P. C. Ekeocha, T.R. Fasola, A. H. Ekeocha
The hypoglycemic effect of the plant extract of Vernonia amygdalina was determined using alloxan induced diabetic rats. The rats were divided into six groups of five rats each. Four of the groups were induced with diabetes and treated with different doses of the plant extract i.e. 50mg/kg, 100mg/kg, 200mg/kg and 400mg/kg which was administered for a period of two weeks. The plant extract was observed to have hypoglycemic effect on each group of diabetic rats as it reduced their fasting blood sugar (FBS) levels from 277.6mg/dl to 142.2mg/dl (Group1), 284.8mg/dl to 102.0mg/dl (Group2), 256.4mg/dl to 86.3mg/dl (Group3) and 265.6mg/dl to 82.1mg/dl (Group 4) over a period of two weeks. The fifth group consisting of non-induced rats was administered with 400mg/kg of Vernonia amygdalina for a period of two weeks and the FBS level was compared with that of the control group. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) between the mean FBS of the fifth group 81.6mg/dl and that of the control (86.9mg/dl). However, the hypoglycemic effect of the plant extract of Vernonia amygdalina was felt as this brought the mean FBS level from 91.4mg/dl to 81.6mg/dl as compared with the control. Table 4. Phytochemical screening on the leaves of Vernonia amygdalina revealed the presence of alkaloids, tannins, saponins and cardiac glycosides. The liver, kidney and pancreas of the experimental animals were examined histologically to ascertain if 400mg/kg of the plant extract is toxic to the organs or not. The plant extract had no adverse effect when administered on normal rats except for a marked congestion of the mesenteric blood vessel; the extract in fact reduced the level of damage to the kidney, liver and pancreas when administered on diabetic rats.
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