Identity, Preparation, Dosages and Conservation Knowledge of the Antidiabetic Herbs Used by The Tugen Living in Baringo County-Kenya
The primary goal of managing Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is to regulate blood sugar levels within the physiologic limits (3Mmol/l to7Mmmol/l-fasting blood sugars). This can be either done pharmacologically (conventional or non-conventional) or non- pharmacologically (exercises etc.). Available reports show that, more than 80% of the African population use non-conventional pharmacological approaches- especially herbal remedies in the management of their ailments including DM.
Objectives: The study sought to identify the antidiabetic herbs used by the Tugen community living in Baringo county-Kenya. Establish the plant parts in use, preparation methods and the dosage of each specific herb. Equally assess the knowledge of both the diabetics and the antidiabetic herbalists on possible antidiabetic herbal medicine conservation.
Materials and Methodolog: A descriptive cross-sectional survey study design was adopted. Information about the local names of commonly used herbs and the plant parts, their preparation, their doses and the knowledge of antidiabetic herbal conservation was obtained from 39 medically ascertained diabetics between 27 to 70 years old and 12 herbalists, using a researcher administered questionnaire and an interview guiderespectively. They were identified through snow balling and purposive sampling method. Samples of the identified plants’/ herbs’ parts were collected and taken for taxonomic identification and Assigning of botanical names based on their morphological characteristics was done at the department of Botany, University of Eldoret, Kenya. Data entry, cleaning, and coding was done using Excel Office 13. Analysising with SPSS version 21 software. The summarized data were presented in tables of frequencies and graphs where applicable.
Results : The commonly used herbal medications in the management of diabetes, in Baringo as reported by the herbalist were Urtica dioica (stinging nettle (UD)) (75%) and Carissa edulis (CE) (58%). Most (85%) of the herbs according to the diabetics were dried, crushed to powder then added to boiling water before drinking. Dosage, unanimously, the herbs were taken twice a day 2-3 teaspoonfuls in either 250mls or 500mls of boiled and/or cooled water. Diabetics (77%) took these herbs because they believed herbal medicine improve their health. Herbalists (67%), believed their diabetic herbal medications stabilize blood sugars and cured their patients. Diabetic patients and herbalists had some knowledge about bio conservation, 44% of the diabetics understood conservation as planting more medicinal herbal plants/herbs. Herbalists 75% of them described conservations as a surity of constant supply annually. According to the herbalists “those herbs which can be dried and stored, could be harvested in plenty during the rainy season to last till the next rainy season”.
Conclusions: Among the Tugen living in baringo, Carissa edulis (CE) and Urtica dioica (UD) were the most frequently used antidiabetics followed by Hypoestes forskaolii (HF) to regulate sugar levels. There was no standard method of preparation and dosaging of these herbs due variations from patients/herbalists.
Recommendations: Policymakers need to create awareness on the importance of standardization and bio conservation for enhancement of sustainability and careful use of these very important scarce environmental resources and not loose the diabetic herb/plant biodiversity. Taking care of biodiversity and its services in the community, creates one of the reasons why we should enhance and promote conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants
Keywords: Anti-diabetic herbal medicinal plants/herbs, Diabetics, Antidiabetic plant/herb herbalists, Preparation, Dosaging, Tugen community, Baringo County.