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A study of antioxidant activity, enzymatic inhibition and in vitro toxicity of selected traditional sudanese plants with anti-diabetic potential

Yasmin Hilmi1*, Muna F Abushama1, Haidar Abdalgadir2, Asaad Khalid2 and Hassan Khalid1

Author Affiliations

1 Khartoum College of Medical Sciences, P.O Box 10995, Khartoum, Sudan

2 Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research Institute, National Centre for Research, P.O.Box 2420 Khartoum, Sudan

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:149  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-149

Published: 7 May 2014



Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease with life-threatening complications. Despite the enormous progress in conventional medicine and pharmaceutical industry, herbal-based medicines are still a common practice for the treatment of diabetes. This study evaluated ethanolic and aqueous extracts of selected Sudanese plants that are traditionally used to treat diabetes.


Extraction was carried out according to method described by Sukhdev et. al. and the extracts were tested for their glycogen phosphorylase inhibition, Brine shrimp lethality and antioxidant activity using (DPPH) radical scavenging activity and iron chelating activity. Extracts prepared from the leaves of Ambrosia maritima, fruits of Foeniculum vulgare and Ammi visnaga, exudates of Acacia Senegal, and seeds of Sesamum indicum and Nigella sativa.


Nigella sativa ethanolic extract showed no toxicity on Brine shrimp Lethality Test, while its aqueous extract was toxic. All other extracts were highly toxic and ethanolic extracts of Foeniculum vulgare exhibited the highest toxicity. All plant extracts with exception of Acacia senegal revealed significant antioxidant activity in DPPH free radical scavenging assay.


These results highly agree with the ethnobotanical uses of these plants as antidiabetic. This study endorses further studies on plants investigated, to determine their potential for type 2 diabetes management. Moreover isolation and identification of active compounds are highly recommended.

Diabetes mellitus; Medicinal plants; Antioxidant activity; Glycogen phosphorylase; Brine shrimp