Planta Med 2009; 75 - PD65
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1234544

A survey of medicinal plants used to treat diabetes mellitus in two northern districts of Bangladesh

F Rahman 1, S Hossan 1, AH Mollik 1, R Jahan 1, ABM Faroque 2, I Sadeak 1, M Rahmatullah 1
  • 1Department of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering, University of Development Alternative, House No. 78, Road No. 11A, Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh
  • 2Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh

Diabetes mellitus (DM), a disease characterized by abnormalities in insulin secretion and consequent hyperglycemia, affects millions of people world-wide. It has been estimated that 3.8% of the rural population and a larger percentage of the urban population of Bangladesh suffers from this disease, which over the years can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disorders and diabetic nephropathy, to mention only a few. Modern allopathic medicine has no known cure for DM. On the other hand, traditional medicinal practitioners (TMPs) are known in Bangladesh to treat DM with concoctions made from medicinal plants. It is also claimed by the TMPs that their treatment can completely cure DM. We accordingly conducted an ethnomedicinal survey of TMPs in two northern districts of Bangladesh, namely Dinajpur and Panchagar to find out about medicinal plants used by them to treat DM. Interviews were conducted with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire and plant specimens as pointed out by TMPs were collected and identified at the Bangladesh National Herbarium. The names of 14 plant species were obtained. These plant species (with family name given in parenthesis) included Catharanthus roseus (Apocynaceae), Coccinia grandis (Cucurbitaceae), Psidium guajava (Myrtaceae), Cassia occidentalis (Fabaceae), Fragaria vesca (Rosaceae), Coccinia cordifolia (Cucurbitaceae), Murraya koenigii (Rutaceae), Aegle marmelos (Rutaceae), Abroma augusta (Sterculiaceae), Berberis asiatica (Berberidaceae), Cryphaea glomerata (Cryphaeaceae), Saccharum spontaneum (Gramineae), Hyptis suaveolens (Lamiaceae), and Tinospora cordifolia (Menispermaceae). Plants like Catharanthus roseus, Psidium guajava, and Coccinia cordifolia have already been reported in scientific studies to have considerable hypoglycemic potential. It is expected that more studies on the other plants can lead to identification of novel compounds to treat DM.