Is Vernonia amygdalina hepatotoxic or hepatoprotective? Response from biochemical and toxicity studies in rats
AbstractThe effects of various concentrations of aqueous extract of Vernonia amygdalina leaves on some biochemical indices of liver function were investigated in albino Wistar rats. Acute toxicity tests of the
extract gave an LD50 of 500 mg/kg. Phytochemical analysis of the plant material showed that anthracene glycosides, steroids, flavonoids, proteins, carbohydrates, reducing sugars, saponins and tannins were
present. Liver function tests revealed that the activity of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) increased significantly (p<0.05) for all the concentrations administered. There was no significant (p>0.05) increase in both alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase activities for all the concentrations administered. Also the increase in mean values of conjugated and unconjugated bilirubin for all the
concentrations administered were not statistically significant (p>0.05). The results, therefore, strongly suggest that V. amygdalina leaf extract is not hepatotoxic in rats. The findings are of nutritional, clinical
and veterinary relevance considering the diverse applications of the plant in almost all African populations.