Society of African Journal Editors

Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Journal

Concomitant use of medicinal plants and conventional medicines among adult patients with diabetes in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

Authors: Zelalem Tilahun, Arebu Isa Bilal, Dawit Teshome, Bruck Messele Habte, Mariamawit Yonathan Yeshak, Teferi Gedif Fenta

Journal: Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Journal

Majority of the Ethiopian population relies on medicinal plants for managing their health conditions. However, there are few studies that assessed the use of these medicinal plants especially for diabetes mellitus where the concomitant use of these remedies with modern medicines may lead to negative health consequences. The aim of this study was therefore to assess the prevalence of concomitant use of medicinal plants with conventional medicines among patients with diabetes attending treatment in five referral hospitals across five regions of the country and to identify the commonly used medicinal plants for diabetes. The study used a cross-sectional design where structured interview questionnaires and data abstraction forms were used to collect the data which was then analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings revealed that 47.8% of the study participants had ‘ever used medicinal plants’ to treat their diabetes; of whom 74.7% reported to have co-used them with modern medicines. Of the participants who reported concomitant use, only 24.0% knew of the possible safety concern of medicinal plants or their possible interactions with modern medicines. Furthermore, only 15.7% of these participants had ever discussed their use of medicinal plants with their physicians or pharmacists. Twenty-nine plant species were listed by the study participants that were reportedly used for diabetes and related conditions. The most frequently mentioned plants were Shiferaw (Moringa stenopetala) , Damakase (Ocimum lamiifolium) , Nech-Shinkurt (Allium sativum) , Tenadam (Ruta chalapensis) , Abish (Trigonella foenum-graecum) , Tosign (Thymus schimperi) , Tikur-Azimud (Nigella sativa) , and Haregresa (Zheneria scabra) . The overall findings are indicative of the need to educate patients and providers about the potential implications of the concomitant use of medicinal plants with modern medicines, and the need for further research to establish the potential interactions of some of these medicinal plants with limited or no reported data. Keywords: medicinal plants, modern medicine, diabetes mellitus, cross-sectional study, Ethiopia