Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common deadly disease that affects mankind in both the poor and developed countries of the world. It is rather unfortunate that the number of people suffering from this disease particularly in Nigeria is on the increase. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted to document medicinal plants commonly used for the treatment of DM by the inhabitants of Ekiti South Senatorial Districts of Ekiti State, Nigeria. The study revealed that 30 plant species belonging to 12 families were cited by the respondents as being used in the area for the treatment of DM. Mangifera indica and Alstonia boonei of the families Anacadiaceae and Apocynaceae respectively, were repeatedly mentioned as the two mostly used plants for the treatment of DM in the study area. About 53.33% of the plants cited were reported as being rare, thus further studies on their conservation strategies were suggested. KEYWORDS:
Diabetes mellitus, medicinal plants, Indigenous knowledge, Ekiti South Senatorial District.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a human metabolic disorder caused by the destruction of insulin producing Î² cells in the pancreas- type I diabetes and or reduction in the sensitivity of the body muscles and liver cells to insulin action- type II diabetes. (Oyedemi et al., 2009; Zimmet, 2002). The disease often develops when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to compensate for the impaired ability to use insulin (Larsson et al., 1998;). DM is characterized by disturbances in carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism resulting to chronic blood glucose (sugar) that could lead to severe complications (Rang et al., 1991). Patient with high blood sugar usually experience frequent urination. They are also prone to thirst and hunger (Tedong, 2006). Other symptoms of DM include; numbness, loss of sensation and coordination, imbalance and feet pains.
DM disease usually affects individuals over 40 years of age. Increased consumption of caloryrich diet, obesity and sedentary life style of this age group was said to be responsible for the great increase in the number of people suffering from this disease worldwide (WHO 1980). According to Marx (2002), the frequency of diabetics may escalate, with a major effect on the population of developing nations due to the inadequate intervention measures against the disease. With the over 150 million people suffering from DM worldwide and the projected increase to 300 million or more by 2025 (Moller and Filler,1991), there is a need to look inward and proffer drastic measure to control the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, Africa and Asia are reported as regions with conditions where diabetics could rise above the predicted level (ADA 1997).
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that Nigeria has the greatest number of people living with diabetes in Africa (Wild et al., 2004). Surprisingly, the disease is not limited to the rural communities alone. Its prevalence varies from 0.65% in rural Mangu of northern Nigeria to 11% in Lagos, an urban city in Southern Nigeria (Akinkingbe et al., 1997). The authors also reported that not less than 1.05 million Nigerians were likely to be diabetic with only about 225,000 knowing about their condition, and just about 198,000 receiving treatment. Their report also indicated that the prevalence of the disease in Nigeria tend to increase in both male and female adult after the age of 45 years.
It is gratifying that the use of medicinal plants in addressing the health needs of African population is now being supported by a range of stakeholders including -