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Abstract Detail

Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section

Bullard-Roberts, Angelle [1], Bennett, Bradley [1].

Treating Sugar: Antidiabetic herbal remedies in Trinidad and Tobago.

In Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), the colloquial expression having sugar refers to having symptoms of the condition Type II diabetes mellitus (DM). In this southern Caribbean republic, DM is the third leading source of mortality excluding infectious diseases. Literature published between 1976 and 2006 have indicated that forty-two local plants are used by the multi-ethnic Trinbagonians (as they are locally called) in the treatment of DM. Considering the increasing prevalence of DM and the lack of pharmacological data on the efficacy and safety of the local antidiabetic remedies, we sought to determine what plants Trinbagonians currently use and how they prepare and administer these plants to treat symptoms of DM. This information will be used to guide laboratory analysis of the antidiabetic properties of these plants. We interviewed fifty persons from fifteen communities who were recruited on the basis of their knowledge of local medicinal plants. Interviewees were asked to provide information about all of the medicinal plants which they knew, the ailments which those plants were used for, the method of preparation and the source of the plants. From the general body of information they provided, any plants which were specifically mentioned for treating sugar were noted. We noted twenty-two antidiabetic plant species. For twelve of these plants, our data is the first record of their use against DM in T&T, though most are employed by Trinbagonians for other ailments. Two species represent new additions to T&Ts recorded pharmacopoeia: the shrub Hamelia patens Jacq., and the grass Paspalum vaginatum Sw. Like the majority of medicinal remedies in T&T, the leaves of these plants are prepared as bush-tea by steeping them in hot water. The most frequently cited antidiabetic was Momordica charantia L. Fabaceae and Rubiaceae were represented most frequently with citations of three species from each family. Sixty percent of these antidiabetics are cultivated food or ornamental species.

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1 - Florida International University, Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL, 33199, USA

medicinal plants
Trinidad and Tobago.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 09
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: 09002
Abstract ID:305

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