COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Hypoglycaemic effect of Clausena anisata (Willd) Hook methanolic root extract in rats

John A O Ojewole
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2002, 81 (2): 231-7
12065156
This study was designed to examine the hypoglycaemic effect of Clausena anisata (Willd) Hook [family: Rutaceae] root methanolic extract in normal (normoglycaemic) and in streptozotocin-treated diabetic rats. Young adult, male Wistar rats (Rattus norvegicus) weighing 250-300 g were used. Diabetes mellitus was induced in the group of diabetic 'test' rats by intraperitoneal injections of streptozotocin (STZ, 90 mg/kg). In one set of experiments, graded doses of the methanolic root extract of C. anisata (CAME, 100-800 mg/kg p.o.) were administered to both fasted normal and fasted diabetic rats. In another set of experiments, 800 mg/kg of CAME, a dose of the plant extract which produced maximal hypoglycaemic effect in both fasted normal and diabetic rats in the previous set of experiments, was used. The hypoglycaemic effect of this single dose of C. anisata root methanolic extract (i.e. CAME, 800 mg/kg p.o.) was compared with those of insulin (5 micro U/kg s.c.) and glibenclamide (0.2 mg/kg p.o.) in both fasted normal and fasted diabetic rats. Following acute treatment, relatively moderate to high doses of CAME (100-800 mg/kg p.o.) produced dose-dependent, significant reductions (P<0.05-0.001) in the blood glucose concentrations of both fasted normal and fasted diabetic rats. On their own, both insulin (5 micro U/kg s.c.) and glibenclamide (0.2 mg/kg p.o.) produced significant reductions (P<0.01-0.001) in the blood glucose concentrations of the fasted normal and diabetic rats. At a dose of 800 mg/kg p.o., CAME reduced the mean basal blood glucose concentrations of fasted normal and fasted diabetic rats by 57.52 and 51.30%, respectively. C. anisata contains a diverse group of chemical compounds (see Table 1). Since methanol extractives of plants are usually known to contain many chemical compounds, each of which is capable of producing definite biological activities via different mechanisms, it is difficult to draw any logical conclusion on the mechanism of the hypoglycaemic effect of such a diverse mixture of chemical compounds contained in the plant extract used in this study. While it is possible that the hypoglycaemic effect of the plant extract may be due, at least in part, to its terpenoid and coumarin contents, the mechanism of its hypoglycaemic action remains largely speculative, and is unlikely to be due to the stimulation of pancreatic beta-cells and subsequent secretion of insulin. Although C. anisata root methanolic extract is less potent than insulin as an antidiabetic agent, the results of this experimental animal study indicate that the herb possesses hypoglycaemic activity; and thus lend credence to the suggested folkloric use of C. anisata root in the management and/or control of adult-onset, Type-2 diabetes mellitus in some communities of South Africa.

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