ETHNOPHYTOTHERAPICAL APPROACHES FOR THE TREATMENT OF DIABETES BY THE LOCAL INHABITANTS OF DISTRICT ATTOCK (PAKISTAN)

 

MUSHTAQ AHMAD, MIR AJAB KHAN*, MUHAMMAD ARSHAD AND MUHAMMAD ZAFAR*

mushtaqflora@hotmail.com

 

*DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, QUAID-I-AZAM UNIVERSITY, ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN

 

DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY, UNIVERSITY OF ARID AGRICULTURE RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN

 

ABSTRACT

 

Results of the present investigation are based on 37 indigenous plant species belonging to 23 Angiospermic families. These indigenous plants were used as traditional phytotherapies for the control and treatment of diabetes millitus. The rural inhabitants of the area classified these traditional phytotherapies on the basis of uses of various parts of plants and method of their uses. About 29 traditional phytotherapies were investigated from the rural inhabitants of the area. These traditional phytotherapies were classified as antidiabetic extracts, leaves, powders, flour, seeds, vegetables, fruits and herbal mixtures.

Key Words: Ethnophytotherapy, diabetes, District Attock (Pakistan).


INTRODUCTION

 

Plant based drugs have been in use against various diseases since time immemorial. The primitive man used herbs as therapeutic agents and medicament, which they were able to procure easily. The nature has provided abundant plant wealth for all living creatures, which possess medicinal virtues. The essential values of some plants have long been published but a large number of them remain unexplored as yet. So there is a necessity to explore their uses and to conduct pharmacognostic and pharmacological studies to ascertain their therapeutic properties (Baquar, 1989). Despite considerable progress in the management of diabetes millitus by conventional synthetic drugs, the search for natural anti-diabetic plant products for controlling diabetes is going on. There are many hypoglycemic plants known through the folklore but their introduction into the modern therapy awaits the discovery of animal test system that closely parallel to the pathological course of diabetes in human. Hypoglycemic activity has been reported in many plants during the last twenty years (Anonymous, 1992). Such potential oral hypoglycemic agents as the cyclopropanoid amino acids and hypoglycins A and B, derived from the unripe fruit of the West Indian tree Blighia sapida, are too toxic for use as insuline substitutes. Moreover, their action differs from that of insuline in that they appear to act as antimetabolites, capable of blocking the pathway of oxidation of fatty acids. This depletion of liver glycogen subsquently induces hypoglycemia (Yusuf et al., 1994).

Approximately 343 plants of the world have been tested for the blood glucose lowering effect in the laboratory experiments. Of these plants 158 are claimed to be used in the ayurved (Rahman and Zaman, 1989).

In fact diabetes now a days is a global problem. So to the present study aims to open new avenues for the improvement of medicinal uses of indigenous plants of the selected area for diabetes. And also to know the traditional phytotherapy which provide the base for clinical research to studied the active compounds of such antidiabetic plants which are responsible for the hypoglycemic activities. Another important objective of such study is to bring the antidiabetic medicinal plants sector on a firm scientific footing, raise awareness, add value to the resource and contribute to the socio-economic well being of the country particularly and through out the world generally.

 

Geo-climate of the Area

Attock district lies between 37o.7 and 34 o North latitude, 71 o.45 and 73 o East longitude. It is bounded on the North and West by the river Indus. In the east lies district Haripur of NWFP and Rawalpindi district of Punjab. The southern side is occupied by District Chakwal of the Punjab. The average annual rainfall is 783 mm. The mean maximum temperature in January is 17.92 o C and mean minimum January temperature is 5.24 o C. The mean maximum temperature in July is 36.4 o C and mean minimum is 26.45 o C. The total area of the district is 6856.703 Sq Km (2647.395 Sq miles) (Anonymous, 1998).

 

METHODOLOGY

 

Pakistan being rich in indigenous herbal resources, offer a great scope for ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological studies. The present enumeration is based on 37 indigenous plant species used as traditional phytotherapy for the control and treatment of diabetes by rural inhabitants of District Attock. Frequent field trips were conducted during 2003 in order to get information, various interviews were conducted with elderly persons, local hakims (Herbal doctors) and household ladies in different villages of the area individually. Indigenous plants were collected, identified according to flora of Pakistan (Stewart, 1972). Confirmation of plants were done in the Herbarium of Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and voucher specimens were deposited in herbarium for future references.

