Traditional uses of medicinal plants to prevent and treat diabetes; an updated review of ethnobotanical studies in Iran

J Nephropathol. 2017 Jul;6(3):118-125. doi: 10.15171/jnp.2017.20. Epub 2017 Jan 15.


Background: Obesity and physical inactivity are currently on the rise due to industrialization of the communities, which has recently led to increased incidence of different diseases such as diabetes. Epidemiological studies and figures have demonstrated the growing incidence of diabetes. Relevantly, the side effects of chemical drugs have led patients to use medicinal plants and traditional approaches despite advances in development of chemical drugs. The aim of this review article is to report the medicinal plants and their traditional uses to prevent and treat diabetes according to the findings of ethnobotanical studies conducted in different regions of Iran.

Evidence acquisitions: The search terms including ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, ethnopharmacology, phytopharmacology, phytomedicine, Iran, and traditional medicine in combination with diabetes, blood sugar and hyperglycemic were searched from scientific databases.

Results: The results of this article can be a comprehensive guideline, based on ethnobotany of different regions of Iran, to prevent and treat diabetes. According to this review article, certain plant species such as Urtica dioica L., popularly called nettle, in eight regions, Teucrium polium L., popularly called poleigamander, in five regions, and Trigonella foenum-graecum L., Citrullus colocynthis (L.), Schrad., and Juglans regia L. in four regions, were reported to be frequently used to prevent and treat diabetes.

Conclusions: The introduced medicinal plants in this review can be investigated in further research and produce new drugs with limited side effects.

Keywords: Blood sugar; Ethnobotany; Iran; Traditional medicine.

Publication types

  • Review