Selected Local plants ameliorate complications of diabetes -Nigerian researchers

A study published in Journal of Medicinal Plants Research by Nigerian researchers has identified and validated the efficacy of selected local plants in ameliorating the pathophysiological complications of diabetes, which include acute and chronic neuropathy (malfunctions of the nerves), nephropathy (kidney disease or damage), gastropathy (stomach disease), retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eyes, which may cause vision impairment), micro and macro cardiovascular disorders and erectile dysfunction.
Top on the list of local medicinal plants validated to address complications of diabetes include: cashew, bitter leaf, turmeric, scent leaf, Moringa, neem, bitter melon, red cabbage, West African black pepper (Utazi in Ibo/Arokeke in Yoruba) and Aloe vera.
Researches indicate the commonest symptom of diabetes is thirst, and it is associated with excessive amount of urine as large amounts of glucose are excreted in the urine. Other symptoms of the disease include blurry vision from time to time, feeling tired most of the time, losing weight, very dry skin, sores that are slow to heal, getting more infections than usual, slowing of speech and thought, shaking, sweating, unsteadiness, aggressive behaviour, coma and finally unconsciousness.
Studies have shown that the major complication of diabetes is the damage to the heart and blood vessels, which can cause heart attacks, stroke, and poor circulation. These complications are associated not only with elevated blood glucose, but also elevated blood fat (cholesterol). Cholesterol at elevated concentrations tends to deposit on blood vessels, making them narrower, thereby decreasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissue and increasing the chance of blood to clot. The effect of narrowing of the blood vessels is the increase of the risk of developing high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.
According to medical researches, diabetic patients also have an increased risk of eyes disease and the damage to the retina associated with diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults under age 65. On the other hand, diabetic nephropathy is an important cause of morbidity and mortality, and is now among the most common causes of end-stage renal failure. About 30 per cent of patient with type 1 diabetes have developed diabetic nephropathy after 20 years, but the risk after this time falls to less than one per cent percent and from the outset, the risk is not equal in all patients.
The incidence and prevalence of diabetes mellitus is fast becoming high in middle and low-income countries where about 80 per cent of people living in those countries depend on orthodox medicine.
Available literatures show that there are more than 400 plant species showing anti-diabetic activity with the possible use in the treatment of DM complications.
Several studies have shown that herbal formulation alone or in combination with oral hypoglycaemic agents sometimes produces good therapeutic responses in some resistant cases where modern medicines alone have failed.
Many herbal products have been prescribed for the management of diabetes mellitus in ancient and recent literature.

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