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This study evaluated the antidiabetic potentials of Stigma maydis, commonly known as corn silk compared with a known antidiabetic drug, metformin, in alloxan-induced diabetic rats for a period of 10 days. Lorke’s method was used to determine the acute toxicity of Stigma maydis extract and results of 162.02 mg/kg, 324.04mg/kg and 486.06 mg/kg were gotten for the low dose, middle dose and high dose respectively. Group 1, the control group were induced with diabetes by intravenous administration of alloxan and were left untreated but were administered only 10ml/kg of distilled water. Group 2 was treated by an oral administration of potent antidiabetic drug, metformin. Group 3 was treated by an oral administration of low dose of the Stigma maydis extract. Group 4 was treated by an oral administration of the medium dose of the extract. Group 5, treated by an oral administration of the extract in high dose while group 6 was treated with an oral administration of both metformin and the Stigma maydis extract in medium dose. On days 7, 8, 9 and 10, the glucose level of the extract groups ( groups 3, 4 and 5) were significantly different from the control group (group 1) and the metformin treated group (group 2) (p<0.05). The glucose level in group 6 was also significantly different from groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 on days 7, 8 and 9. There was no significant difference on day 10 (p<0.05). It is concluded that Stigma maydis extract has a very high blood glucose lowering effect and when administered in combination with metformin resulted in severe hypoglycemia and subsequent death of two (2) animals in this group after the study on day 14.
Traditional medicine has developed in various communities in Nigeria in response to the health needs of the people. Many communities have, therefore, since creation, developed various traditional systems using locally-available resources for the alleviation of their health problems. As once noted some 13 years ago (Tella, 1986), traditional medicine is as old as the hills in Nigeria. The development of traditional medicine in Nigeria has led to various categories of healers, the various healing methods, strategies and medicines or remedies now known.
The use of herbal medicines in Asia represents a long history of human interactions with the environment. Plants used for traditional medicine contain a wide range of substances that can be used to treat chronic as well as infectious diseases (Duraipandiyan et al., 2006). Due to the development of adverse effects and microbial resistance to the chemically synthesized drugs, the population has turned to the use of plant for treatments. They found literally thousands of phytochemicals from plants as safe and broadly effective alternatives with less adverse effect. Many beneficial biological activity such as anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiarrhoeal, analgesic and wound healing activities were reported. In many cases the people claim the good benefit of certain natural or herbal products. However, clinical trials are necessary to demonstrate the effectiveness of a bioactive compound to verify this traditional claim. Clinical trials directed towards understanding the pharmacokinetics, bioavailability, efficacy, safety and drug interactions of newly developed bioactive compounds and their formulations (extracts) require a careful evaluation. Clinical trials are carefully planned to safeguard the health of the participants as well as answer specific research questions by evaluating for both immediate and long-term side effects and their outcomes are measured before the drug is widely applied to patients.
Due to the fact that plant extracts usually occur as a combination of various type of bioactive compounds or phytochemicals with different polarities, their separation still remains a big challenge for the process of identification and characterization of bioactive compounds. It is a common practice in isolation of these bioactive compounds that a number of different separation techniques such as TLC, column chromatography, flash chromatography, Sephadex chromatography and HPLC, should be used to obtain pure compounds. The pure compounds are then used for the determination of structure and biological activity. Besides that, non-chromatographic techniques such as immunoassay, which use monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), phytochemical screening assay, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), can also be used to obtain and facilitate the identification of the bioactive compounds (Sasidharan et al., 2011).
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
Corn silk has been used in many parts of the world for the treatment of edema as well as cystitis, gout, kidney stones, nephritis and prostatitis [13, 18]. corn silk has been used as an oral antidiabetic agent in China for decades. However, the hypoglycemic activity of it has not yet been understood in terms of modern pharmacological concepts. Based on folk remedies, corn silk tea has been used as an oral remedy for certain health problems in many communities for decades. However, in spite of its widespread use, The hypoglycemic activity of Stigma Maydis has not fully been understood. Therefore purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of corn silk on blood glucose level in albino wistar rats.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The aim of the study was to;
· Investigate the effect of stigma maydis (corn silk) on blood sugar level of albino wistar rats.
· To make direct observation of factors affecting blood sugar for criterion of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia and diabetes.
· To gain an understanding of the combined effect of stigma maydis (corn silk) and potent antidiabetic drug (metformin).
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is to evaluate the effect of corn silk on blood glucose level of albino wistar rats. The outcome of thus study shall enable consumers of corn silk tea and corn (cooked with its husks still in tact) to know its effect on blood sugar level. Findings from this study will also provide information for the scientific community, medical practitioners, nutritionists, pharmacists and the society at large on diabetes and Stigma maydis.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work covers the comparative effect of Stigma Maydis (corn silk) on blood glucose level in albino wistar rats and is limited only to comparing the effect of corn silk and a combined effect of Stigma Maydis (corn silk) and a potent antidiabetic drug (metformin) in albino wistar rats.
1.6 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY
In recent times, increased consumption of corn silk tea has been reported to have effects on blood glucose level. This research was therefore essential to determine if Stigma Maydis (corn silk) has effects on blood glucose level.
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