In vivo Studies on Antidiabetic Plants Used in South African Herbal Medicine.
Diabetes is one of the most common metabolic disorders worldwide. It is a major health problem with its frequency increasing every day in most countries. The disease is generally believed to be incurable; and the few orthodox drugs available to manage the disease are not readily affordable to the poor. Based on the historical success of natural products as antidiabetic agents and the ever increasing need for new antidiabetics, a number of South African medicinal plants have been evaluated for their antidiabetic properties. In this article, we review the major studies conducted based on ethnobotanical surveys carried out between 2005 and 2008 in South Africa on plants that are traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes. Overall, the results of the studies conducted confirmed the potential of South African medicinal plants in antidiabetic drug discovery and identified a number of promising taxa for further in vivo investigation as plant-based antidiabetic agents.