
Justicia adhatoda [source: ShineB, Wikimedia Commons]
The team found similarity between use by Kuch healers and Indian traditional medicinal practice for 12 of the species: Justicia adhatoda, Acorus calamus, Costus speciosus, Mimosa pudica, Litsea glutinosa, Stephania glabra, Piper longum, Drynaria quercifolia, S. dulcis, Centella asiatica, Cissus quadrangularis, and Curcuma caesia.

The authors note the precarious existence of the community:

“The Kuch (otherwise known as Koche or Koch) tribe is a small indigenous community whose present territory includes primarily the Sherpur district and also scattered locations of the Rangpur, Dinajpur, Joypurhat, and Naogaon districts in northern Bangladesh. According to an 1872 population census, the tribal population numbered around 1 million and the tribe was then also present in the Pabna, Bogra, and Rajshahi districts of the country. In a population census conducted in 1913, the population was 156,000. The present population is estimated to be around 3000. Thus, there appears to have been a drastic decline in the tribal population in the last 140 years, which the Kuch attribute to frequent warfare and resulting moves to new areas. As result the tribe has had to adapt to their new places of residence, which is not easy because they face hostility from previous residents. Food shortage under these conditions leads to eventual decline in the economic status of the tribe, with consequent malnutrition, diseases, and mortality. In addition, the tribe faces continuous assimilation with the mainstream population….

“The Kuch, although they owned vast tracts of land in the past, are landless at present. They work as agricultural laborers in lands belonging to the mainstream Bengali-speaking population. As a consequence, their economic status is extremely poor. The men work in the fields and women supplement their family income by making various items from bamboo and selling them in the local village markets. Their main diet consists of rice consumed with dried fish and vegetables. Meat is primarily obtained from hunting rabbits, boars, and porcupines from forest areas. Fermented rice wine forms a major part of their diet and religious festivals. A favorite food is khaji or kanthamuri, which consists of steamed dried fish in combination with powdered rice and vegetables.”

The authors conclude that the medicinal plants of the Kuch tribe show potential for further scientific studies, particularly in research for treatments for malaria and, with limitations, diabetes.

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Antidiabetic Potential of African Medicinal Plants


African medicinal plants with antidiabetic potentials: a review

Mohammed A, Ibrahim MA, Islam MS
Planta Med. 2014 Mar;80(5):354-77
PubMed PMID: 24535720

Aminu Mohammed of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with colleagues from that institution and Ahmadu Bello University, reviewed all in vivo studies of antidiabetic potential of African medicinal plants conducted between January 2000 and July 2013, with a closer look at some relevant plants from the continentʼs subregions.

In their Introduction, the authors note the disease burden of diabetes mellitus in Africa:

“Recent data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) indicates that DM affects over 366 million people worldwide and this is likely to increase to 552 million or even more by the year 2030. In Africa, more than 14 million people have diabetes, accounting for about 4.3% of adults and is responsible for about 401 276 deaths in 2012 in the region. West Africa recorded the highest number of DM cases with Nigeria (3.2 million diabetics) and Côte dʼIvoire (421 023 diabetics) occupying first and second positions, respectively. In Southern Africa, South Africa tops the list (2.0 million diabetics) followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (737 000 diabetics). Kenya was listed as the fifth country in Africa and the first from the eastern region of Africa (720 730 diabetics), while Cameroon (517 860 diabetics) recorded the highest figure from the central region.”

The review identified 185 plant species from Africa that have been investigated for antidiabetic potential, several of which the authors discuss in detail:

  • West Africa: Anacardium occidentale, Azadirachta indica, Gongronema latifolium, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Indigofera pulchra, Nauclea latifolia, Ocimum gratissimum, Phyllanthus amarus, Picralima nitida, Vernonia amygdalina, Zingiber officinale
  • North Africa: Ajuga iva, Allium cepa, Balanites aegyptiaca, Carum carvi, Chamaemelum nobile, Morus alba, Nigella sativa, Ziziphus spina-christi
  • Southern Africa: Artemisia afra, Bryophyllum pinnatum, Raphia gentiliana, Sclerocarya birrea, Sutherlandia frutescens
  • Central Africa: Bersama engleriana, Dichrostachys glomerata, Dracena arborea, Kalanchoe crenata
  • East Africa: Caylusea abyssinica, Strychnos henningsii, Erythrina abyssinica, Aspilia pluriseta, Bidens pilosa, Catha edulis, Momordica charantia, Moringa stenopetala

