Intake of too much of sugar can cause so much health complications with the most dangerous being diabetes. Apart from being triggered by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses, diabetes can also be due to physical stress like illness or injury that cause blood glucose levels in people with either the type 1 or 2 diabetes.
Yesterday, the world celebrates Diabetes Day, with people being educated on the need to take care of their blood sugar levels. Even though there are conventional synthetic drugs to manage diabetes, these ancient African herbs have proven to be effective in controlling the disease:
Garlic or onion juices
The two have been found by researchers – EL-Demerdash FM, Yousef MI and EL-Naga NIT as helpful in controlling not only blood sugar but also urea and bilirubin levels. Their findings on the effect of the juices on body organs like the liver and kidney are contained in the Food Chemical Toxicology journal.
Leaves of a mango tree
This has been used as an antidiabetic agent in Nigerian folk medicine, according to historical accounts. After much research, it became established that its water extract could control blood sugar similar to the usual antidiabetic drugs.
This is Southern Africa’s most popular medicinal plants used for a wide range of traditional medical treatments. It has since been offered as a treatment for diabetes. A research by Mahomed I.M and Ojewole J.A that used diabetic rats showed that African Potato at a dose of 800mg/kg of the extract caused 30.2 per cent and 48.54 per cent reduction in the blood glucose concentrations of fasted normal and streptozotocin-treated, diabetic rats.
In Africa, the fleshy leaf plant grows widely in South Africa and generally used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Used to improve digestion and treat inflammation, recent studies have shown that its gel contains lipid-lowering and blood sugar lowering properties. The dried sap of the aloe plant is also used by others to control diabetes.
It has been used since time immemorial in herbal medicines. Studies have also proven it helps to control the blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.
Cashew stem bark
This is one of the most useful plants for controlling diabetes, Dr J.A. Ojewole, a Nigerian researcher indicated after trying the cashew stem bark extract on normal and streptozotocin-treated diabetic rats. According to africaresource.com, Ojewole found out that that single doses of 800mg/kg of the stem bark can reduce the blood glucose concentrations in both the fasted normal and fasted diabetic rats. The findings indicated that it is possible that the blood glucose lowering effect of the cashew bark extract may be due to its terpenoid and/or coumarin contents. Folktale had already mentioned that the plant was used among Yoruba speaking people of Western Nigeria to control type 2 diabetes.
It is a delicacy in Southern Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone and is reported to work magic on blood glucose level. Researchers, Drs. Aderibigbe A.O., Lawal B.A. and Oluwagbemi J.O., studied the effect of the leaves of fluted pumpkin on blood glucose in mice and found that the plant did not only reduce the glucose level but also had similar effects with that of diabetes drugs such as chlorpropamide.