 

RESULTS

 

Results of this investigation were based on 37 medicinal plant species belonging to 23 angiospermic families. Among them monocots represented by 3-families and dicots by 20 families. In table 1, indigenous plants used for diabetes mellitus by rural inhabitants of the area are arranged alphabetically followed by their English name, local name and family name.

Traditional Phytotherapies

1. Antidiabetic Extracts

Adhatoda vasica Nees

Method of use: Extract obtained from the fresh leaves of plant mixed with water. About 10 ml of extract is use triplicate per day. It will shows symptomatic hypoglycemic action to lower blood glucose level of diabetics.

Aloe vera Nill, Fagonia cretica L. and Tylophora hersuta L.

Method of use: Equal quantity of extract obtained from the fresh aerial parts of Fagonia critica, fresh leaves and stem of Aloe vera and fresh branches of Tylophora hersuta L. Then these three extracts are mixed and use small teaspoon thrice a day. According to the rural inhabitants of the area this formula is very old and 100% effective to lower the blood glucose level of diabetics.

Ficus benghalensis L

Method of use: The latex obtained from the aerial parts of the plant (leaves and young branches) and mixed with honey and use orally to control high blood blood glucose level.

Psidium guajava L.

Method of use: Hot water extract made from the dried leaves of plant is use to reduced blood glucose level of diabetics. This hot tea was very common among the local people of the area.

Momardica charantia L.

Method of use: The juice obtained from the fresh fruits of plant and use one small cup daily. This juice also exhibit anti-diabetic properties.

Allium cepa L.

Method of use: The juice obtained from the underground corm and use one tea spoon thrice a day. This is very effective treatment for the control of blood sugar and high blood pressure amongst the diabetics.

Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don.

Method of use: Extract obtained from fresh leaves and use small tea spoon following morning. This extract has also hypoglycemic action.

2. Antidiabetic leaves

Zizyphus jujuba Mill.

Method of use: 4-5 fresh leaves are plucked washed with clean water and chewed daily by diabetics to lower blood glucose level.

Dodonaea viscosa (L.) Jacq.

Method of use: 2-3 Fresh leaves of the plant are plucked and chewed twice a day with glass of water.

3. Antidiabetic powder (safoof)

Ocimum sanctum L. and Ocimum album L.

Method of use: Leaves of these plants species are dried under shade, then ground to made powder (Safoof) and use 21 gm twice a day. According to rural inhabitants, this powder is dietry therapy and drug treatment for diabeties.

Momardica charantia L.

Method of use: The fruits of the plant are dried under shade, then ground to obtained powder. This powder shows significant effect to lower blood glucose level of diabetics.

Syzygium cuminii Skeels

Method of use: Seeds of the plant are dried under shade, then ground to made powder About 25 gm powder is used thrice a day with water. This decrease blood glucose level very significantly.

Kickxia ramosissima (Wall) Janchen

Method of use: The whole plant is dried under shade and is ground to made powder. This powder is prescribed for treatment of diabetes by rural inhabitants of the area.

Cichorium intybus L.

Method of use: The roots are dried under shade and then ground to obtained powder. About 15 gm of this powder is taken with glass of water twice a day before meal to lower blood glucose level amongst diabetics.

Melia azedarach L.

Method of use: The dried fruits of the plant is obtained, when leaves falls seasonally. The pericarp of fruit is obtained and dried for 4-5 days. Then this pericarp is ground to made safoof. About half small teaspoon is used with glass of water in the following morning daily for 1 month. This is a very effective phytotherapy for the treatment of diabetes amongst the rural inhabitants of the area.

Hordeum vulgare L., Cicer arietinum L., and Elettaria cardamomum Maton

Method of use: 125 gram seeds of Hordeum vulgare and roasted seeds of Cicer arietinum are ground and mix with 50 gm powder fruits of Elettaria cardamomum. Then these are mixed and use half teaspoon with water thrice a day to control blood glucose level.

