Background: For centuries, humans have used medicinal plants in the management of both
acute and chronic diseases. Currently, the practice of using medicinal plants to manage diseases is becoming
increasingly-common; especially in medium to low-income economies where the cost of, or
ease of access to orthodox medications are limitations to their effective and sustained use. Diabetes
mellitus is a chronic disease whose prevalence continues to increase worldwide. An aspect of diabetes
mellitus that causes significant morbidity is its neurological complications, which are known to be associated
with an enormous economic burden and reduction in quality of life.
Objectives: While research continues to demonstrate that a wide range of plants that are indigenous to
Africa have significant antihyperglycaemic properties, scientific information on the neurobehavioural
and/or neuromorphological effects of these plants appear to be lacking. Also, their possible benefits in
the prevention or amelioration of the neurological complications of diabetes mellitus remain generally
Methodology: In this narrative review, we the examine available scientific literature dealing with the
neurobehavioural and/or neuromorphological profiles of selected African plants with substantiated antihyperglycaemic
properties; aiming to highlight their potential applications in the prevention and management
of the neurological complications of diabetes mellitus.
Results: This review demonstrates that a number of the African plants with antidiabetic properties also
exhibit central nervous system effects.
Conclusion: While the neurobehavioural and neuromorphological effects of some of these plants had
been investigated in animal models of DM; their possible roles in the prevention or amelioration of the
neurological complications of DM are yet to be established.