The antidiabetic potentials of methanol extract (ME) of aerial parts of Phyllanthus niruri L (Euphorbiaceae) was evaluated in normal and alloxan diabetic rats. The results showed that ME significantly (P<0.05) reduced fasting blood sugar in a dose-related manner and suppressed the postprandial rise in blood glucose after a heavy glucose meal in normoglycaemic rats. Chronic oral administration of ME caused a significant (P<0.05) dose-related reduction in blood glucose levels as well as total cholesterol and triglycerides levels in diabetic and normoglycaemic rats. Sub-chronic toxicity study showed that ME-treated rats had significant (P<0.05) reductions in haemoglobin (Hb) levels, red blood cell (RBC) and white blood cell (WBC) counts followed by a gradual rise which did not, however, attain basal levels; however, there was a progressive rise in the WBC of ME-treated diabetic rats. Also ME-treated and control rats had increases in weight throughout the study. Histological studies showed that ME-treated diabetic rats had the tissue architecture of their pancreas restored as against the control groups where there was evidence of necrosis. The acute toxicity and lethality test of ME in mice gave an oral LD50 of 471.2 mg/kg. Results suggest that extract of aerial parts of P. niruri has great potentials as anti-diabetic remedy.
Key words: Phyllanthus niruri, antidiabetic, alloxan, pancreas, blood glucose, blood cells, toxicity.
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