Ocimum gratissimum
Ocimum gratissimum is a West African medicinal plant of antidiabetic potential [image source: Forest & Kim Starr, Wikimedia Commons]
In their Conclusion, the team highlight eight species that have received much attention in particular, and recommend support for more research to develop medicines based on these plants as potential treatments for diabetes:

“Apart from the folkloric claims, it is evident from the above reviewed studies that Africa is blessed with an abundance of antidiabetic plants resources based on scientific findings. However, due to the variations in the scientific investigations in terms of analyzed antidiabetic parameters, doses, and durations used, it is difficult to precisely identify the plant(s) with the best reported activity, but our close analysis of the reports seem to suggest that O. gratissimum, A. occidentale, V. amygdalina, G. latifolium, A. indica, C. carvi, M. alba, and A. iva are the most active because they received much attention as is evident by numerous studies and, thus, possibly contain the most bioactive antidiabetic phytochemicals among all the plants. The methods mostly utilized for the extractions of various parts via organic solvent extractions include maceration/cold extraction, soxhlet, distillation, percolation, and sequential extraction. Moreover, it is evident that very few studies were reported to involve human subjects. Most studies used either T1D or T2D animal models. Unfortunately, perhaps due to limited research resources, most of the studies are preliminary in nature (though with promising results) and do not include detailed isolation and characterization of the bioactive compounds and/or the mechanisms of antidiabetic actions. Government agencies and/or pharmaceutical industries should support more research activities in this area in order to commercially utilize these antidiabetic medicinal plants for a solution to the continentʼs myriad of economic problems.”

Read the complete article at PubMed.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnobiological Study in Kala Chitta Hills, Pakistan


An ethnobiological study in Kala Chitta hills of Pothwar region, Pakistan: multinomial logit specification

Arshad M, Ahmad M, Ahmed E, Saboor A, Abbas A, Sadiq S
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2014 Jan 27;10:13
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3914733

Punjab Province, Pakistan
Punjab Province, Pakistan [source: Saqib Qayyum, Wikimedia Commons]
Muhammad Arshad of PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, with colleagues at that institution and Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, conducted an ethnobiological study with residents of Kala Chitta hills of Pothwar (Potohar Plateau/ (Potohar/Potowar/Pothohar) region in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, cataloging and analyzing the ethnobotanical and ethnozoological uses of plants and animals among the indigenous communities.

A number of tribes and clans live in the region, including Pathan, Awan, Malik, Gujjar/Gurjar, Maliar, Syed/Sayyid, Sheikh and Mughal.

From the Background:

“Due to a combination of hills, plains and dynamic climate, [the Kala Chitta hills are] rich in floral and faunal diversity. Therefore, this is considered a hotspot for biodiversity and ethnobiology. The people of the area cannot enjoy the fruits of modern facilities of civilizations due to lack of infrastructure and communication. The specific and distinguished socio-economic conditions of the region keep them closer to the natural resources. The area is rich in rural culture and folk traditions. People’s livelihoods are highly dependent on indigenous plants and animals. The importance of ethnobiology is reflected in their lifestyle including dressings, weddings, death ceremonies, childbirths, festivals, cultural functions and socio-religious beliefs. This area was not considered for the study of ethnobiological potential in the past for being far away from the main city and somehow prohibited by the Armed Forces. The present study is designed to document the traditional ethnobiological knowledge and association between ethnobotanical and ethnozoological facts. The inhabitants of Kala Chitta hills live in the area of great biological diversity that provides potent phytozootherapeutic remedies. People of this region have limited access to modern health facilities and public services. However, due to lack of money and the remoteness of the hilly range, plants and animals continue to play an important role in their daily life. The health services are based on use of medicinal plants and animals which is inexpensive and remedies are easily available. The historically close association between nature and locals of this Hilly range, almost all of the inhabitants have some rich knowledge about the use of medicinal plants and animals for treating a range of ailments.”

