Open Access

Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine20062:45

DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-2-45

Received: 07 August 2006

Accepted: 13 October 2006

Published: 13 October 2006

Abstract

Background

This paper is based on ethnobotanical interviews conducted from 1996–2000 in Trinidad and Tobago with thirty male and female respondents.

Methods

A non-experimental validation was conducted on the plants used for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus: This is a preliminary step to establish that the plants used are safe or effective, to help direct clinical trials, and to inform Caribbean physicians of the plants' known properties to avoid counter-prescribing.

Results

The following plants are used to treat diabetes: Antigonon leptopus, Bidens alba, Bidens pilosa, Bixa orellana, Bontia daphnoides, Carica papaya, Catharanthus roseus, Cocos nucifera, Gomphrena globosa, Laportea aestuans, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Phyllanthus urinaria and Spiranthes acaulis. Apium graviolens is used as a heart tonic and for low blood pressure. Bixa orellana, Bontia daphnoides, Cuscuta americana and Gomphrena globosa are used for jaundice. The following plants are used for hypertension: Aloe vera, Annona muricata, Artocarpus altilis, Bixa orellana, Bidens alba, Bidens pilosa, Bonta daphnoides, Carica papaya, Cecropia peltata, Citrus paradisi, Cola nitida, Crescentia cujete, Gomphrena globosa, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Kalanchoe pinnata, Morus alba, Nopalea cochinellifera, Ocimum campechianum, Passiflora quadrangularis, Persea americana and Tamarindus indicus.

The plants used for kidney problems are Theobroma cacao, Chamaesyce hirta, Flemingia strobilifera, Peperomia rotundifolia, Petiveria alliacea, Nopalea cochinellifera, Apium graveolens, Cynodon dactylon, Eleusine indica, Gomphrena globosa, Pityrogramma calomelanos and Vetiveria zizanioides. Plants are also used for gall stones and for cooling.

Conclusion

Chamaesyce hirta, Cissus verticillata, Kalanchoe pinnata, Peperomia spp., Portulaca oleraceae, Scoparia dulcis, and Zea mays have sufficient evidence to support their traditional use for urinary problems, "cooling" and high cholesterol.

Eggplant extract as a hypocholesterolemic agent has some support but needs more study. The plants used for hypertension, jaundice and diabetes that may be safe and justify more formal evaluation are Annona squamosa, Aloe vera, Apium graveolens, Bidens alba, Carica papaya, Catharanthus roseus, Cecropia peltata, Citrus paradisi, Hibsicus sabdariffa, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Persea americana, Phyllanthus urinaria, Tamarindus indicus and Tournefortia hirsutissima. Several of the plants are used for more than one condition and further trials should take this into account.

Background

Latin American and Caribbean policy makers have recognised that many problems in primary health care are due to lack of knowledge and sensitivity to local health practices, and to the economic and cultural factors associated with these practices [1]. However available herbal products have no clear statement of content; or medically related information on the package labels, and have not been validated or certified by any recognised body. This concerns consumers (potential and actual) and medical practitioners who may unknowingly counter-prescribe these herbal products [1]. Not all of the plants reported to be useful are harmless. These considerations (among others) underlie the study of ethnomedicinal plants used in Trinidad and Tobago from 1995 to 2000 [1]. This paper focuses on the plants used for diabetes, urinary problems and related problems. The World Health Organization has projected that the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago will increase from 70,000 in the year 2000 to 89,000 by the year 2010 [2]. Type 1 diabetes typically affects less than 10% of patients [3]. Both types of diabetes involve hyperglycemia and several grave complications resulting from long-term hyperglycemia [3]. Control of the glucose levels in the blood is the most effective treatment. Long term reductions in hyperglycemia reduce the likelihood of developing microvascular and macrovascular complications [3]. Type 2 diabetes mellitus has both genetic and environmental components [2]. Previous studies (including Caribbean studies) of offspring or first-degree relatives of patients with type 2 diabetes have confirmed that insulin resistance and/or hyperinsulinaemia is the antecedent biochemical marker for developing diabetes in middle age [2]. First-degree relatives of diabetic patients are more likely to develop diabetes and also have an increased cluster of biochemical metabolic syndrome risk factors [2]. Although insulin resistance is independently associated with obesity, it is more severe in obese patients (80% of type 2 diabetic patients in the West) [3]. Diabetic patients typically have delayed or impaired wound healing, and may develop chronic ulcers [4]. Diabetic ulcers of the lower limbs and feet are associated with high morbidity and amputation is a common treatment. Peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease are possible underlying factors in diabetic wound formation, but dermal atrophy is a possible contributing factor [4]. Reduced fibroblast growth, increased expression of matrix-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and decreased matrix synthesis are consequences of chronic vascular disease in diabetic skin as well as in other situations characterised by peripheral vascular disease [4]. Atrophic skin is more likely to develop wounds than healthy skin. In addition, insufficient extracellular matrix production during the proliferative phase of wound repair contributes to poor healing [4].

A 1990 Caribbean study on folk medicine used for diabetes mellitus found no difference between non-users of informal medication and those who used it in addition to, or in replacement of, formal medication to control diabetes mellitus in Jamaica [5]. The authors found that teas made from periwinkle (Catharantus species) and rice bitters (Andrographics paniculata) interfered with the control of diabetes mellitus. In a previous study by one of the authors, with more severe cases of diabetes, formal medication gave better control of the diabetes than folk medicine teas [6].

A more recent study conducted in Trinidad and Tobago examined 622 people with diabetes mellitus. Herbal remedies for diabetes were used by 152 (24%) of patients [7]. Caraaili (Momordica charantia), aloes (Aloe vera), olive bush (Bontia daphnoides) and seed-under-leaf (Phyllanthus urinaria) were the plants most frequently used. Patients who reported burning or numbness in the feet or feelings of tiredness, weakness, giddiness or dizziness used folk medicines more frequently than those who reported other symptoms [7]. Subsequent studies by the same authors have discarded folk medicine and focussed on the standards of conventional medical care for diabetes [810]. In a 2004 study they found that diabetes was associated with low income status and worse health status and more frequent expenditure on medical services [9]. Although the authors of this study found that the control group had access to health insurance this access is not common in Trinidad. In an earlier paper the same authors estimated the annual cost of hospital admissions with diabetes at TT10.66 million (UK 1.24 million pounds) [10], type 2 diabetes is a costly and largely avoidable problem.

In the late 1980s an IDRC-funded study examined the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in women in Trinidad [11]. They screened 4013 women older than 25 years in 3152 households and 769 had been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus or hypertension. They concluded that the women's conditions were not managed adequately by the health system and that they should assume greater responsibility for managing their own health [11]. It is therefore puzzling that little research has been conducted on the medicinal plants used for diabetes and their efficacy.

Instead studies have examined ethnic or gender differences in prevalence of diabetes mellitus or compliance with conventional treatment protocols [12]. Finding alternatives is important because 10 – 20% of the population is affected. The leading causes of death and illness for the past thirty years in Trinidad and Tobago have been cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes mellitus [13]. In a 2002 study, 2117 randomly selected patients from 35 randomly selected government health centres in Trinidad were found to be suffering from diabetes-related foot problems. Of these, 49% had burning or numbness in the feet, 1241 (59%) self-reported visual impairment and 12% had foot ulceration of whom 92 (4%) had major or minor amputation [14].

