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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 44  |  Page : 258-274

Herbal therapy: A review of emerging pharmacological tools in the management of diabetes mellitus in Africa

Department of Botany, Medicinal Plants and Economic Development (MPED) Research Centre, University of Fort Hare, Alice, 5700, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Anthony Jide Afolayan
Department of Botany, Medicinal Plants and Economic Development (MPED) Research Centre, University of Fort Hare, Alice, 5700
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1296.166046

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Background: Diabetes mellitus is a chronic physiological glucose metabolic disorder. It has affected millions of people all over the world thereby having a significant impact on quality of life. The management of diabetes includes both nonpharmacological and conventional interventions. Drawbacks in conventional therapy have led to seeking alternative therapy in herbal medicine. Therefore, the need to review, elucidate and classify their mode of action in therapy for diabetes disease arises. Materials and Methods: Comprehensive literature reports were used to review all conventional agents and herbal therapy used in the management of diabetes. An online database search was conducted for medicinal plants of African origin that have been investigated for their antidiabetic therapeutic potentials. Results: The results showed that of the documented sixty five plants used, fourteen inhibit intestinal absorption of glucose, three exhibit insulin-mimetic properties, seventeen stimulate insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells, twelve enhance peripheral glucose uptake, one promotes regeneration of beta-cell of islets of Langerhans, thirteen ameliorate oxidative stress and twenty induces hypoglycemic effect (mode of action is still obscure). Thirteen of these plants have a duplicate mode of actions while one of them has three modes of actions. These agents have a similar mechanism of action as the conventional drugs.Conclusion: In conclusion, antidiabetic activities of these plants are well established; however, the molecular modulation remains unknown. It is envisaged that the use of herbal therapy will promote good health and improve the status of diabetic patients.

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