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Ethnopharmacological values of cassava and its potential for diabetes and dyslipidaemia management: knowledge survey and critical review of report

Ezekiel Uba Nwose, Bonaventure C Onodu, Anayochukwu Edward Anyasodor, Mathew O Sedowo, John N Okuzor, Richard J Culas.


Background: Beyond nutritional values are the pharmacological potentials of cassava comparative with other staple carbohydrate plant-based foods such as wheat. The knowledge of applicability to diabetes and its cardiovascular complications management seems not just limited, but unacknowledged. As a preliminary study, a community’s knowledge of pharmacological value of cassava is investigated.
Methods: Descriptive observational study using questionnaire-based ‘cross-sectional’ survey was conducted. 136 participants completed the survey and 101 respondents were selected for evaluation. Open-ended questions were used qualitatively to generate experience and views cassava values for diabetes and dyslipidaemia. While categorical [yes] or [no] questions were used quantitatively to generate numerical results for diabetes, critical reanalysis of a report data was performed, especially comparing carbohydrate/fibre and fat/fibre ratios of cassava with wheat in view of dyslipidaemia.
Result: On the positive side, 42% of the participants believe that cassava has medicinal values. This includes 6% (among the 42) who believes that the plant is useful in treating diabetes and 24% who do not know it may be useful in diabetes management. Critical review show that cassava may contribute up to sixteen times more fibre and four times less digestible sugar; as well as carbohydrate/fibre and fat/fibre ratios being fourteen and fifty-five times less than wheat.
Conclusion: There is evidence that relative to wheat meal, for instance, cassava contributes less fat and much more fibres. Since fat is pro-obesity, which in turn is pro-diabetic/metabolic syndrome, and fibre is anti-dyslipidaemic; cassava has pharmacological values over to be appreciated over some carbohydrate plant-based foods.

Key words: cassava, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, ethnopharmacology, medical nutrition therapy, value chain

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