This author conducted ethnoveterinary research in Trinidad and Tobago from 1995 to 2000. During this research many ethnomedicinal plant uses were discovered that did not have comparative uses for animals. This paper deals with the twenty-two plants used for hypertension, the four plants used for jaundice and the fourteen used for diabetes. It also presents the forty-five plants for urinary problems, "cooling" and high cholesterol levels.

A substantial body of research published outside the Caribbean since 2000 has provided sufficient data to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the researched plants and this evaluation is presented in the discussion section of this paper [15]. Several (approx. 30) of the plant uses have already been recorded in an ethnomedicinal study in one rural community in the northern range of Trinidad [16] and in the study on diabetes mellitus mentioned previously [7]. Several older studies referred to in the discussion section of the paper were reviewed previously and their original references will not be given for space reasons [1].

The Trinidadian hot/cold system

Caribbean folk medicine is a marriage-α-cinq:European folkmedicine, scientific medicine, African-based practices, Amerindianmedicine and Indian-based medicine, a product of inter-group borrowing or medical syncretism [1]. Activities, food and medicines are classified in various ethnomedicinal systems as hot or cold. The Trinidadian hot/cold system is not humoral in the sense that balance must be established between hot and cold, it is cathartic in that remedies are taken to remove heat from the system [1]. Some researchers consider that the hot-cold concept of health and illness is absent in Spanish folk medicine and did not exist at the folk level in the past [1]. These beliefs are now widespread in Latin America and the Caribbean, and according to G.M. Foster were derived from the élite and scholarly Hippocratic-galenic traditions that were brought to the Spanish colonies by Spanish physicians and clergy [17, 18]. The hot-cold valence refers to the traditional belief that heat opens the body and facilitates the blood's free flow, whereas cold causes the blood to stop flowing and clog the arteries, veins and womb [1, 17, 18]. Heat comes from the sun, work, sleeping, burns, cooking, and reproductive activities. Linked to the hot/cold dichotomy is a system of blood beliefs where an excess or lack of cold or heat in the body through exposure or diet causes illness. Blood then becomes 'bad' or dirty [1]. Female Warao herbalists in Eastern Venezuela also use the concept of bad blood [19].

Teas are used for 'cooling' if there is too much 'heat' in the body. Cooling teas are used prophylatically when they are taken to keep the body healthy by cooling the 'system', or the bladder, meaning that they remove the 'heat' or impurities in the system [1, 1720]. Cooling teas become treatment when they are taken for undiagnosed or unspecified illnesses or when feeling unwell. Purges reduce the heat further and 'clean the blood'. Thereare also 'hot' plants to stimulate the blood or to treat 'cold' illnesses, and 'hot' external applications like 'soft candle' 'grated nutmeg' and hot poultices [1, 1720]. Medicines are administered in accordance with the identity between cause and effect. Expulsion of disease-causing impurities is the primary mechanism by which bodily equilibrium is restored. Folk medicines achieve cures through 'bitterness', 'cutting', 'cooling', 'building', 'purging or washing out', and 'drawing out' [1, 1720].

Methods

This study adhered to the research guidelines and ethical protocols of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Thirty respondents, ten of whom were male were interviewed from September 1996 to September 2000. The respondents were obtained by snowball sampling, and were found in thirteen different sites, 12 in Trinidad and one in Tobago. Snowball sampling was used because there was no other means of identifying respondents and because the research covered the entire island-area rather than concentrating on one village. The chief objective of the sampling method was to identify knowledgeable respondents; no priority was given to extrapolating the data to the wider population to establish prevalence of use. No statistical analysis was applied to the data.

Twenty respondents were interviewed once, the other ten (who were healers) were interviewed three or four times. Healers were also asked to reconstruct the circumstances and contexts of the plant uses so that the means of administration of the plants could be identified. No interview schedule of questions was used but a more qualitative, conversational technique. Plants were collected when available to verify that the common names used by each respondent were the same in each ethnic group as those recorded in the literature. The majority of the plants were identified at the Herbarium of the University of the West Indies but voucher samples were not deposited. This ethnomedicinal study was part of a larger research project on ethnoveterinary medicine; other data collecting techniques were used in the larger study [1].

Validation of practices

A preliminary validation of ethnomedicinal practices is considered a preliminary step to establish which plants are safe or effective and which uses should be discontinued. It also ensures that clinical trials are not wasted on plants that are used for cultural or religious reasons. This is important not only because of the waste of time, money and energy, but because negative results can lead to the discrediting of further effort [1].

Anthropologists like Posey [21] and Hastrup and Elsass [22] claim that anthropologists should not decide whether indigenous beliefs and practices are or are not scientific as this has colonial overtones. Other anthropologists claim that indigenous knowledge systems represent the cultural dimension of development and cannot be reduced to the empirical knowledge that they contain [23]. These anthropological reservations have some value; however validation of traditional medicines is important since most scientists will not use local medicines without some form of validation and they have discouraged the use of these medicines leading to their disuse and eventual loss [1]. A framework of indigenous/ethnoveterinary knowledge that can interface with science and technology is more likely to influence scientific research agendas and development work [1, 24].

The validation of the remedies was conducted with a non-experimental method [25]. This method consists of:
  1. 1.

    obtaining an accurate botanical identification,

     
  2. 2.

    determining whether the folk data can be understood in terms of bioscientific concepts and methods,

     
  3. 3.

    searching the chemical/pharmaceutical/pharmacological literature for the plant's known chemical constituents and to determine the known physiological effects of either the crude plant, related species, or isolated chemical compounds that the plant is known to contain.

     

This information is used to assess whether the plant use is based on empirically verifiable principles or whether symbolic aspects of healing are of greater relevance. If ethnobotanical data, phytochemical and pharmacological information supports the folk use of a plant species it can be grouped into the validation level with the highest degree of confidence.

Four levels of validity were established [25]:
  1. 1.

    If no information supports the use it indicates that the plant may be inactive; or no research has been done on the plant.

     
  2. 2.

    A plant (or closely related species of the same genus), which is used in geographically or temporally distinct areas in the treatment of similar illnesses, attains the lowest level of validity, if no further phytochemical or pharmacological information validates the popular use. Use in other areas increases the likelihood that the plant is active against the illness.

     
  3. 3.

    If in addition to the ethnobotanical data, phytochemical or pharmacological information also validates the use in Trinidad and Tobago, the plant may exert a physiological action on the patient and is more likely to be effective than those at the lowest level of validity.

     
  4. 4.

    If ethnobotanical, phytochemical and pharmacological data supports the folk use of the plant, it is grouped in the highest level of validity and is most likely an effective remedy.

     

Results

Plants used for urinary problems

Forty-five plants were used for urinary problems, "cooling" and high cholesterol levels. The term "stoppage of water" means urinary retention. Four plants were used for bladder problems:Costus scaber, Pilea microphylla, Kalanchoe pinnata and Cocos nucifera. Two plants were used for high cholesterol levels: Solanum melongena and Portulaca oleraceae.Bauhinia cumanensis/Bauhinia excisa and Capraria biflora were used for gall stones.

