Herbal medicine and treatment of diabetes in Africa: An example from Guinea

Service d'Endocrinologie, Centre Hospitalier et Universitaire de Conakry, Guinée.
Diabetes & Metabolism (Impact Factor: 3.27). 05/2006; 32(2):171-5. DOI: 10.1016/S1262-3636(07)70265-3
Source: PubMed


Use of medicinal plants is widespread in Africa, particularly in Guinea where oral transmission of practices is part of the social ritual. The purpose of this study was to determine the proportion of diabetic patients who use herbal medicine and identify the types of plants in use. Reasons for using herbal medicine and the formulations employed were also noted.
A questionnaire on use of herbal medicine was proposed to all diabetic patients hospitalized or consulting the Endocrinology Unit of the Conakry University Hospital between April 1 and June 30, 2003.
A total of 397 patients responded; 33% declared they used herbal medicine. They proposed many motivations, sometimes in association: belief in its efficacy (74%), easy access to medicinal plants (70%), lower cost (48%), and search for complete cure of diabetes (37%). Hearing about a positive experience had convinced 78% of the users to use herbal medicine. The majority of the users were satisfied (85%). One or more clinical manifestations occurring concomitantly with use of herbs was observed in 23 patients (18%), particularly gastrointestinal disorders (n = 10) and skin problems (n = 8). Two cases of hypoglycaemia were noted.
Herbal medicine plays an important role in anti-diabetes treatment in Guinea. This type of treatment should be based on scientific evidence but very few studies have been conducted. Conditions of use should be better defined and patients should be informed of potential adverse effects.

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    • "widespread in Africa in rural as well as urban communities. An increasing number of patients opt for traditional remedies driven by a combination of factors including financial constraints and/or geographical accessibility of the population to orthodox antidiabetics, inadequacy of the healthcare systems, ease of accessibility of traditional medicine, indigenous knowledge of community members as well as the role of traditional healers[3] [4]. Sudan is characterized by a rich floral diversity and an equally rich ethnomedicinal tradition. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To investigate the traditional antidiabetic uses of some indigenous Sudanese plants on streptozotocin-induced diabetes rats. Methods: Diabetic rats were treated with a 400 mg/kg dose of aqueous extracts of five plant species orally for 2 h (acute) or 14 days (chronic). In acute model blood glucose levels were monitored at specific intervals. In the chronic model blood samples were collected from overnight fasted diabetic rats on day 15 to estimate blood glucose level. And the body weight, serum lipid profile and activities of liver and kidney enzymes were measured. Histopathological observations of liver sections were also studied. Results: In the case of acute treatment, aqueous extracts of Tinospora bakis (T. bakis), Nauclea latifolia (N. latifolia) and Randia nilotica (R. nilotica) at 400 mg/kg significantly lowered (P < 0.05) blood glucose levels in diabetic rats whereas, chronic treatment of diabetic rats with 400 mg/kg of T. bakis, N. latifolia, R. nilotica and Mitragyna inremis proved to have significant (P < 0.05) antihyperglycemic effect and have the capacity to correct the metabolic disturbances associated with diabetes. Histopathological studies showed that the aqueous extracts of these four plants reinforced the healing of liver. However, Striga hermonthica aqueous extract did not exert any antihyperglycemic effect to diabetic rats. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that T. bakis, N. latifolia, R. nilotica and Mitragyna inremis have therapeutic value in diabetes and related complications and thus supporting the traditional uses of these plants in Sudanese traditional medicine.
    Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 05/2015; 34(5):930-937. DOI:10.1016/S2221-1691(15)30375-0
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    • "Different medicinal systems that have been discovered as natural hypoglycemic medicine came from the virtue of traditional knowledge and have been used in many countries [7,21,22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease with life-threatening complications. Despite the enormous progress in conventional medicine and pharmaceutical industry, herbal-based medicines are still a common practice for the treatment of diabetes. This study evaluated ethanolic and aqueous extracts of selected Sudanese plants that are traditionally used to treat diabetes. Methods Extraction was carried out according to method described by Sukhdev et. al. and the extracts were tested for their glycogen phosphorylase inhibition, Brine shrimp lethality and antioxidant activity using (DPPH) radical scavenging activity and iron chelating activity. Extracts prepared from the leaves of Ambrosia maritima, fruits of Foeniculum vulgare and Ammi visnaga, exudates of Acacia Senegal, and seeds of Sesamum indicum and Nigella sativa. Results Nigella sativa ethanolic extract showed no toxicity on Brine shrimp Lethality Test, while its aqueous extract was toxic. All other extracts were highly toxic and ethanolic extracts of Foeniculum vulgare exhibited the highest toxicity. All plant extracts with exception of Acacia senegal revealed significant antioxidant activity in DPPH free radical scavenging assay. Conclusions These results highly agree with the ethnobotanical uses of these plants as antidiabetic. This study endorses further studies on plants investigated, to determine their potential for type 2 diabetes management. Moreover isolation and identification of active compounds are highly recommended.
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 05/2014; 14(1):149. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-14-149 · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    • "The herbalists even allow payment in installments which makes it easier for the patients to afford traditional medicine. Other studies have highlighted that patients with diabetes use traditional medicine due to the low cost [23]. It is costly to treat diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa [24]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background While there are biomedical drugs for managing diabetes mellitus, some patients with diabetes use traditional medicine. The aim of the study was to explore why patients with diabetes use traditional medicine for the treatment of diabetes. Methods The study was conducted in Iganga and Bugiri districts in Eastern Uganda using four focus group discussions (FGDs) with patients with diabetes; two with female patients and two with male patients, thirteen key informant interviews (KIIs); nine with health workers working with patients with diabetes and four with herbalists. FGDs and KIIs focused on what respondents perceived as reasons for patients with diabetes taking traditional medicine. Analysis was done using content analysis. Results Reasons for taking traditional medicine included finding difficulties accessing hospitals, diabetic drugs being out of stock, traditional medicine being acceptable and available within community, as well as being supplied in big quantities. Others were traditional medicine being cheaper than biomedical treatment and payment for it being done in installments. Traditional medicine was also more convenient to take and was marketed aggressively by the herbalists. Influence of family and friends as well as traditional healers contributed to use of traditional medicine. Conclusions Possibilities of putting diabetic drugs at facilities closer to patients need to be considered and health facilities should have a constant supply of diabetic drugs. Community members need to be sensitized on the proper treatment for diabetes mellitus and on the dangers of taking traditional medicine.
    BMC International Health and Human Rights 01/2013; 13(1):1. DOI:10.1186/1472-698X-13-1 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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