Acacia nilotica/Vachellia nilotica
Acacia nilotica/Vachellia nilotica [source: Mimosa nilotica Tafel 595 Afbeeldingen der artseny-gewassen met derzelver Nederduitsche en Latynsche beschryvingen (1800), Wikimedia Commons]
The team documented traditional uses of 91 plant species and 65 animal species, with medicinal uses predominant. Many plant species have multiple medicinal uses, including Acacia nilotica/Vachellia nilotica (lumbago, kidney pains, diabetes, sexual disorders, phlegm, dysentery, and as a tooth powder and astringent); Mentha longifolia (dysentery, colic pain, asthma, jaundice, stomach diseases) and Triticum aestivum (inflammations, diabetes, sexual disorders, piles, lumbago, constipation, and as a caloric).

The authors propose consideration of policy measures to sustain this indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants, which they note has been put in danger through “the loss of traditional community life, widespread hunting of biodiversity and extensive use of fuel wood amidst deforestation”:

“The collected ethnobiological data may provide basis to formulate a policy for biodiversity conservation and community development. Therefore, it is articulated that such ethnobiological studies can make significant contributions to indigenous knowledge as well as to the sources of raw materials for the development of commercial pharmaceuticals and neutraceuticals. The native biota of Kala Chitta hills is threatened by factors such as extensive fuel wood consumption, hunting of wild animals, grazing, expansion of new agricultural lands, buildings, roads and unsustainable picking of plants to generate income. Punitive measures should be taken to ensure the inclusion of relevant flora and fauna within conservation designations.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants Used by the Mandai


Medicinal plants used by the Mandais–a little known tribe of Bangladesh

Ishita Malek, Tabibul Islam, Ehasanul Hasan, Shakila Akter, Masud Rana, Protiva Rani Das, Walied Samarrai, and Mohammed Rahmatullah
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med
2012 Jul 1;9(4):536-41
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3746648
Tangail District, Bangladesh
Tangail District, Bangladesh (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Armanaziz adapted by Himalayan Explorer)

Researchers at the University of Development Alternative and New York City College of Technology conducted an ethnomedicinal survey among Mandai tribal practitioners to document their use of medicinal plants for the treatment of various ailments.

From the Introduction:

“The Mandais are a small tribal community residing in Tangail district of Bangladesh with an estimated population of less than 10,000. They claim to have originally come from Coochbehar region in India for which reason they add the word Cooch to their names. However, they are different from the Kuch tribe of Bangladesh. Their society is patriarchal. Their language is known as Mandai but they have no alphabet. The word ‘Mandai’, according to them has originated from the Sanskrit words Mendi or Manda meaning hole. Since this tribe originally used to live in holes dug in forested regions, they referred to themselves as Mandai or “people living in holes”. Their main diet consists of rice, pulses and vegetables together with fish and meat when those can be afforded. They are mostly illiterate but have acquired a good fluency in the Bengali language in recent times. They are a much neglected tribe with a poor socio-economic status. Now-a-days, they mostly work as agricultural laborers in farms of more affluent neighboring villages of the Bengali-speaking mainstream population. They profess themselves to be Hindus and conduct worships of multiple gods and goddesses of the Hindu religion. The Mandais are fast losing their separate identities because of the influence of the dominant culture of the mainstream Bengali-speaking population. The younger generations are losing interest and have started to forget their ancient rituals and practices. As a result, the elderly people, who have still maintained their own culture, apprehend that the language and traditional knowledge of the Mandais will soon be forgotten. This knowledge includes knowledge of their traditional medicinal practices.”

The team identified 31 plant species used to treat various ailments including diabetes, low semen density, jaundice, gastrointestinal tract disorders (stomach ache, indigestion, dysentery, and diarrhea), leucorrhea, pain (rheumatic pain, joint pain), skin disorders, respiratory tract disorders (coughs, mucus, and allergy), debility, fever, and helminthiasis.

Curculigo orchioides
Curculigo orchioides (Source: Wikimedia Commons User Viren Vaz)

The authors particularly recommend further scientific studies of a combination of plants used by the Mandai for the treatment of diabetes: Curculigo orchioides, Tamarindus indica, Syzygium cumini, and Asparagus racemosus.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.