Twenty-four plants were used for "cooling": Musa species, Begonia humilis, Bontia daphnoides, Cissus verticillata, Coleus aromaticus, Commelina elegans, Cuscuta americana, Cyperus rotundus, Desmodium canum, Entada polystachya, Justicia pectoralis, Momordica charantia, Peperomia pellucida, Ruellia tuberosa, Sansevieria guineensis, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Scoparia dulcis, Cassia alata, Capraria biflora, Kalachoe pinnata, Mimosa pudica, Lepianthes peltata, Tournefortia hirsutissima and Solanum americanum.Bauhinia cumanensis, Bauhinia excisa and Capraria biflora were used for gall stones, while Hibiscus sabdariffa was used to "clean the liver and blood".

The following fourteen plants were used for kidney and other urinary problems: Kalachoe pinnata, Mimosa pudica, Chamaesyce hirta, Flemingia strobilifera, Peperomia rotundifolia, Petiveria alliacea, Nopalea cochinellifera, Apium graveolens, Cynodon dactylon, Zea mays, Theobroma cacao, Lepianthes peltata, Eleusine indica, Gomphrena globosa, Pityrogramma calomelanos and Vetiveria zizanioides.

The results are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1

Ethnomedicinal plants used for "cooling", high cholesterol and urinary problems in Trinidad and Tobago

Scientific name

Family

Common name

Part used

Use

Apium graveolens

Apiaceae

Celery

 

Kidney tonic

Bauhinia cumanensis /excisa

Fabaceae

Monkey step

Bark

Gall stones

Begonia humilis

Begoniaceae

Lozeille

 

Cooling

Bontia daphnoides

Myoporaceae

Olive bush

Leaves

Cooling

Capraria biflora

Scrophulariaceae

Du thé pays

Leaves

Gall stones, cooling

Cassia alata

Fabaceae

Senna

Leaves

Cooling with cloves & ginger

Chamaesyce hirta

Euphorbiaceae

Mal nommée

 

Kidney problems

Cissus verticillata

Vitaceae

Blister bush

Vine

Cooling

Cocos nucifera

Arecaceae

Coconut

Root

Bladder stones

Coleus aromaticus

Lamiaceae

Spanish thyme

Leaves

Cooling

Commelina elegans

Commelinaceae

Water grass

Plant

Cooling

Costus scaber

Zingiberaceae

Wild cane

 

Cleans bladder

Cuscuta americana

Convolvulaceae

Love vine

Vine

Cooling

Cynodon dactylon

Poaceae

Dube

 

Stoppage of water

Cyperus rotundus

Cyperaceae

Nut grass

 

Cooling

Desmodium canum

Fabaceae

Sweet heart bush

Plant

Cooling

Eleusine indica

Poaceae

Dead man's grass

Root, Leaves

Urinary

Entada polystachya

Fabaceae

Mayoc chapelle

 

Cooling

Flemingia strobilifera

Fabaceae

Kidney bush

 

Kidney problems

Gomphrena globosa

Amaranthaceae

Bachelor button

Leaves

Urinary problems

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Malvaceae

Sorrel

Flower & seed

Cleans liver and blood

Justicia pectoralis

Acanthaceae

Carpenter grass

Leaves

Cooling

Kalachoe pinnata

Crassulaceae

Wonder of the world

Leaves

Cooling, Bladder stones

Lepianthes peltata

Piperaceae

Lani bois

Leaves

Tea

Mimosa pudica

Fabaceae

Ti marie, mese marie

 

Cooling, Kidney problems

Momordica charantia

Cucurbitaceae

Caraaili

Vine

Cooling

Musa species

Musaceae

Banana

Dry leaf

Boil for cooling

Nopalea cochinellifera

Cactaceae

Rachette

Joint

Kidney stones

Peperomia rotundifolia

Piperaceae

Giron fleur, mowon

 

Kidney problems

Peperomia pellucida

Piperaceae

Shining bush

 

Cooling

Petiveria alliacea

Phytolaccaceae

Mapourite, kudjuruk

 

Kidney problems

Pilea microphylla

Urticaceae

Du thé bethelmay

Leaves

Bladder cleanser

Pityrogramma calomelanos

Pteridaceae

Fern

 

Urinary problems

Portulaca oleraceae

Portulacaceae

Pussley

Plant

Cholesterol, shortness of breath

Ruellia tuberosa

Acanthaceae

Minny root

Root

Cooling

Sansevieria guineensis

Agavaceae

Langue bouef, lash

Leaves

Cooling

Scoparia dulcis

Scrophulariaceae

Sweet broom

Plant

Cooling for babies

Solanum americanum

Solanaceae

Agouma, gouma

Plant

Cooling, provides iron

Solanum melongena

Solanaceae

Melongene

Fruit

Cholesterol

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

Verbenaceae

Vervine

Leaves

Cooling

Theobroma cacao

Sterculiaceae

Cocoa

Core

Eat for urinary problems

Tournefortia hirsutissima

Boraginaceae

Chigger bush

Leaves

Cooling

Vetiveria zizanioides

Poaceae

Vetivert

 

Urinary problems

Zea mays

Poaceae

Corn silk

Stigma

Diuretic

Plants used for high blood pressure, diabetes and jaundice

Twenty-nine plants are used for diabetes and hypertension including four for jaundice.

Multiple-plant remedies are used for several conditions including one used for jaundice which combined white bachelor button (Gomphrena globosa), olive bush (Bontia daphnoides), small white vere michelle (unidentified), and fine-stemmed rather than thick-stemmed love vine (Cuscuta americana).

The following plants are used to treat diabetes: Antigonon leptopus, Bidens alba, Bidens pilosa, Bontia daphnoides, Carica papaya, Gomphrena globosa, Bixa orellana, Catharanthus roseus, Cocos nucifera, Laportea aestuans, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Phyllanthus urinaria and Spiranthes acaulis.

Apium graveolens is used as a heart tonic and the following plants are used for hypertension: Aloe vera, Annona muricata, Artocarpus altilis, Bixa orellana, Bidens alba, Bidens pilosa, Bontia daphnoides, Carica papaya, Cecropia peltata, Citrus paradisi, Cola nitida, Crescentia cujete, Gomphrena globosa, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Kalanchoe pinnata, Nopalea cochinellifera, Morus alba, Ocimum campechianum, Passiflora quadrangularis, Persea americana and Tamarindus indicus. Low blood pressure is treated with Apium graveolens.

Jaundice is treated with the following plants (many of which are also listed above): Bixa orellana, Bontia daphnoides, Gomphrena globosa and Cuscuta americana.

The ethnomedicinal plants used in Trinidad and Tobago for diabetes are summarised in Table 2.
Table 2

Ethnomedicinal plants used for high blood pressure, jaundice and diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago

Scientific name

Family

Common name

Plant part used

Use

Aloe vera

Liliaceae

Aloes

Leaf gel

Hypertension

Annona muricata

Annonaceae

Soursop

Leaves

Hypertension

Antigonon leptopus

Polygonaceae

Coralita

Vine

Diabetes

Apium graveolens

Apiaceae

Celery

 

Heart tonic, Low blood pressure

Artocarpus altilis

Moraceae

Breadfruit

Leaves

Hypertension

Bidens alba/Bidens pilosa

Asteraceae

Needle grass

Leafy branch

Hypertension, Diabetes

Bixa orellana

Bixaceae

Roucou

Leaves, root

Hypertension, Diabetes, Jaundice

Bontia daphnoides

Myoporaceae

Olive bush

Leaves

Diabetes, Jaundice, Hypertension

Carica papaya

Caricaceae

Papaya

Green fruit

Hypertension, Diabetes

Catharanthus roseus

Apocynaceae

White Periwinkle

 

