Diabetes mellitus (DM) represents a global health problem. It is the most common of the endocrine disorders and is characterized by chronic hyperglycemia due to relative or absolute lack of insulin secretion or insulin actions. According to the World Health Organization projections, the diabetes population is likely to increase to 300 million or more by the year 2025. Current synthetic agents and insulin used effectively for the treatment of diabetes are scarce especially in rural areas, expensive and have prominent adverse effects. Complementary and alternative approaches to diabetes management such as isolation of phytochemicals with anti-hyperglycemic activities from medicinal plants is therefore imperative. Saponins are phytochemical with structural diversity and biological activities. This paper reviews saponins and various plants from which they were isolated as well as properties that make them ideal for antidiabetic remedy.
Keywords: Diabetes; Hyperglyceamia; Medicinal plants; Phytochemicals; Saponin.
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