African Medicinal Plants with Antidiabetic Potentials: A Review
Diabetes mellitus is one of the major health problems in Africa. The conventional oral synthetic antidiabetic drugs available to manage the disease are costly and not readily affordable to the majority of the affected population. Interestingly, the continent is endowed with a tremendous number of medicinal plants that have been explored for their folkloric treatment of diabetes mellitus. Scientific investigations have validated the antidiabetic potentials of a number of these medicinal plants but there is no repository with information on these scientifically investigated plants as a guide for future research. In this review article, all of the in vivo antidiabetic studies conducted between January 2000 and July 2013 on African plants are systematically compiled with a closer look at some relevant plants from the continentʼs subregions. Plants of the Asteraceae and Lamiaceae families are the most investigated, and West Africa has the highest number of investigated plants. Although promising results were reported in many cases, unfortunately, only a few studies reported the partial characterization of bioactive principles and/or mechanisms of action. It is hoped that government agencies, pharmaceutical industries, and the scientific community will have a look at some of these plants for future research and, if possible, subsequent commercialization.