4. Antidiabetic flour

Method of use: The flour obtained from the plants with equal quantity of 2 Kg from each plant.

i. Cicer arietinum L. Seeds

ii. Daucus carrota L. Underground part (Dried form)

iii. Hordeum vulgare L. Seeds.

iv. Oryza sativa L. Seeds

v. Triticum aestivum L. Seeds

vi. Zea mays L. (yellow variety) Seeds

The flour obtained from all above 6-plants are mixed up. In the every morning eat small bread of this flour with fresh butter of cow for 2-month. This flour is used as dietry and substitute for the control of diabetes.

5. Antidiabetic seeds

Trigonella foenium graecum L.

Method of use: 25 gm seeds of plant constitute a single dose and this dose is used daily for 21-days with water. It is one of efficient treatment to reduced blood glucose level amongst diabetics.

Withania coagulens (L.) Dunal.

Method of use: 15 gm seeds of the plant are soaked in water for whole night. In the morning before breakfast use these seeds with water.

6. Antidiabetic Pot Herbs/Vegetables

Solanum nigrum L.

Method of use: Fresh aerial parts of the plant are cooked as vegetable in houses and is recommended to diabetics.

Taraxauim officinale Weber

Method of use: Fresh leaves are cooked as vegetable (locally-called Saag). And this is used by diabetics to reduced blood glucose level.

Cajanus cajan & Vigna mungo (Burm. F.) Walp.

Method of use: The pulse obtained from the seeds of these plant is cooked and is recommended to diabetics.

Allium sativum L.

Method of use: The under ground bulb is cooked or uncooked is used for diabetes and hypertension amongst diabetics.

Caralluma edulis (Bther. Hb.)

Method of use: The tarial parts are cooked as vegetables and used by rural inhabitants of the area for diabetes millitus.

7. Antidiabetic fruits

Vigna sinensis (Burm, F.) Walp.

Method of use: The immature pods of the plant are used for reducing blood glucose level.

Syzygium cuminii Skeels.

The fresh fruits are used for diabetes.

Olea ferruginea Royle.

Method of use: Fruit fresh in summer season are collected, dried and recommended to diabetics in winter season for reducing blood glucose level.

8. Antidiabetic Herbal Mixture

Methods of use: 25 gm seeds of each, that is Syzygium cuminii, Momardica charantia and 12 gm each of Cyperus rotundus and Rosa alba are used successfully for lowering blood glucose level by inhabitants of the area.

Trigonella foenum-graecum L.

Method of use: A herbal mixture comprising 50 gm each of Tylophlra hirsuta leaves Trigonella foenum-graecum seeds and aerial parts of Fumaria indica. This mixture is significantly reduced blood glucose level of diabetics.

DISCUSSION

Local peoples of the area especially old man and ladies-termed as specialists treat the diabetes by using indigenous medicinal plants. And they think (belief) that traditional medicines are better, permanent cure of their diseases. So the indigenous knowledge, accordingly, continuous to provide the building blocks for the development in rural communities (Rahman and Zaman, 1989). During the study, it was found that the traditional phytotherapies were more adaptable and acceptable from old time to present. Because of widespread use of folk herbal remedies appears to be not only a case of preference but also of a situation without alternative choices . Such a system of medical treatment on which the majority of the population has been relying upon for generations with considerable success, should not be overlooked for further medical investigation, specially on those plants which have not been looked at for medical research, although the same have been in use by local inhabitants over hundred of years.

CONCLUSION

 

In fact diabetes now a days is a global problem because every year a considerable amount of foreign exchange is involved in the import of the drugs of foreign origin. The utilization of indigenous drug resources with importance of the local industry on the one hand and will minimize the expenditure incurred on the purchase of foreign drugs on the other. In view of the economic importance of medicinal indigenous plants, research and development efforts should be focused on these plants. So it is strongly recommended to carryout phytochemical and clinical research work of the indigenous plants to prove and substantiate the traditional phytotherapies of the rural people. The clinically active plants should be studied along with active compounds which are responsible for the hypoglycemic activities. Compounds from these plants with proven results may then be synthesized in large amount commercially for wider circulation throughout the world for global marketing.

 

REFERENCES

  • Anonymous. 1992. Bangladesh National Formulatory of Ayurvedic medicines. 116, p.20.

 

        Anonymous. 1998. District Census Report of Attock, population census organization. Statistical Division, Islamabad-Pakistan. 206-208.

