Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disease with severe complications and major health/economic impacts. It is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with an estimated 346 million adults being affected in year 2011. WHO projects that diabetes death will increase by two- thirds between 2008 and 2030
. The prevalence of diabetes for all age-groups worldwide was estimated to be 2.8% in 2000 and 4.4% in 2030
In Sudan diabetes is an increasingly important problem, being responsible for 10% of hospital admissions and mortality
. Recently, an increase in incidence of DM has been observed especially among urbanized population indicating that diabetes mellitus is emerging as an important health problem
. The results of a small-scale study carried out in 1996 indicated that diabetes population in Sudan is at around one million, 90% of them have type 2 diabetes. It also showed a prevalence of 3.4% of type 2 DM
Nature is an extraordinary source of medicines. The use of traditional medicines and medicinal plants in most developing countries as therapeutic agents for the maintenance of good health has been widely observed. The World Health Organization estimated that 80% of the populations of developing countries rely on traditional medicines, mostly plant drugs, for their primary health care needs. Diabetes is an example of a disease that has been treated with plant medicines. Research conducted in the last few decades on plants used traditionally for treatment of diabetes has shown antidiabetic properties
To date, more than 1200 flowering plants have been claimed to have antidiabetic properties. Among them, only one-third have been scientifically studied and documented in around 460 publications
The Sudanese flora has a vast variety of medicinal plants, which are traditionally used for their antidiabetic property. However, careful assessment including sustainability of such herbs, seasonal variation in activity of phyto-constituents, metal contents of crude herbal anti-diabetic drugs, thorough toxicity study and cost effectiveness is required for their popularity. These efforts may justify the role of novel traditional medicinal plants having anti-diabetic potentials.
Herbal drugs are considered free from side effects than synthetic one. They are less toxic, relatively cheap and popular
. However cytotoxicity of these plants needs to be monitored.
Brine shrimp bioassays (BSLT) offer a quick, simple and cost-efficient way of testing the toxicity of plant extracts. It has been developed for screening, fractionation and monitoring of biologically active natural products
Oxidative stress has been implicated in the development of many pathophysiological conditions including diabetes. Oxidative stress takes place due to the disturbance of the balance between the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the defense provided by cellular antioxidants. Medicinal plants provide a natural source of antioxidants that have been used worldwide for treatment of many diseases
The inhibition of glycogen phosphorylase has been used as one method for treating type 2 diabetes. Since glucose production in the liver has been shown to increase in type 2 diabetes patients, inhibiting the release of glucose from the liver’s glycogen’s supplies appears to be a valid approach
In the present study we assessed the antioxidant and hypoglycemic activities of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Ambrosia maritima, Ammi visnaga, Acacia senegal, Sesamum indicum, Nigella sativa, Foeniculum vulgare of Sudanese origin. Screening of toxicity of these plants using brine shrimp lethality test, is also investigated.