A review of Algerian medicinal plants used in the treatment of diabetes

J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Jun 28:238:111841. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.111841. Epub 2019 Apr 5.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Plants are traditionally used in Algeria to treat many disorders, including diabetes mellitus. Knowledge of the plants that are used may provide insight on their properties, for further exploration. This study reviewed all the available published and unpublished reports concerning the use of herbal medicines in the treatment of diabetes in Algeria.

Aim of the study: To describe the plants used in Algeria to treat diabetes, as reported in the literature.

Material and methods: Systematic review of ethnobotanical papers published in the medical literature, from literature databases (Pubmed, Web of Science), as well as Google, for English, French and Arabic -language publication, and a manual search of local libraries and bookshops, as well as the university repository of PhD and master's theses. The reference lists of the papers retrieved were also examined for further papers.

Results: Many plants are cited in the ethnobotanical surveys, but only very few pharmacological studies were found. In the ethnobotanical surveys, 171 plants were reported, from 58 families of which the most often cited were Asteraceae, Lamiaceae and Apiaceae. The plants with the best evidence of use and activity are: Anabasis articulata (Forssk.) Moq., Trigonella foenum-graecum L., Centaurium erythraea Rafn, Artemisia herba-alba Asso, Marrubium vulgare L., Agathophora alopecuroides (Delile) Fenzl ex Bunge, Anabasis articulata (Forssk.) Moq., Hammada elegans (Bunge) Botsch., Helianthemum kahiricum Delile, Salsola baryosma (Schult.) Dandy, Salsola vermiculata L., Olea europaea L.

Conclusion: Traditional herbal medicines are still very much used in Algeria to control diabetes. However they are generally poorly characterized and none have been properly tested in man. There is a need for systematic evaluation of the more commonly used plants to confirm their antidiabetic activity, identify possible mechanimss of action, and recommend best use.

Keywords: Algerian medicinal plants; Diabetes; Traditional treatment.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Algeria
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Medicine, African Traditional*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plants, Medicinal


  • Hypoglycemic Agents