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J Ethnopharmacol. 1994 Jun;43(1):13-7.

Anti-diabetic properties of the African mistletoe in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Nigeria.


The African mistletoe, Loranthus bengwensis L. (Loranthaceae), has been widely used in Nigerian folk medicine to treat diabetes mellitus. The aqueous extract or infusion (1.32 g/kg per day) of the leaves of this plant parasitic on lemon, Citrus limon (L.) Brum f. (Rutaceae), guava, Psidium guajava L. (Myrtaceae) and jatropha, Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae), respectively, were supplied ad libitum to separate groups of both non-diabetic and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, as their only source of fluid for a period of 28 days. The infusions of mistletoe parasite on both lemon and guava trees significantly decreased serum glucose levels in non-diabetic (P < 0.05) and diabetic (P < 0.001) rats, whereas that prepared from mistletoe parasitic on jatropha did not. The data indicate that African mistletoe possesses significant anti-diabetic activity in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats; its anti-diabetic activity appears to be highly dependent on the host plant species.

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