In vivo hypoglycemic activity and toxicity of five selected medicinal plants traditionally used to lyianage diabetes mellitus in Machakos County, Kenya
Ahmed, Abdirahman Yusuf
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Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disorder with increasing rates of incidence and mortality. Antidiabetic drugs are either expensive or unavailable or they have side effects which can lead to other complication to the patients. Kleinia squarrosa, Acacia nilotica, Zanha Africana, Aloe secundiflora, and Fuerstia Africana have been used traditionally to manage several diseases including diabetes, however, their efficacy and toxicity is not well evaluated. The aim of this study was to determine the in vivo hypoglycemic activity and toxicity of aqueous extracts of these plants in male swiss white albino mice. Hypoglycemic activity was screened in alloxan induced diabetic mice using oral and intraperitoneal routes. The toxicity of these aqueous extracts was studied in mice that were orally and intraperitoneally administered with 191kg body weight daily for 28 days by recording changes in body and organ weights, hematological and biochemical parameters and histology. Composition of trace elements in the plant extracts were estimated using total reflection X-ray fluorescence system and atomic absorption spectrometry. Phytochemical analysis was assessed using standard procedures. Stem bark extract of K. squarrosa, A. nilotica, and A. secundiflora, and leaf extracts of Z. africana administered at 50, 100, 200, 300 mglkg body weight showed hypoglycemic activity with the intraperitoneal route being more effective than the oral route except for A. secundiflora. Oral administration 1glkg body weight of the stem bark extract of K. squarrosa and leaf extract of Z. africana and intraperitoneal administration of all plant extracts significantly reduced the body weight gain. Orally, the same dose of K. squarrosa reduced the percent organ to body weight of the liver. The intraperitoneal administration of some extracts increased the percent organ to body weight of the liver, brain, kidneys and lungs while that of the testis was reduced by others. Oral or intraperitoneal administration of the same dose of each the studied plant extracts significantly affected on or more of measured hematological parameters. Oral and intraperitoneal administration of the same dose of the aqueous plant extracts significantly altered the biochemical parameters. Intraperitoneal administration of the same dose of K. squarrosa to mice caused significant lesions to the kidney, liver and spleen. All the five aqueous plants extracts studied contained tannins, total phenols, flavonoids, saponins and alkaloids at varying levels. Sodium, Chlorine, Potassium, Calcium, Titanium, Vanadium, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Arsenic and Cadmium were present in all the five plant extracts at levels below the recommended daily allowance. Magnesium, Nickel and Lead were present in four plant extracts. The observed hypoglycemic activity could be associated with phytochemicals and mineral elements present in the aqueous extracts of the studied plants. Toxic effects of the studied plants at a dose of 1glkg body weight may be due to their phytochemical components together with the presence of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium in the plants extracts. This study recommends continued use of these plants as herbal medicine except Kleinia squarrosa which was strongly toxic at 1 g/kg body weight.