Diabetes

Cecropia peltata

Cecropiaceae

Bois canôt

Leaves

Hypertension

Citrus paradisi

Rutaceae

Grapefruit

Peel

Hypertension

Cocos nucifera

Arecaceae

Coconut

Shell, flower

Diabetes

Cola nitida

Sterculiaceae

Obie seed

Seed

Hypertension

Crescentia cujete

Bignoniaceae

Calabash

Leaves

Hypertension

Cuscuta americana

Convolvulaceae

Love vine

Vine

Jaundice

Gomphrena globosa

Amaranthaceae

Bachelor button

Leaves

Jaundice, Diabetes, Hypertension

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Malvaceae

Sorrel

Leaf

Hypertension

Kalanchoe pinnata

Crassulaceae

W/world

Leaf

Hypertension

Laportea aestuans

Urticaceae

Red stinging nettle

Leaves

Diabetes

Momordica charantia

Cucurbitaceae

Caraaili

 

Diabetes

Morus alba

Moraceae

Pawi bush

 

Diabetes, Hypertension

Nopalea cochinellifera

Cactaceae

Rachette

Joint

Hypertension

Ocimum campechianum

Lamiaceae

Ti bom

Leaves

Hypertension

Passiflora quadrangularis

Passifloraceae

Barbadine

Leaves

Hypertension

Persea americana

Lauraceae

Avocado

Leaf

Hypertension

Phyllanthus urinaria

Euphorbiaceae

Red seed under leaf

 

Diabetes

Spiranthes acaulis

Orchidaceae

Lapsogen

 

Early-stage diabetes

Tamarindus indicus

Fabaceae

Tamarind

Seed

Hypertension

Discussion

Non-experimental validation

For each species or genus the ethnomedicinal uses in other countries was examined but will not be presented in the table due to space constraints. Only the most relevant clinical trials are presented. The non-experimental validation is summarised in Tables 3 and 4. Table 4 is an additional file (see Additional file 1).
Table 3

Validation of plants used for "cooling", high cholesterol and urinary problems in Trinidad and Tobago

Scientific name

Common name

Use

Validation score

Apium graveolens

Celery

Kidney tonic

3 for pain

Bauhinia cumanensis /excisa

Monkey step

Gall stones

3 for pain

Begonia humilis

Lozeille

Cooling

2

Bontia daphnoides

Olive bush

Cooling

2

Capraria biflora

Du thé pays

Gall stones, cooling

3 for pain

Cassia alata

Senna

Cooling with cloves and ginger

2

Chamaesyce hirta

Malomay, Mal nommée

Kidney problems

3 diuretic; 3 sedative

Cissus verticillata

Blister bush

Cooling

3 diarrhoea; 3 gastric ulcers

Cocos nucifera

Coconut

Bladder stones

2

Coleus aromaticus

Spanish thyme

Cooling

2

Commelina elegans

Water grass

Cooling

2

Costus scaber

Wild cane

Cleans bladder

data needed

Cuscuta americana

Love vine

Cooling

2

Cynodon dactylon

Dube

Stoppage of water

2

Cyperus rotundus

Nut grass

Cooling

3

Desmodium canum

Sweet heart bush

Cooling

3

Eleusine indica

Dead man's grass

Urinary

2

Entada polystachya

Mayoc chapelle

Cooling

2 data needed

Flemingia strobilifera

Kidney bush

Kidney problems

2 data needed

Gomphrena globosa

Bachelor button

Urinary problems

2 data needed

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Sorrel

Cleans liver and blood

3 hypertension; 3 liver problems

Justicia pectoralis

Carpenter grass

Cooling

Data needed

Kalachoe pinnata

Wonder of the world

Cooling, Bladder stones

3 jaundice

Lepianthes peltata

Lani bois

Tea

Data needed

Mimosa pudica

Ti marie, mese marie

Cooling, Kidney problems

2

Momordica charantia

Caraaili

Cooling

Data needed

Musa species

Banana

Boil for cooling

2

Nopalea cochinellifera

Rachette

Kidney stones

2 data needed

Peperomia rotundifolia

Giron fleur, mowon

Kidney problems

3

Peperomia pellucida

Shining bush

Cooling

3

Petiveria alliacea

Mapourite, kudjuruk

Kidney problems

Data needed

Pilea microphylla

Du thé bethelmay

Bladder cleanser

2

Pityrogramma calomelanos

Fern

Urinary problems

Data needed

Portulaca oleraceae

Pussley

Cholesterol, short breath

3 pain; 3 gastroprotective

Ruellia tuberosa

Minny root

Cooling

Data needed

Sansevieria guineensis

Langue bouef, lash

Cooling

Data needed

Scoparia dulcis

Sweet broom

Cooling for babies

3 pain; 3 diuretic

Solanum americanum

Agouma, gouma

Cooling, provides iron

2 data needed

Solanum melongena

Melongene

Cholesterol

Not proven

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

Vervine

Cooling

Data needed

Theobroma cacao

Cocoa

Eat for urinary problems

Data needed

Vetiveria zizanioides

Vetivert

Urinary problems

Data needed

Zea mays

Corn silk

Diuretic

3 diuretic

Conclusion

From the 1930s the impact of western medicine in the Caribbean has been that of a dominant paradigm that was not totally accepted, but which offered elements that were selectively appropriated in a process of indigenisation [117, 118]. The concepts of 'structural superiority' and 'functional strength' imply that western medicine acquired élite status because of its ability to control diseases (or suppress symptoms), while the folk medicinal system retained functional strength because it was more accessible and available to those isolated communities that existed well into the twentieth century [1, 117, 118]. However this explanatory model, western medicine, has become the dominant medical system; the main means of establishing whether a technology works and how. The non-experimental validation of the ethnoveterinary medicines was undertaken in recognition of that fact. Validation of traditional medicines is important since most scientists will not use local medicines without some form of validation and they have discouraged the use of these medicines leading to their disuse and eventual loss [1]. This loss is exacerbated by the death of knowledgeable elders. A framework of indigenous knowledge that can interface with science and technology is more likely to influence scientific research agendas and development work, leading to the integration of indigenous knowledge into modern life [1, 24].

More data is necessary to evaluate the safety of the following plants used to treat urinary problems, "cooling" and high cholesterol levels: Costus scaber, Cynodon dactylon, Entada polystachya, Flemingia strobilifera, Gomprena globosa, Justicia pectoralis, Lepianthes pelata, Momordica charantia, Nopalea cochenillifera, Petiveria alliacea, Pityrogramma calomelanos, Ruellia tuberosa, Sansevieriea guineensis, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Theobroma cacao and Vetiveria zizanioides.

Little data was found to support the use of the following plants to treat urinary problems: Justicia pectoralis, Lepianthes pelata, Momordica charantia, Petiveria alliacea, Pityrogramma calomelanos, Ruellia tuberosa, Sansevieriea guineensis, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Theobroma cacao and Vetiveria zizanioides.

The following plants have established analgesic or sedative effects: Apium graveolens, Bauhinia cumanensis, Capraria biflora, Chamaesyce hirta and Portulaca oleraceae.

Chamaesyce hirta, Cissus verticillata, Kalanchoe pinnata, Peperomia spp.,

Chamaesyce hirta, Cissus verticillata, Kalanchoe pinnata, Peperomia spp., Portulaca oleraceae, Scoparia dulcis, and Zea mays have sufficient evidence to support their traditional use for urinary problems, "cooling" and high cholesterol. Cuscuta americana also merits more study.