 

        Baquar, S. R. 1989. Medicinal and poisnous plants of Pakistan. Karachi. pp.95-96, 184-185, 248-249, 337-440.

 

        Rahman, A.U. and K. Zaman.1989. Medicinal Plants with Hypoglycemic Activity, J. Ethnopharmacol. 26, 1-55.

 

        Stewart, R. A. 1972. An annotated catalogue of the vascular plants of West Pakistan and Kashmir. In: E. Nasir and S. I. Ali (eds.) Flora of West Pakistan, University of Karachi, Pakistan.

 

        Yusuf, M., J. U. Chaudhury, M. A., Whab and J. Begum. 1994. In: Medicinal plants of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) Laboratories, Chittagong, Bangladesh.

 

TABLE: INDIGENOUS MEDICINAL PLANT SPECIES USED FOR TREATMENT OF DIABETES

 

 

S. #

Botanical name

English name

Local name

Family

Voucher No.

1

Aloe vera Mill

Aloe

Kunwarghandel

Liliaceae

14

2

Allium cepa L.

Onion

Piaz

Liliaceae

81

3

Allium sativum L.

Garlic

Thoom

Liliaceae

75

4

Adhatoda vasica Nees

Vasaka

Bekkar

Acanthaceae

72

5

Cataranthus roseus L.

Periwinkle

Sada bahar

Apocynaceae

59

6

Cajanus cajan

Pigeon pea

Arar ke dal

Papilionaceae

61

7

Caraluma edulis (Edgew.) Bther Hk

Carallume

Choung

Asclepiadaceae

26

8

Cicer arietinum L.

Gram

Chinnay

Papilionaceae

42

9

Cichorium intybus L.

Chicory

Kasni

Asteraceae

66

10

Cyperus rotundus L.

Nutgrass

Deela

Cyperaceae

69

11

Daucus carrota

Carrot

Gager

Apiaceae

62

12

Dodonaea viscosa (L) Jang

Switch sorrel

Sanatha

Sapindaceae

06

13

Elettaria cardamomum Maton

Cardamon

Chotilachi

Zingiberaceae

23

14

Fagonia cretical L.

Fagonia

Dhamana

Euphorbiaceae

24

15

Ficus bengalensis L.

Banyan

Bohr

Moraceae

08

16

Fumaria officina (haussk.) Pugsbyi

Fumitory

Papra

Fumariaceae

09

17

Hordeum vulgare L.

Barley

Jo

Poaceae

03

18

Kickxia ramosissima (Wall.) Janchen

Kichxia

Khunger booti

Scrophulariaceae

18

19

Melia azedarach L.

Barbados lilac

Herak

Meliaceae

13

20

Momardica charantia L.

Bitter gourd

Karella

Cucurbitaceae

22

21

Ocimum album L.

White basil

Chitti tulsi

Lamiaceae

56

22

Ocimum sanctum L.

Holy basil

Tulsi

Lamiaceae

05

23

Olea ferruginea Royle

Indian olive

Kao

Oleaceae

37

24

Oryza sativa L.

Rice

Chawal

Poaceae

39

25

Psidium guajava L.

Guava

Amrood

Myrtaceae

10

26

Rosa alba L.

White rose

Chitta gulab

Rosaceae

11

27

Solanum nigrum L.

Black nightshade

Kachmach

Solanaceae

15

28

Syzygium cuminii Skeels

Black plum

Jamnoo

Myrtaceae

16

29

Taraxacum officinale Weber.

Dandelion

Doddak

Asteraceae

17

30

Tyophora hersuts L.

Tylophora

Glow

Asclepiadaceae

20

31

Triticum aestivum L.

Wheat

Karunk

Poaceae

29

32

Trigonella foemum Graecum L.

Fennugreek

Methri

Papilionaceae

21

33

Vigna mungo (Burm, f.) Walp.

Green gram

Mong

Papilionaceae

33

34

Vigna sinensis (Burm, F.) Walp.

Cow bean

Lobia

Papilionaceae

34

35

Withania coagulens (L.) Dunal.

Wintercherry

Chitta verino

Solanaceae

12

36

Zea mays L.

Corn/maize

Makki

Poaceae

25

37

Zizyphus jujuba Mill.

Chinee tree

Berri

rhamnaceae

44