Background: There has been an increase in the use of herbal products to complement conventional
drugs in the treatment of various diseases especially in developing countries. This may be
attributable to the potential cost-effectiveness and ease of accessibility of these products as well as the
perception of their safety profiles. However, there are numerous literature reports on herbs altering the
pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of other co-administered drugs thereby modulating the
therapeutic outcomes. The prevalence of diabetes is on a steady increase worldwide and it is now
identified as one of the main threats to human health.
Objective: It is important that knowledge on specific effects of antidiabetic herbs and their products on
drug metabolizing enzymes are updated and documented so as to ensure optimization of their therapeutic
utility. This review, therefore, aims to highlight herbal products with evidence-based antidiabetic
effects, identify their bioactive phyto-constituents, and also focus on the important Cytochrome
P450 and consequences of their inhibition or induction.
Methods: An extensive literature search was undertaken and the information obtained were critically
analyzed and discussed.
Results and Conclusion: The literature abounds with reports on the utilization of herbal medications
for the treatment of diabetes mellitus since time immemorial, but very few of these herbal products
have undergone clinical trials. Also, studies on the herb-drug interactions were limited. Due to the
complex phytochemical composition of the herbs, concomitant administration with conventional drugs
resulted in alterations of pharmacological effects of some drugs. Evidences of beneficial interactions
were identified for medical exploitation.