The plants used for hypertension, jaundice and diabetes that may be safe and justify more formal evaluation are Annona squamosa, Aloe vera, Apium graveolens, Bidens alba, Carica papaya, Catharanthus roseus, Cecropia peltata, Citrus paradisi, Hibsicus sabdariffa, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Persea americana, Phyllanthus urinaria, Tamarindus indicus and Tournefortia hirsutissima. Several of the plants are used for more than one condition and further trials should take this into account. The use of eggplant extract as a hypocholesterolemic agent has some support but needs more study.

It is likely that medical practitioners in Trinidad and Tobago are counter-prescribing the majority of these remedies and should learn more about them.

Declarations

Acknowledgements

This data collection was part of a larger study for a Ph.D. at Wageningen UR, the Netherlands. The fellowship support provided is appreciated. The Herbarium staff of the University of the West Indies provided essential plant identification. Dr. Lionel Robineau helped with the database searches. Dr. A.J.J. van den Berg provided invaluable editorial and pharmacological help.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
BCICS, University of Victoria

References

  1. Lans C: Creole remedies of Trinidad and Tobago. 2006, book self-published on Lulu.comGoogle Scholar
  2. Ezenwaka CE, Kalloo R, Uhlig M, Eckel J: Relationship between adiponectin and metabolic variables in Caribbean offspring of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Horm Metab Res. 2004, 36 (4): 238-42. 10.1055/s-2004-814454.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Attele AS, Zhou YP, Xie JT, Wu JA, Zhang L, Dey L, Pugh W, Rue PA, Polonsky KS, Yuan CS: Antidiabetic effects of Panax ginseng berry extract and the identification of an effective component. Diabetes. 2002, 51 (6): 1851-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Lateef H, Abatan OI, Aslam MN, Stevens MJ, Varani J: Topical pretreatment of diabetic rats with all-trans retinoic acid improves healing of subsequently induced abrasion wounds. Diabetes. 2005, 54 (3): 855-61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Alleyne S, Cruickshank JK: The use of informal medication – particularly bush teas – in Jamaican patients with diabetes mellitus. Cajanus. 1990, 23 (1): 57-67.Google Scholar
  6. Alleyne SI, Morrison EY, St A, Richard RR: Some social factors related to control of diabetes mellitus in adult Jamaican patients. Diabetes Care. 1979, 2: 401-408.Google Scholar
  7. Mahabir D, Gulliford MC: Use of medicinal plants for diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago. Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública. 1997, 1 (3): 174-179.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Mahabir D, Gulliford MC: Changing patterns of primary care for diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago over 10 years. Diabet Med. 2005, 22 (5): 619-24. 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2005.01481.x.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Gulliford MC, Mahabir D, Rocke B: Diabetes-related inequalities in health status and financial barriers to health care access in a population-based study. Diabet Med. 2004, 21 (1): 45-51. 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2003.01061.x.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Gulliford MC, Ariyanayagam-Baksh SM, Bickram L, Picou D, Mahabir D: Counting the cost of diabetic hospital admissions from a multi-ethnic population in Trinidad. Diabet Med. 1995, 12 (12): 1077-85.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Zarowsky C, Stansfield S: Diabetes and hypertension in women (Trinidad). IDRC, Ottawa, Canada
  12. Babwah F, Baksh S, Blake L, Cupid-Thuesday J, Hosein I, Sookhai A, Poon-King C, Hutchinson G: The role of gender in compliance and attendance at an outpatient clinic for type 2 diabetes mellitus in Trinidad. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2006, 19 (2): 79-84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Carr B-A, Alleyne L, Renaud D: Report on the results of the Global Youth Tobacco survey in Trindad and Tobago – 2000. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. PAHO. WHO Canadian Public Health Association, [http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/Global/gyts/reports/paho/2000/Trinidad_and_Tobago_2000_Paho01.htm]
  14. Gulliford MC, Mahabir D: Diabetic foot disease and foot care in a Caribbean community. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2002, 56 (1): 35-40. 10.1016/S0168-8227(01)00343-6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Grover JK, Yadav S, Vats V: Medicinal plants of India with anti-diabetic potential. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002, 81 (1): 81-100. 10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00059-4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Wong W: Some folk medicinal plants from Trinidad. Economic Botany. 1976, 30: 103-142.Google Scholar
  17. Foster GM: Relationships between Spanish and Spanish-American folk medicine. Journal of American Folklore. 1953, 66: 201-217.Google Scholar
  18. Aho WR, Minott K: Creole and doctor medicine: folk beliefs, practices, and orientations to modern medicine in a rural and an industrial suburban setting in Trinidad and Tobago, the West Indies. Social Science and Medicine. 1977, 11 (5): 349-355. 10.1016/0037-7856(77)90193-7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Wilbert W: The Pneumatic theory of female Warao herbalists. Social Science and Medicine. 1983, 25 (10): 1139-1146.Google Scholar
  20. Littlewood R: From vice to madness: the semantics of naturalistic and personalistic understandings in Trinidadian local medicine. Social Science and Medicine. 1988, 27 (2): 129-148. 10.1016/0277-9536(88)90322-X.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Posey DA: Changing fortunes: biodiversity and peasant livelihood in the Peruvian Andes. Journal of Latin American Studies. 1998, 30 (3): 682-683. 10.1017/S0022216X98535110.Google Scholar
  22. Hastrup K, Elsass P: Anthropological advocacy. Current Anthropology. 1990, 31 (3): 301-311. 10.1086/203842.Google Scholar
  23. Warren DM, Slikkerveer LJ, Brokensha DW, Eds: The cultural dimension of development: Indigenous knowledge systems. 1995, Intermediate Technology Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Sillitoe P: The development of indigenous knowledge. Current Anthropology. 1998, 39 (2): 223-252. 10.1086/204722.Google Scholar
  25. Heinrich N, Rimpler H, Antonio-Barrerra N: Indigenous phytotherapy of gastrointestinal disorders in a lowland Mixe community (Oaxaca, Mexico): ethnopharmacological evaluation. J Ethnopharmacol. 1992, 36 (1): 63-80. 10.1016/0378-8741(92)90062-V.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Chithra P, Sajithlal GB, Chanrakasan G: Influence of Aloe vera on the glycosaminoglycans in the matrix of healing dermal wounds in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1998, 59 (3): 179-186. 10.1016/S0378-8741(97)00112-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Shirwaikar A, Rajendran K, Dinesh Kumar C, Bodla R: Antidiabetic activity of aqueous leaf extract of Annona squamosa in streptozotocin-nicotinamide type 2 diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 91 (1): 171-5. 10.1016/j.jep.2003.12.017.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Chistokhodova N, Nguyen C, Calvino T, Kachirskaia I, Cunningham G, Howard Miles D: Antithrombin activity of medicinal plants from central Florida. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002, 81 (2): 277-80. 10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00097-1.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Atta AH, Alkofahi A: Anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of some Jordanian medicinal plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998, 60 (2): 117-124. 10.1016/S0378-8741(97)00137-2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Yadava RN, Reddy VM: Anti-inflammatory activity of a novel flavonol glycoside from the Bauhinia variegata Linn. Nat Prod Res. 2003, 17 (3): 165-9. 10.1080/1478641031000104127.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Meyre-Silva C, Yunes RA, Delle Monache F, Santos AR, Schmeling LO, Gadotti VM, Liz F, Cechinel-Filho V: Phytochemical and pharmacological analysis of Bauhinia microstachya (Raddi) Macbr. (Leguminosae). Z Naturforsch [C]. 2001, 56 (11–12): 939-42.Google Scholar
  32. Ramesh N, Viswanathan MB, Saraswathy A, Balakrishna K, Brindha P, Lakshmanaperumalsamy P: Phytochemical and antimicrobial studies of Begonia malabarica. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998, 79 (1): 129-132. 10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00352-X.Google Scholar
  33. Chang SL, Chang CL, Chiang YM, Hsieh RH, Tzeng CR, Wu TK, Sytwu HK, Shyur LF, Yang WC: Polyacetylenic compounds and butanol fraction from Bidens pilosa can modulate the differentiation of helper T cells and prevent autoimmune diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Planta Med. 2004, 70 (11): 1045-51. 10.1055/s-2004-832645.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Russell KR, Morrison EY, Ragoobirsingh D: The effect of annatto on insulin binding properties in the dog. Phytother Res. 2005, 19 (5): 433-6. 10.1002/ptr.1650.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. De-Oliveira AC, Silva IB, Manhaes-Rocha DA, Paumgartten FJ: Induction of liver monooxygenases by annatto and bixin in female rats. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2003, 36 (1): 113-8. 10.1590/S0100-879X2003000100015.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Liogier HA: Plantas medicinales de Puerto Rico y del Caribe. 1990, Iberoamericana de Ediciones, Inc., San Juan, PR, 566-Google Scholar
  37. Kelcher S, West J, Crisp M, Chinnock R: The Caribbean Bontia daphnoides and its Australian family Myoporaceae (Lamiales): evidence of an extreme dispersal event from morphological data and rpl16 intron sequences. [http://www.botany2001.org/sympos12/abstracts/4.shtml]
  38. von Reis S, Lipp FJ: New Plant Sources for Drugs and Foods from The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium. 1982, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  39. Acosta SL, Muro LV, Sacerio AL, Pena AR, Okwei SN: Analgesic properties of Capraria biflora leaves aqueous extract. Fitoterapia. 2003, 74 (7–8): 686-8. 10.1016/S0367-326X(03)00162-X.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Collins DO, Gallimore WA, Reynolds WF, Williams LA, Reese PB: New skeletal sesquiterpenoids, caprariolides A-D, from Capraria biflora and their insecticidal activity. J Nat Prod. 2000, 63 (11): 1515-1518. 10.1021/np000280w.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Savickiene N, Dagilyte A, Lukosius A, Zitkevicius V: Importance of biologically active components and plants in the prevention of complications of diabetes mellitus. Medicina (Kaunas). 2002, 38 (10): 970-5. Article in LithuanianGoogle Scholar
  42. Eno AE, Owo OI, Itam EH, Konya RS: Blood pressure depression by the fruit juice of Carica papaya (L.) in renal and DOCA-induced hypertension in the rat. Phytother Res. 2000, 14 (4): 235-9. 10.1002/1099-1573(200006)14:4<235::AID-PTR574>3.0.CO;2-G.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Palanichamy S, Nagarajan S, Devasagayam M: Effect of Cassia alata leaf extract on hyperglycemic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1988, 22 (1): 81-90. 10.1016/0378-8741(88)90233-4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Nammi S, Boini MK, Lodagala SD, Behara RB: The juice of fresh leaves of Catharanthus roseus Linn. reduces blood glucose in normal and alloxan diabetic rabbits. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2003, 3 (1): 4-10.1186/1472-6882-3-4.PubMed CentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Perez-Guerrero C, Herrera MD, Ortiz R, Alvarez de Sotomayor M, Fernandez MA: A pharmacological study of Cecropia obtusifolia Bertol aqueous extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001, 76 (3): 279-84. 10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00253-7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Rocha FF, Lapa AJ, De Lima TC: Evaluation of the anxiolytic-like effects of Cecropia glazioui Sneth in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2002, 71 (1–2): 183-90. 10.1016/S0091-3057(01)00695-5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Johnson PB, Abdurahman EM, Tiam EA, Abdu-Aguye I, Hussaini IM: Euphorbia hirta leaf extracts increase urine output and electrolytes in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999, 65 (1): 63-9. 10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00143-3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Lanhers MC, Fleurentin J, Dorfman P, Mortier F, Pelt JM: Analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties of Euphorbia hirta. Planta Med. 1991, 57 (3): 225-31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. García MD, Saenz MT, Puerta R, Quilez A, Fernandez MA: Antibacterial activity of Agave intermixta and Cissus sicyoides. Fitoterapia. 1999, 70 (1): 71-73. 10.1016/S0367-326X(98)00009-4.Google Scholar
  50. Jainu M, Devi CS: Effect of Cissus quadrangularis on gastric mucosal defensive factors in experimentally induced gastric ulcer-a comparative study with sucralfate. J Med Food. 2004, 7 (3): 372-6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Longanga Otshudi AL, Vercruysse A, Foriers A: Contribution to the ethnobotanical, phytochemical and pharmacological studies of traditionally used medicinal plants in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhoea in Lomela area, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). J Ethnopharmacol. 2000, 71 (3): 411-423. 10.1016/S0378-8741(00)00167-7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Gorinstein S, Caspi A, Libman I, Katrich E, Lerner HT, Trakhtenberg S: Fresh israeli jaffa sweetie juice consumption improves lipid metabolism and increases antioxidant capacity in hypercholesterolemic patients suffering from coronary artery disease: studies in vitro and in humans and positive changes in albumin and fibrinogen fractions. J Agric Food Chem. 2004, 52 (16): 5215-22. 10.1021/jf040139j.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Kirszberg C, Esquenazi D, Alviano CS, Rumjanek VM: The effect of a catechin-rich extract of Cocos nucifera on lymphocytes proliferation. Phytother Res. 2003, 17 (9): 1054-8. 10.1002/ptr.1297.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Alanis AD, Calzada F, Cervantes JA, Torres J, Ceballos GM: Antibacterial properties of some plants used in Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005, 100 (1–2): 153-7. 10.1016/j.jep.2005.02.022.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Alleyne T, Roache S, Thomas C, Shirley A: The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks. West Indian Med J. 2005, 54 (1): 3-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Kumaran A, Joel karunakaran R: Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity of an aqueous extract of Coleus aromaticus. Food Chemistry. 2006, 97 (1): 109-114. 10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.03.032.Google Scholar
  57. Youn JY, Park HY, Cho KH: Anti-hyperglycemic activity of Commelina communis L.: inhibition of alpha-glucosidase. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2004, 66 (Suppl 1): S149-55. 10.1016/j.diabres.2003.08.015.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Kala Chandra Prakash, Farooquee Nehal A Dhar, Uppeandra : Prioritization of medicinal plants on the basis of available knowledge, existing practices and use value status in Uttaranchal, India. Biodiversity and Conservation. 2004, 13 (2): 453-469. 10.1023/B:BIOC.0000006511.67354.7f.Google Scholar
  59. Mazumder UK, Gupta M, Pal D, Bhattacharya S: Chemical and toxicological evaluation of methanol extract of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. stem and Corchorus olitorius Linn. seed on hematological parameters and hepatorenal functions in mice. Acta Pol Pharm. 2003, 60 (4): 317-23.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Gupta M, Mazumder UK, Pal DK, Bhattacharya S: Onset of puberty and ovarian steroidogenesis following adminstration of methanolic extract of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. stem and Corchorus olitorius Linn. seed in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2003, 89 (1): 55-59. 10.1016/S0378-8741(03)00262-9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Pal D, Panda C, Sinhababu S, Dutta A, Bhattacharya S: Evaluation of psychopharmacological effects of petroleum ether extract of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. stem in mice. Acta Pol Pharm. 2003, 60 (6): 481-6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Shinwari MI, Khan MA: Folk use of medicinal herbs of Margalla Hills National Park, Islamabad. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000, 69 (1): 45-56. 10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00135-X.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Roman Ramos R, Alarcon-Aguilar F, Lara-Lemus A, Flores-Saenz JL: Hypoglycemic effect of plants used in Mexico as antidiabetics. Arch Med Res. 1992, 23 (1): 59-64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Auddy B, Ferreira M, Blasina F, Lafon L, Arredondo F, Dajas F, Tripathi PC, Seal T, Mukherjee B: Screening of antioxidant activity of three Indian medicinal plants, traditionally used for the management of neurodegenerative diseases. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003, 84 (2–3): 131-138. 10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00322-7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Jagtap AG, Shirke SS, Phadke AS: Effect of polyherbal formulation on experimental models of inflammatory bowel diseases. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 90 (2–3): 195-204. 10.1016/j.jep.2003.09.042.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Rao M, Rao MNA: Protective effects of cystone, a polyherbal ayurvedic preparation, on cisplatin-induced renal toxicity in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998, 62 (1): 1-6. 10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00003-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Barreto GS: Effect of butanolic fraction of Desmodium adscendens on the anococcygeus of the rat. Braz J Biol. 2002, 62 (2): 223-30. 10.1590/S1519-69842002000200005.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Sugimoto K, Sakurai N, Shirasawa H, Fujise Y, Shibata K, Shimodo K, Sakata J: Bovine cases of urolithiasis treated with traditional herbal medicine, P-3. J Vet Med Sci. 1992, 54 (3): 579-582.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Monache GD, Botta B, Vinciguerra V, de Mello JF, Andrade Chiapetta de A: Antimicrobial isoflavanones from Desmodium canum. Phytochemistry. 1996, 41 (2): 537-544. 10.1016/0031-9422(95)00653-2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Nyarko AK, Asare-Anane H, Ofosuhene M, Addy ME: Extract of Ocimum canum lowers blood glucose and facilitates insulin release by isolated pancreatic beta-islet cells. Phytomedicine. 2002, 9 (4): 346-51. 10.1078/0944-7113-00124.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Ho CS, Wong YH, Chiu KW: The hypotensive action of Desmodium styracifolium and Clematis chinensis. Am J Chin Med. 1989, 17 (3–4): 189-202. 10.1142/S0192415X89000280.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Lakshmi Kumari P, Sumathi S: Effect of consumption of finger millet on hyperglycemia in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) subjects. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2002, 57 (3–4): 205-13. 10.1023/A:1021805028738.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Cos P, Hermans N, De Bruyne T, Apers S, Sindambiwe JB, Vanden Berghe D, Pieters L, Vlietinck AJ: Further evaluation of Rwandan medicinal plant extracts for their antimicrobial and antiviral activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002, 79 (2): 155-63. 10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00362-2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Fabry W, Okemo P, Ansorg R: Fungistatic and fungicidal activity of east African medicinal plants. Mycoses. 1996, 39 (1–2): 67-70.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Akinsinde KA, Olukoya DK: Vibriocidal activities of some local herbs. J Diarrhoeal Dis Res. 1995, 13 (2): 127-9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Rahman MM, Sarker SD, Byres M, Gray AI: New salicylic acid and isoflavone derivatives from Flemingia paniculata. J Nat Prod. 2004, 67 (3): 402-6. 10.1021/np0206108.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Das B, Tandon V, Saha N: Effects of phytochemicals of Flemingia vestita (Fabaceae) on glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and enzymes of gluconeogenesis in a cestode (Raillietina echinobothrida). Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2004, 139 (1–3): 141-6. 10.1016/j.cca.2004.10.004.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. de Moura RM, Pereira PS, Januario AH, Franca Sde C, Dias DA: Antimicrobial screening and quantitative determination of benzoic acid derivative of Gomphrena celosioides by TLC-densitometry. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2004, 52 (11): 1342-4. 10.1248/cpb.52.1342.Google Scholar
  79. Herrera-Arellano A, Flores-Romero S, Chavez-Soto MA, Tortoriello J: Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa in patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2004, 11 (5): 375-82. 10.1016/j.phymed.2004.04.001.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. Akindahunsi AA, Olaleye MT: Toxicological investigation of aqueous-methanolic extract of the calyces of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003, 89 (1): 161-4. 10.1016/S0378-8741(03)00276-9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. Ali BH, Mousa HM, El-Mougy S: The effect of a water extract and anthocyanins of Hibiscus sabdariffa L on paracetamol-induced hepatoxicity in rats. Phytother Res. 2003, 17 (1): 56-9. 10.1002/ptr.1084.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  82. MacRae WD, Towers GH: Justicia pectoralis : a study of the basis for its use as a hallucinogenic snuff ingredient. J Ethnopharmacol. 1984, 12 (1): 93-111. 10.1016/0378-8741(84)90088-6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. Yadav NP, Dixit VK: Hepatoprotective activity of leaves of Kalanchoe pinnata Pers. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003, 86 (2–3): 197-202. 10.1016/S0378-8741(03)00074-6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Momo CE, Oben JE, Tazoo D, Dongo E: Antidiabetic and hypolipidaemic effects of a methanol/methylene-chloride extract of Laportea ovalifolia (Urticaceae), measured in rats with alloxan-induced diabetes. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2006, 100 (1): 69-74. 10.1179/136485906X78517.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  85. Joyamma V, Rao SG, Hrishikeshavan HJ, Aroor AR, Kulkarni DR: Biochemical mechanisms and effects of Mimosa pudica (Linn) on experimental urolithiasis in rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 1990, 28 (3): 237-40.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. Tongia A, Tongia SK, Dave M: Phytochemical determination and extraction of Momordica charantia fruit and its hypoglycemic potentiation of oral hypoglycemic drugs in diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2004, 48 (2): 241-4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  87. Cummings E, Hundal HS, Wackerhage H, Hope M, Belle M, Adeghate E, Singh J: Momordica charantia fruit juice stimulates glucose and amino acid uptakes in L6 myotubes. Mol Cell Biochem. 2004, 261 (1–2): 99-104. 10.1023/B:MCBI.0000028743.75669.ab.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  88. Lemus I, Garcia R, Delvillar E, Knop G: Hypoglycaemic activity of four plants used in Chilean popular medicine. Phytother Res. 1999, 13 (2): 91-4. 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199903)13:2<91::AID-PTR350>3.0.CO;2-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. Oku T, Yamada M, Nakamura M, Sadamori N, Nakamura S: Inhibitory effects of extractives from leaves of Morus alba on human and rat small intestinal disaccharidase activity. Br J Nutr. 2006, 95 (5): 933-8. 10.1079/BJN20061746.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. Singab AN, El-Beshbishy HA, Yonekawa M, Nomura T, Fukai T: Hypoglycemic effect of Egyptian Morus alba root bark extract: effect on diabetes and lipid peroxidation of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005, 100 (3): 333-8. 10.1016/j.jep.2005.03.013.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  91. Dhanabal SP, Sureshkumar M, Ramanathan M, Suresh B: Hypoglycemic effect of ethanolic extract of Musa sapientum on alloxan induced diabetes mellitus in rats and its relation with antioxidant potential. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005, 5 (2): 7-19. 10.1300/J157v05n02_02.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  92. Ojewole JA, Adewunmi CO: Hypoglycemic effect of methanolic extract of Musa paradisiaca (Musaceae) green fruits in normal and diabetic mice. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2003, 25 (6): 453-6. 10.1358/mf.2003.25.6.769651.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. Wolfram R, Budinsky A, Efthimiou Y, Stomatopoulos J, Oguogho A, Sinzinger H: Daily prickly pear consumption improves platelet function. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2003, 69 (1): 61-6. 10.1016/S0952-3278(03)00057-7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  94. Villasenor IM, Lamadrid MR: Comparative anti-hyperglycemic potentials of medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006, 104 (1–2): 129-31. 10.1016/j.jep.2005.08.067.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  95. Singh S, Rehan HM, Majumdar DK: Effect of Ocimum sanctum fixed oil on blood pressure, blood clotting time and pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001, 78 (2–3): 139-43. 10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00336-1.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  96. Hannan JM, Marenah L, Ali L, Rokeya B, Flatt PR, Abdel-Wahab YH: Ocimum sanctum leaf extracts stimulate insulin secretion from perfused pancreas, isolated islets and clonal pancreatic beta-cells. J Endocrinol. 2006, 189 (1): 127-36. 10.1677/joe.1.06615.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  97. Dhawan K, Dhawan S, Sharma A: Passiflora: a review update. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 94: 1-23. 10.1016/j.jep.2004.02.023.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  98. Aziba PI, Adedeji A, Ekor M, Adeyemi O: Analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida aerial parts in mice. Fitoterapia. 2001, 72 (1): 57-58. 10.1016/S0367-326X(00)00249-5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  99. de Fatima Arrigoni-Blank M, Dmitrieva EG, Franzotti EM, Antoniolli AR, Andrade MR, Marchioro M: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) HBK (Piperaceae). J Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 91 (2–3): 215-8. 10.1016/j.jep.2003.12.030.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  100. Khan MR, Omoloso AD: Antibacterial activity of Hygrophila stricta and Peperomia pellucida. Fitoterapia. 2002, 73 (3): 251-4. 10.1016/S0367-326X(02)00066-7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  101. Joshi A, Joshi K: Indigenous knowledge and uses of medicinal plants by local communities of the Kali Gandaki Watershed area, Nepal. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000, 73 (1–2): 175-183. 10.1016/S0378-8741(00)00301-9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  102. de Fatima Arrigoni-Blank M, Dmitrieva EG, Franzotti EM, Antoniolli AR, Andrade MR, Marchioro M: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) HBK (Piperaceae). J Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 91 (2–3): 215-8. 10.1016/j.jep.2003.12.030.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  103. Aziba PI, Adedeji A, Ekor M, Adeyemi O: Analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida aerial parts in mice. Fitoterapia. 2001, 72 (1): 57-58. 10.1016/S0367-326X(00)00249-5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  104. Raphael KR, Sabu MC, Kuttan R: Hypoglycemic effect of methanol extract of Phyllanthus amarus Schum & Thonn on alloxan induced diabetes mellitus in rats and its relation with antioxidant potential. Indian J Exp Biol. 2002, 40 (8): 905-9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  105. Rocha MJ, Fulgencio SF, Rabetti AC, Nicolau M, Poli A, Simoes CM, Ribeiro-do-Valle RM: Effects of hydroalcoholic extracts of Portulaca pilosa and Achyrocline satureioides on urinary sodium and potassium excretion. J Ethnopharmacol. 1994, 43 (3): 179-83. 10.1016/0378-8741(94)90040-X.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  106. Chan K, Islam MW, Kamil M, Radhakrishnan R, Zakaria MNM, Habibullah M, Attas A: The analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of Portulaca oleracea L. subsp. sativa (Haw.) Celak. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000, 73 (3): 445-451. 10.1016/S0378-8741(00)00318-4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  107. Karimi G, Hosseinzadeh H, Ettehad N: Evaluation of the gastric antiulcerogenic effects of Portulaca oleracea L. extracts in mice. Phytother Res. 2004, 18 (6): 484-7. 10.1002/ptr.1463.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  108. Pari L, Latha M: Antihyperlipidemic effect of Scoparia dulcis (sweet broomweed) in streptozotocin diabetic rats. J Med Food. 2006, 9 (1): 102-7. 10.1089/jmf.2006.9.102.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  109. Guimaraes PR, Galvao AM, Batista CM, Azevedo GS, Oliveira RD, Lamounier RP, Freire N, Barros AM, Sakurai E, Oliveira JP, Vieira EC, Alvarez-Leite JI: Eggplant (Solanum melongena) infusion has a modest and transitory effect on hypercholesterolemic subjects. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2000, 33 (9): 1027-36.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  110. Botelho FV, Eneas LR, Cesar GC, Bizzotto CS, Tavares E, Oliveira FA, Gloria MB, Silvestre MP, Arantes RM, Alvarez-Leite JI: Effects of eggplant (Solanum melongena) on the atherogenesis and oxidative stress in LDL receptor knock out mice (LDLR(-/-)). Food Chem Toxicol. 2004, 42 (8): 1259-67. 10.1016/j.fct.2004.03.007.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  111. Maiti R, Jana D, Das UK, Ghosh D: Antidiabetic effect of aqueous extract of seed of Tamarindus indica in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 92 (1): 85-91. 10.1016/j.jep.2004.02.002.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  112. Ruzaidi A, Amin I, Nawalyah AG, Hamid M, Faizul HA: The effect of Malaysian cocoa extract on glucose levels and lipid profiles in diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005, 98 (1–2): 55-60. 10.1016/j.jep.2004.12.018.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  113. Osakabe N, Yamagishi M, Natsume M, Yasuda A, Osawa T: Ingestion of proanthocyanidins derived from cacao inhibits diabetes-induced cataract formation in rats. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004, 229 (1): 33-9.Google Scholar
  114. Alarcon-Aguilara FJ, Roman-Ramos R, Perez-Gutierrez S, Aguilar-Contreras A, Contreras-Weber CC, Flores-Saenz JL: Study of the anti-hyperglycemic effect of plants used as antidiabetics. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998, 61 (2): 101-10. 10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00020-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  115. Jagtap AG, Shirke SS, Phadke AS: Effect of polyherbal formulation on experimental models of inflammatory bowel diseases. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004, 90 (2–3): 195-204. 10.1016/j.jep.2003.09.042.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  116. Habtemariam S: Extract of corn silk (stigma of Zea mays) inhibits the tumour necrosis factor-α – and bacterial lipopolysaccharide-induced cell adhesion and ICAM-1 expression. Planta Med. 1998, 64 (4): 314-318.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  117. Brereton B: A history of modern Trinidad 1783–1962. 1981, Kingston, Jamaica: HeinemanGoogle Scholar
  118. Buchler IR: Caymanian folk medicine: A problem in applied anthropology. Human Organisation. 1964, 23 (1): 48-49.Google Scholar

Copyright

© Lans; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2006

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.